Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 March 2021, 9:17 by Denis Chabrol
The University of Guyana (UG) says it will benefit from an inter-institutional collaboration that will strengthen the development of information services for mangrove mapping and monitoring.
Signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday with UG were SERVIR-Amazonia and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
SERVIR-Amazonia, a subsidiary of SERVIR Global, is part of a joint development initiative by NASA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The MoU will remain in effect until December 20 of 2023.
With the signing of the MoU, UG and the partners will prepare the nation’s Geospatial Scientists for the monitoring of Guyana’s ecosystems which will be enhanced via academic research. “The partnership will result also in the monitoring and evaluation of mangroves in Guyana using the latest geospatial technologies and satellite imagery to map the extent and structure of mangrove forests along the coastland,” UG said in a statement.
UG adds that this will allow for both the Government of Guyana (GoG) and Civil Society actors to better analyze mangrove-related land-use changes and act on hotspots of deforestation to stop them on time.
“The data retrieved will allow for better land-use planning, policy-making and actions that protect mangroves from being converted to other land uses, as well as to plan mangrove protection efforts for farmers in low-lying coastal regions,” UG said.
UG says it will participate in the co-development of the mangrove monitoring platform, and support the validation of data products with field data. It will also engage in workshops and training events led by SERVIR-Amazonia and its partners, and participate in activities related to the methodological development to monitor mangrove forests along Guyana’s Coast.
The signing of the MoU is the culmination of a series of workshops over the last 18 months led by NASA scientists and those from UG’s Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences (FEES) and Centre for Study for Biological Diversity (CSBD) which included over 15 GoG entities.
Dr Temitope Oyedotun, Dean of UG’s FEES, who spearheaded the project, thanked all partners for their unwavering support in sharing knowledge and technology. He said the project was conceptualized with a conversation in 2018 and he is pleased that it has blossomed into one that will benefit not only the University but also, the people of Guyana and the Caribbean.
The Agreement was signed by the Professor Paloma Mohamed Martin, Vice-Chancellor Xi, University of Guyana and Mr. Jesús Quintana, Managing Director for the Americas of the Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and attended by senior officials of UG and representatives of NASA and USAID.
In her remarks, Professor Mohamed said the University is aligned with Guyana’s goal as an environmentally responsible State. She said the signing of the MoU with SERVIR-Amazonia and partners is part of a response to improve the use of geospatial data and information. The Vice Chancellor said too that via the historic signing of the agreement, the research conducted will assist the University with the development of its Human Resiliency Systems programme, its new Geosciences programme, and Data Sciences programme now in its developmental stage.
Similarly, Mr. Jesús Quintana celebrated this important milestone: “The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT works on landscape and biodiversity conservation, as well as on digital inclusion. Based on our joint research we can collectively innovate and design better policies to confront the challenges the Amazon basin faces.”
SERVIR-Amazonia is part of SERVIR Global, a joint development initiative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for Interna tional Development (USAID). Since 2005, SERVIR has worked in association with countries to use the information provided by Earth Observation satellites (EO) and geospatial technolo gies. SERVIR-Amazonia is a five-year program (2018-2023) run by the Alliance of Bioversi ty International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). SERVIR Amazonia connects geospatial and satellite technology to Amazonian communities through a strong consortium with proven experience in sustainable development. This consortium in cludes government organizations, NGOs, and private sector and university institutions work ing in 6 countries: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Suriname. The five partners of the consortium include: The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Con servación Amazónica ACCA (ACCA), the Institute of Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification (IMAFLORA), Fundación Ecológica ECOCIENCIA (ECOCIENCIA), and the Spatial Informatics Group (SIG).
The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) delivers research-based solutions that address the global crises of malnutrition, cli mate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.
The Alliance focuses on the nexus of agriculture, nutrition and environment, working with local, national, and multinational partners across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Carib bean, and with the public and private sectors and civil society. With novel partnerships, the Alliance generates evidence and mainstreams innovations to transform food systems and landscapes so that they sustain the planet, drive prosperity, and nourish people.