Sustaining Guyana’s rainforest reaping millions of dollars
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday April 19, 2012 – Guyana has received more than a quarter of the US$250 million promised to it by the government of Norway for its part in protecting the Amazon rainforest from degradation and deforestation.
This was shared by Guyana’s prime minister, Sam Hinds, as he addressed the official opening of the 13th Annual Caribbean Conference On Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-13) of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which took place at the Guyana International Conference Centre.
Hinds, who was acting as the country’s executive president in the absence of Donald Ramotar, told the gathering that, to date, Guyana had successfully met performance-requirements for two consecutive years, earning approximately US$70 million which has been transferred by Norway into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF).
These funds, Hinds said, would be used to support Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) projects that will have a transformational effect on the national and local economy, as well as to support our efforts to adapt to the climate-change that is already inevitable, and to increase resilience to future climate-change.
In November 2010, Guyana and Norway entered into an agreement, which represented the second biggest interim REDD+ agreement in the world, and through which Norway committed to providing to Guyana up to US$250M by 2015, for avoided deforestation and degradation.
Hinds said this agreement was a result of the previous administration’s recognition that Guyana could play an important role in addressing climate-change at this critical time, particularly if we put strong limits on any reduction and degradation of our forests, since deforestation and degradation of tropical forests are estimated to contribute approximately 20% of greenhouse gases generated around the world. And, furthermore, the recognition that in maintaining Guyana’s forests to help in the global fight against climate-change, the country could be entitled to receive appropriate financial resources for so doing.
The just-concluded four-day STC-13 attracted around 140 tourism delegates, observers and media from around the region and internationally. Between its opening Sunday and conclusion yesterday (April 18), participants experienced Guyana’s capability in meeting the food/agricultural needs of the Caribbean tourism sector, through the special agri-exhibition that was part of the event. Guyanese officials encouraged the region’s hospitality to reduce its ‘carbon footprint’ by making a conscious choice to purchase substantially more food supplies from Guyana instead of relying so heavily on extra-regional imports.