Guyana gets €5M from EU, AFD for forest preservation activities

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
President Dr Irfaan Ali and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Helena KÖNIG

The Guyana Government has received funding to the tune of €5M for activities geared towards preserving its forests.

The funding was made available under the Sustainable Forest Livelihood for communities of Guyana and Suriname through which the European Union (EU) provided a grant of €10M to the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest in Guyana and Suriname, which are part of the world’s most forested countries, with tropical forest covering up to 85% and 93% of land area in Guyana and in Suriname respectively.

The remaining €5M was provided to Suriname. The project has a duration of four years, beginning this year.

The official signing ceremony for the Guyana end of the project was conducted today at State House and was attended by President Dr Irfaan Ali and  Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Helena KÖNIG.

According to the EU representative, this project is aimed at increasing the resilience of local forest populations and increasing their value-added outputs specifically through the development of sustainable income generation activities.

“I can only highlight… how important it is to work together with the local communities in the forest to make sure that this is sustainable also in their environment… This project will provide support to local forest communities to increase knowledge, capacity and for the use of and supply of nature-based goods and services. It would also provide and improve skills, working practices, equipment as well as market links and access to finance,” she stated.

KÖNIG added that this billion-dollar initiative will also support alternative livelihoods in forest-dependent communities in order to reduce pressure on forest resources.

Meanwhile, in his remarks, President Ali lauded the EU along with partners AFD and WWF Guianas for translating their forest preservation commitments into meaningful action on the ground by supporting community livelihood opportunities within forest-based communities in Guyana.

“This partnership with ADF and WWF is underpinned by focus on what works, moving to create practical solutions to development challenges, and addressing the vital role that forests play in overcoming these challenges. Sustainable livelihoods sit at the heart of this endeavor as when we create the opportunities for people for economic advancement, and social upliftment we provide them with resources to make decisions to safeguard the environment and protect the forests.”

According to the Head of State, this project falls in line with the Guyana Government’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) initiative that is geared towards sustainable development as well as to lay the foundation for other forested countries.

“Guyana looks to provide a practical example to the world and how that environment, forests, freshwater and biodiversity in particular, must be safeguarded to sustain mankind and life as we know it. We also look to develop new ways of incentivizing the global fight to safeguard forests. The main actions identified to be advanced by this cooperation will look to strengthen sustainable livelihoods in forest communities. And enhance knowledge and capacity for sustainable use and supply of nature-based goods and services.”

According to a statement from the EU delegation in Guyana that was published last month, this is the first project of this scale covering both Guyana and Suriname, countries which have historically low deforestation but which are facing increasing pressures on its forest resource base, such as unsustainable or illegal logging, gold mining, infrastructures, etc.

“To preserve the rainforest, the 4-year project will focus on accompanying local communities in pilot regions of both countries to improve the governance and management of their natural resources. AFD, in close partnership with WWF Guianas, will support these communities in developing agro-ecological and climate smart practices as well as to promote traditional knowledge within key value chains. The project will help to develop locally led sustainable livelihood initiatives based on forest and nature-based products and services,” it was explained.

Specifically, the project will focus on strengthened sustainable local community development in forest communities through integrated natural resource management; and improvement of participation opportunities for local communities in the development and implementation of environmental and forest policies and mechanisms.

Moreover, it will focus on forest-based livelihood opportunities for communities in Suriname and Guyana, through: enhance knowledge and capacity for the sustainable use and supply of nature-based goods and services.

Efforts will also be directed towards the development of sustainable nature-based enterprises and livelihood initiatives at community level and developing long-term sustainable financial mechanisms for forest conservation and sustainable community development.