Minister Bharrat represents Guyana at 19th UN Forest Forum

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat M.P., this week represented Guyana at the United Nations’ Forests Forum, which took place at the UN’s Headquarters in New York.

There, he joined world leaders as well as ministerial counterparts and other colleagues from around the world, to call for greater urgency in global efforts to maintain the world’s forests.

During the ministerial meeting, Minister Bharrat remarked, “Too often, maintaining forests has not been a valuable choice for communities or countries. Inside this room, we understand this point. However, outside this room, too few people recognise that the entire world benefits from the ecosystem services provided by forests, and if we want those services to continue, economic incentives must make forests worth more alive than dead.”

The minister went on to brief attendees about the method Guyana has utilised to address the forgoing challenge, to which he highlighted Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). This national low-carbon blueprint sets out a model of how Guyana can balance economic development alongside conserving the country’s forests and biodiversity, while being compensated for same.

To this end, Minister Bharrat shed light on how this approach has enabled Guyana to conclude transactions of almost US$1 billion in payments for the climate services provided by Guyana’s forests, of which US$227 million stemmed from the bilateral deal with the Government of Norway and an additional US$750 million from the sale of ART-TREES credits made in 2023.

He was keen to point out that the monies earned from climate/ forest services are invested in sustainable climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. Equally important, he referenced that 15% of all revenue earned will be allocated to forest-based and indigenous communities. To date, over GY$3 billion has been transferred to the bank accounts of 232 Amerindian communities, which will support economic, social, and cultural advancement.

Additionally, Minister Bharrat stressed to his colleagues that, “It is a false argument to say all finance should be public or all finance should be market-based. It is possible to achieve our shared goals via different pathways. In Guyana, we started with international public finance but have since evolved into a market-based mechanism.”

He also supported calls for the international community to make good on financial commitments, as he referenced statements by Ghana, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have decried continuous financial promises, but none of which have been delivered.

Speaking later during a meeting hosted by the Government of Brazil and attended by representatives of other forested countries from around the world, Minister Bharrat remarked, “It is sad to see how many forest countries are working so hard to safeguard forests, yet time after time, are let down by those who promised finance for that work. Guyana is pleased to have made the progress we have, underpinned by our LCDS. Others have asked us for help in sharing our experiences, and we will be glad to do so. However, the bottom line is the world needs to face up to the fact that forests need to be valued for the ecosystem services they provide, while also sustaining viable livelihoods for people.

“Some progress is being made through the United Nations and new compliance carbon markets, for example. But if the world is serious about addressing climate change, far more progress is needed urgently. Guyana will continue to play our part and stands ready to share our experiences as we also learn from others.”