It is estimated that a total of 0.003% of land in Guyana is degraded, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission noted.
Land degradation has been occurring because of, among other things, resource utilization and natural disasters dated as far back 1916 which led to degradation in some areas.
Though land degradation is “extremely low”, the GLSC posited that “our coastline continues to be prone to erosion, saltwater intrusion and flooding continues to be an issue, resulting in lands which should have been used for farming and other human activities to lose its viability”.
The Commission noted that while mining, agriculture and forestry are historically pertinent to the Guyanese economy, those activities contribute to the overall land degradation processes in the country.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has defined land degradation as the process whereby the value and productivity of land is reduced as a result of a combination of human-induced and natural processes acting upon the land.
Although the level of land degradation in Guyana is extremely low, GLSC says Guyana continues to implement measures, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission as the National Focal Point continues to take actions to curb land degradation.
It noted that in April 2016, Guyana voluntarily opted to undertake the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP) to strengthen the implementation of the UNCCD and improve land management as the world strives to achieve a land degradation neutral world by 2030.
Preceding the finalization of the LDN-TSP Report was the completion of Guyana’s Aligned National Action Plan to Combat Land Degradation.
Additionally, Guyana has recently commenced the implementation of the US$14.5 Million GRIF Funded project titled “Sustainable Land Development and Management (SLDM)” that will be mainstreamed into policy, institutional and governance mechanisms to prevent land degradation and restore degraded lands where possible.
The development of Guyana’s first ever, National Land Policy will also address this issue.
This project will provide considerable benefits to Guyanese and to the country’s green state national development trajectory by strengthening capacity building in the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission and other key stakeholder agencies.