The Ministry of Natural Resources on Friday credited the work of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) in its management of Guyana’s forest, saying that deforestation rates have been the lowest over the past four years.
The Kingdom of Norway recently agreed to release the final payment of its forest-saving deal with Guyana. The final payment amounts to $9.1 billion and has been deposited with the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), which is administered by the World Bank.
The Ministry credited the Guyana Forestry Commission with being able to manage Guyana’s forest and keep deforestation levels at the lowest since the agreement with Norway was signed 10 years ago.
The groundbreaking deal was reached between Norway and Guyana in 2009 when then-President Bharrat Jagdeo was on an aggressive push for Guyana to be compensated for keeping forests intact, sucking in harmful greenhouses gases released by the industrialised world, causing changes in the world’s climate.
The agreement hinged on how well Guyana managed its rainforest.
The Ministry of Natural Resource noted that the basis of the agreement was keeping Guyana’s forest cover maintained at a high level, and concurrently, deforestation rates at a low level.
The work associated with managing forest cover and monitoring and reporting on performance on an annual basis, essentially that which forms the performance reporting system, has been undertaken by the GFC, since the inception of the agreement.
The basis of the agreement has been fulfilled in large part, due to the work of the GFC, the Ministry of Natural Resources stated.
The Ministry of Natural Resources noted that specifically during the period 2015 to 2018, Guyana has seen lower deforestation rates than the previous years of the 9 year reporting period to date.
Last year, the deforestation rate was 0.051; in 2017 it was 0.048; and for 2015/6, the rate was 0.050.
Throughout this entire period, forest cover in Guyana has been maintained at over 99%, the Ministry stated.
The Ministry noted that while reporting on forest area and deforestation rates has been a key focus for the GFC, the Commission has also advanced work in the area of governance, particularly EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EUFLEGT) and Independent Forest Monitoring, IFM.
This period has also seen an expansion of the GFC’s Community Forestry Programme that has resulted in over 500,000 hectares issued to Community Forestry Associations which directly employ close to 3,000 persons.
Over the last four years, however, forestry production has dropped from over 530,000 cubic metres in 2014 to just over 385, 000 cubic metres last year.
According to the Ministry, the GFC, led by the GFC Board has undertaken a comprehensive effort to re-examine concessions which had been allocated whilst providing support to ensure that concessionaires are fulfilling their contractual obligations.
During this period some two million hectares of forest area was restored to unallocated state forest including that of the Barama Company Ltd who voluntarily relinquished its concessions.