With historic deal inked, Guyana’s indigenous communities to get at least US$112M

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Indigenous communities across Guyana will get at least US$112 million to fund developmental projects, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo announced following the historic deal Guyana inked with the Hess corporation on Friday.

International oil giant Hess Corporation agreed to pay Guyana at least US$750 million saving the rainforest through a special carbon credits scheme. Hess will buy 2.5 million carbon credits annually, until 2032

Should prices for carbon credits increase on the international market, however, Guyana will be able to get more money from Hess.

And in keeping with Guyana’s updated Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), the blueprint for the country’s sustainable development, indigenous communities should get 15 per cent of all of the money earned through these forest-saving payments.

“We made a commitment that proceeds from any sale of forest carbon will go to the Amerindian communities,” the Vice President said at the State House in Georgetown.

The sum will be transferred to all of the indigenous communities regardless of whether they are located in forested areas or not, D.r Jagdeo said further.

And the indigenous community, as a whole, is tasked with deciding how the sum will be distributed and spent.

Already, Head of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Derrick John signalled his support for the LCDS and the scheme that allows indigenous communities to benefit directly.

NTC Chairman Derrick John at the UN Climate Talks in Egypt (Photo: DPI)

“The National Toshaos’ Council welcomes this important milestone in Guyana’s programme on Low Carbon Development which will further support the development of sustainable livelihoods and protection of forests within indigenous communities.

“As the national body which represents all elected Indigenous Villages Leaders in Guyana, the NTC is pleased that Guyana is pioneering efforts on climate finance that will bring direct benefits to Indigenous peoples in advancing climate resilience and sustainable livelihood opportunities,” he was quoted as saying in a recent release.

But that’s not the end of the benefits that can be accrued for Guyana’s first people.

Vice President Jagdeo explained that the deal inked with Hess only taps about 30 per cent of the carbon credits Guyana has been granted and can market.

These special carbon credits were issued by the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART)- a global initiative that seeks to incentivize governments to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), as well as restore forests and protect intact forests.

Guyana is the first country to benefit from a special arrangement and the country received a total of 33.47 million credits, known specifically as REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES) credits.

With Hess securing a deal for 30 per cent of those credits, the Vice President noted that Guyana is still able to sell the remaining 70 per cent of credits to other companies or countries.

Once those credits are sold, Guyana’s indigenous communities will continue to get 15 per cent of the proceeds to fund their developmental priorities.

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