Local bodies to improve management of Guyana’s protected areas

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Guyana’s Protected Areas Commission (PAC) and the Iwokrama International Centre inked a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday to improve their management of Guyana’s protected areas.

According to a release issued by the PAC, the MoU, which takes the form of a Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA), will allow both organisations to deepen technical cooperation in protected area management, biodiversity conservation and climate change.

The PAC and Iwokrama will support each other in several areas including research, capacity development, education and awareness, creating and managing bio-inventories and fundraising activities through the MoU, the release said.

According to the release, the two organisations maintained a long-standing relationship since the PAC’s creation in 2011. Both entities have the common goal of helping Guyana achieve its low carbon ambitions and while continuing to maintain the National Protected Areas System (NPAS) of Guyana.

The NPAS project helps Guyana fulfill national and international commitments including the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The National Protected Areas System, which currently comprises of approximately 8.4 per cent of Guyana’s landmass, includes: the Iwokrama Forest (which was established by separate legislation), the Kaieteur National Park, Kanashen Amerindian Protected Area, the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area, the Shell Beach Protected Area and urban Parks including the National Park, the Botanical Gardens, the Zoological Park, and the Joe Vieira Park

The Iwokrama Rainforest was created in 1996 under the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development Act.

It was established as a protected area to show how forests can be used for social and economic benefits such as food and medicines, while at the same time being sustainably managed and protected.

Their programmes contribute significantly to conservation education, awareness and research. According to the release, the Iwokrama Rainforest is known by the Indigenous Machushi people as a “Place of Refuge”. It is a gift to Guyana, the Commonwealth and the world, setting a national standard for sustainable forest practices.

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