Guyana asks Amazon Summit to support forest-saving payments

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Prime Minister Mark Phillips asked fellow South American leaders and other stakeholders to support ventures that generate forest-saving payments as they strive to protect the Amazon Rainforest, the world’s largest of its kind.

The Prime Minister joined leaders from seven other South American nations for the Amazon Summit hosted in Brazil on Tuesday.

The summit was convened by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva after it was last held 14 years ago.

At that summit, the countries noted that the rainforest is home to numerous plant and animal species and groups of Indigenous People. Additionally, the forest, dubbed the lungs of the world, helps to protect the planet from the worsening climate crisis.

View of the rainforest from Guyana’s Kaieteur Falls (Photo by Dallas Reeves on Flickr)

Prime Minister Phillips was among those who affirmed that the rainforest must be protected and pledged that Guyana could continue protecting its trees and support policies to end deforestation, illegal mining and other environmental crimes.

“As the largest rainforest in the world, its complex ecosystem sustains life, not only within its borders, but in the world at large,” the Prime Minister said.

He added, “Its vast biodiversity, indigenous inhabitants, and immense carbon storage capacity, render it a global treasure demanding as a high priority therefore, our protection and preservation.”

Because of the value of the forests, however, the Prime Minister urged countries to support ventures that could generate income for the countries and people who protect the forests.

“… if we are to remain united for our forests, we must continue to advocate for the adoption and implementation of Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ Frameworks within voluntary and compliance market based structures, including for High Forest, Low Deforestation (HFLD) regions, that can catalyse climate finance, information exchange, expertise sharing, and collective problem-solving, fostering a united effort in addressing climate mitigation and adaptation goals at the regional level,” he said.

Included in those frameworks the Prime Minister mentioned is Guyana’s carbon credits deal.

Guyana’s first and only carbon credit deal so far, brokered after the country got special carbon credits issued to it last December, was executed with Hess Corporation, a US oil giant and one of the companies searching for and producing petroleum in the country’s nascent oil and gas sector.

A carbon credit, generally, is a kind of tradable permit or certificate that represents the removal of a certain amount of carbon dioxide from the environment. Since carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas that harms the environment, it is tracked and traded like any other commodity.

Hess, an oil company, hopes these credits will help improve, or at least offset, its environmental actions. The oil industry is notorious for emitting harmful greenhouse gases.

By the end of 2030, Guyana should amass at least US$750 million from the deal inked with Hess. Of that sum, Indigenous communities, altogether, should receive at least US$112 million—that is, their 15% direct cut as stipulated by Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

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