Guyana and the European Union (EU) signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of COP27 in Egypt on Tuesday for the provision of €5 million to advance forest governance programmes.
The “Forest Partnership Memorandum of Understanding” was signed by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat.
The agreement has four main objectives. They include increasing the area of protected, restored or sustainably managed forests, including mangroves; increasing the number of forest-related jobs; maintaining the close-to-zero annual rate of deforestation of natural forests; and looking for ways to facilitate investment and trade in legal and sustainable wood products between Guyana and the EU.
In light of these objectives, the forest partnership is considered a “win-win” for Guyana and the EU.
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With an initial €5 Million grant from the EU for activities, immediate results are expected in supporting Indigenous Peoples, local communities and small-scale producers; promoting sustainable trade in forest and agriculture commodities and building capacity to drive behaviour change. Youth and women are also expected to play an important role in the planning and implementation of activities related to the partnership.
According to EU Ambassador to Guyana, Rene van Nes, Guyana is unique in that it is one of the few countries in the world that has a negative carbon footprint. He outlined that Guyana is an example for the world, adding that the forest partnership is a recognition of the sustained efforts by the country in preserving its forests and ensuring that timber harvesting is regulated.
President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali said Guyana remains committed to fighting climate change and developing its oil resources sustainably. He pointed out that Guyana’s development is structured in its Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030 (LCDS) which will help the country to build a global model for forest climate services and other ecosystem services.
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The LCDS also sets out how forests and biodiversity can be maintained, whilst the country expands green jobs, transitions the domestic energy supply to clean and renewable energy sources, and adapts to the impacts of climate change.
The Forest Partnership with the EU not only places Guyana at the top of the world in terms of its protection of the rainforest but is also complementary to the oil producer’s efforts to have 30 million forest carbon credits certified. This was recently noted by Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo.
The former Head of State has said too that the country’s massive forest cover provides enough legroom for the development of all its commercial oil resources.