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NGO embarks on ambitious marine conservation strategy amidst Guyana’s rapid growth

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Guyana is on an upward trek in its developmental journey, and the government’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 aims to make sure this journey is sustainable.

A critical component of this, according to the strategy, is the development and protection of Guyana’s ocean ecosystems.

One non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS), has rooted its own strategies in the spirit of LCDS 2030, and has launched a strategic plan for the period 2022-2027, to support ocean biodiversity conservation. The strategic plan notes that Guyana’s marine environment is impacted by various developments related to human activity, and hence, posits a need for greater focus on marine and coastal interventions.

The strategic themes for GMCS, as it implements its five-year plan are research and monitoring, education and awareness, community development, and strengthening of its own organisational capacity.

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Speaking to OilNOW specifically about the development of the oil and gas sector, GMCS founder Anette Arjoon-Martins said Guyana is blessed with a lot of natural resources and has extreme poverty that needs to be addressed. Government’s position is also that oil and gas will be a vital tool to help Guyana develop sustainably, and protect its people from the effects of climate change. Arjoon said the most important thing for GMCS is that development of oil and gas resources is done in an environmentally responsible manner. Because of this, part of the mandate of the Society is to engage closely with the players in the sector to ensure their operations only minimally impact the environment. According to its strategic plan, GMCS intends to make its research and monitoring data on coastal dynamics and biodiversity, available to various stakeholders.

It said the plan is enabled by the country’s National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan 2012-2020, and the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan 2000. Arjoon explained that the strategic plan was revised after the government published the LCDS 2030 draft document to ensure its aims were consistent with the government’s national plan.

In a component dedicated to protecting marine life and coastal ecosystems, the government’s LCDS 2030 commits to working with organisations involved in conservation efforts, and specifically names GMCS as an example. According to Senior Director for Climate and REDD+ at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Pradeepa Bholanath, Arjoon was instrumental in helping to shape the marine ecosystems component of LCDS 2030.

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Guyana, called ‘Land of Many Waters’, places great importance on the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources, LCDS 2030 states.

This is because the ocean offers a new frontier for economic development, as well as intangible services vital to human health and wellbeing. LCDS 2030 says government will support the protection and low carbon development of marine and coastal ecosystems, while it explores opportunities for tourism, expands carbon sequestration using mangroves, manages fish stock sustainably, and expands the shipping and logistics sector.

Read the Guyana Marine Conservation Society’s Strategic Plan 2022-2027 below:

GMCS Strategic Plan-Final-May17-2022

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