Conservation of forest will not disadvantage indigenous population­- Min. Gaskin assures

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, April 5, 2018

The indigenous population will not be disadvantaged by the president’s commitment to set aside forest for conservation. This assurance was given to the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Affairs today, by Minister of Business with the responsibility of Tourism, Dominic Gaskin.

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin.

Opposition Member of Parliament, Nigel Dharmlall had posed several questions to the minister on the issue.

In April of 2016, at the historic signing of the Paris Agreement in New York, President David Granger committed to conserving 2 million hectares of forest among other steps.

Dharmlall inquired if those forests had been identified. He added that some concerns from the indigenous community were raised about the impact of this on their titled lands, extension of those lands and their indigenous rights.

“We can’t necessarily assume that our indigenous population will somehow not want to occupy or have their titled lands come under protection. I believe that the whole idea is to create a value in protecting those areas so that in protecting communities in the hinterland we are actually making them more economically viable than if we left those areas unprotected,” Minister Gaskin noted.

He further explained that the conservation of the forest does not necessarily mean an end to economic activity in the protected area. “We’re looking at protected areas as areas that come under a special regime which ensures the sustainable use of those lands.”

The minister noted that this is the concept behind the green state agenda that the government is advocating. “The whole concept of the green state calls for an understanding that the value of a preserved land is greater sometimes than the value of the resources that lie beneath the surface or that lie above the surface.”

He further assured, “it is not that by placing an area under protection we are denying economic opportunities to the persons living there.”

The Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Guyana was one out of 175 countries which signed onto the Agreement that falls under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Sectoral Committee agreed to write the Office of Climate Change for more information on the implementation of the pledge.

Opposition Member of Parliament, Nigel Dharmlall.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius.

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