Gov’t signs MoU to strengthen protected areas system

The Government of Guyana, on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) to get access to financial support to strengthen the functioning of the country’s protected areas system.

The MoU was signed between FZS’ Head of South America and Southeast Asia Department, Dr Antje Müllner, and Permanent Secretary within the Office of the President, Abeena Moore, at Herdmanston Lodge, Peter Rose Street, Georgetown.

Chair of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) Board and Foreign Secretary, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry, Robert Persaud

It will last for a period of five years. It is also the second MoU to be signed with the FZS since the previous contract in 2015.

Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Persaud, who is also Chair of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) Board, explained that while there are systems in place to provide for the protection and conservation of both marine and land areas, the terms of the MoU will see Guyana receiving assistance in the strengthening and capacity building of these systems.

“It’s unique in the sense that we have an external partner working with us in a particular area… but also looking at ways in which we can build the entire protected areas system, in terms of our capacity and ability to properly manage,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Dr Müllner lauded the quality and expansive nature of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030.

She noted that policies of its kind are instrumental in the fight to preserve biodiversity and push back against those factors causing severe climate change.

Frankfurt Zoological Society, Head of South America and Southeast Asia Department, Dr. Antje Müllner

She also highlighted the importance of maintaining a protected areas system, one of the main pillars upon which the FZS stands.

“Protected areas play a fundamental role in any national biodiversity strategy. We think they are a main pillar of conserving long-term, healthy ecosystems, and the ecological functions we need for our food security and climate stability,” she expressed.

She also highlighted the cultural and spiritual significance of those communities with longstanding ties to protected areas.

The Frankfurt Zoological Society is an international non-governmental organisation that works to conserve wildlife and ecosystems, with focus on protected areas and wilderness areas.

(from left) Dr. Antje Müllner and Permanent Secretary within the Office of the President, Abeena Moore signing the MoU in the presence of Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud, and other PAC staff

It operates across some 18 countries with a number of stakeholders to support national parks, and similar environments.

FZS has collaborated with the government over the past eight years to develop projects and strengthen the strategic and organisational management of the PAC.

In the meantime, Guyana continues to honour its commitment to protecting and preserving wildlife and biodiversity, and playing its role in achieving ‘30 by 30’, which is a worldwide initiative for governments to designate 30 per cent of its land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030.