Guyana gets over $1B grant from EU for forest sustainability to drive community development

Guyana has received an over $1.1 billion (€ 5 million) grant from the European Union to maintain its forest and natural resources, as well as strengthen sustainable development specifically in Amerindian communities.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Deputy Secretary General of European Union Action Service, Helena Konig signed the billion-dollar pact to further drive the project on Wednesday, at State House.

The newly inked agreement stemmed from high level discussions at the Conference of the Parties (COP) 27 in Egypt last November. The implemented partners are the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement – AFD) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas.

President Ali and EU’s Deputy Secretary General of European Union Action Service, Helena Konig at the launching ceremony

With the $1.1 billion funding, Amerindian communities will create sustainable business ventures that will reduce the pressure on its natural resources, and overall, preserve the forest and its biodiversity.

President Ali said the partnership is essential to addressing global challenges, noting that it matches his administration’s efforts of creating a low carbon economy and supporting sustainable livelihoods.

Guyana, he stressed, is working to be at the forefront of sustainable forest management, specifically on the utilisation of the forest for transformation of countries by creating a social, economic and sustainable model.

“Guyana’s forest is not just standing trees but an important asset that provides global services, and in the provision of this global service, it is only fair that the forest earns for the country and its people who
ensure that it stays intact, in support of those global services,” the president stated.

Guyana and the EU have been partners working together to advance the vision of enhancing the role of Guyana’s forest in sustainable and inclusive national development.

Deputy Secretary General of European Union Action Service, Helena Konig

“I am very pleased that we are advancing the process to implementation so quickly after the initialing of the country’s agreement…This partnership with AFD and WWF is underpinned by focus on what works, moving to create practical solutions, development challenges and addressing the vital role that forests play in overcoming these challenges.  

“Sustainable livelihood sits at the heart of this endeavour as when we create the opportunities for people for economic advancement and social upliftment, we provide them with resources to make decisions to safeguard the environment and protect the forest,” President Ali stated.

Importantly, the programme will ensure coherence, complementarity and strengthening of government initiatives in the region. For example, the carbon credit sales of which 15 per cent will go to projects in Amerindian communities.  “Villages have already outlined their various sustainability plan and we want to complement those plans, we want to augment those plans and this is done with close alignment through the Low Carbon Development Strategy,” the president disclosed.

Meanwhile,the Deputy Secretary General of European Union Action Service commended the government’s efforts in its drive to maintain low deforestation rates and pledged the EU’s support in this regard.

“The European Union has made substantial and sustainable forest management the one and only focus in its new bilateral cooperation with Guyana, fully in line with Guyana’s own Low Carbon Development Strategy. We aim to support Guyana’s ambition to preserve and enhance the sustainable development role of forests as a key asset,” she said.

Konig added that the EU will continue to dialogue with government agencies and communities on the ground during the inception phase, which will enable development of economic activities that will benefit the communities.