Iwokrama signs MOU with UG for PhD scholarship through ExxonMobil funded science programme
Georgetown, Guyana. The Iwokrama International Centre announced that it had signed an MOU with the University of Guyana (UG) to support a PhD scholarship at that institution under a science programme funded by ExxonMobil.
The student, Arianne Harris, will work with the Centre under its science programme’s biodiversity project while completing work in fulfillment of the requirements for a PhD degree in biodiversity from the UG. Her research involves understanding how bird and bat species respond to forestry practices, and what role these animals play in helping the forest to regenerate following commercial activities. To date, the Iwokrama Science Committee has done some of the most pioneering work in this area, and Arianne’s research will continue to build on this. She will be supervised by a UG team as well as scientists from the United Kingdom and United States who are on Iwokrama’s Science Committee.
Exxon Mobil has been a significant supporter of the Iwokrama Science Programme, funding some US$600,000 since 2017. In addition to the biodiversity project, the Centre is also implementing a hydrology programme at Iwokrama and in the Rupununi Savannahs.
Other outputs from the science programme include outreach activities, capacity building and awareness programmes for the local communities, the production of a “legal field guide for natural resource practitioners” – Guyana’s first – and the development of Guyana’s first 3D map of community (Fair View village) lands.
Iwokrama has had a long standing relationship with UG and collaborate on many areas including capacity building and scientific research.
The Centre recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the offer of the Iwokrama Forest for research into climate change and sustainable development by the Government of Guyana to the international community at the 1989 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malaysia.
Notes to the Editors: About Iwokrama
The Iwokrama International Centre (IIC) was established in 1996 under a joint mandate from the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat to manage the Iwokrama forest, a unique reserve of 371,000 hectares of rainforest “in a manner that will lead to lasting ecological, economic and social benefits to the people of Guyana and to the world in general”.
The Centre, guided by an international Board of Trustees is unique, providing a dedicated well managed and researched forest environment. The forest is zoned into a Sustainable Utilization Area (SUA) and a Wilderness Preserve (WP) in which to test the concept of a truly sustainable forest where conservation, environmental balance and economic use can be mutually reinforcing. The IIC collaborates with the Government of Guyana, the Commonwealth and other international partners and donors to develop new approaches and forest management models to enable countries with rainforests to market their ecosystem services whilst carefully managing their resources through innovative and creative conservation practices.
Iwokrama brings together:
– 20 local communities (approximately 7,000 people) who are shareholders and participants in the IIC’s sustainable timber, tourism, research operations and forest management activities through complex co-management and benefit sharing arrangements;
– Scientists and researchers engaged in ground breaking research into the impacts of climate change on the forest and measuring the scope and value of its ecosystem services; and
– A portfolio of sustainably managed and certified business models using innovative governance systems which include participation of the private and public sectors and the local communities, earning income from the forest and its natural assets whilst employing international social, environmental and economic best practice, whilst still keeping abreast of the ever changing thinking on funding for environmental projects in the face of climate change and the perennial scarcity of international finance.
This alliance and the Centre’s work programmes are committed to showing how a rain forest can be used for real sustainability, real climate change protection and real community benefit.
Iwokrama pic – From L: Dane Gobin – CEO of Iwokrama, Dr Guyanpriya Maharaj – Director of the Centre for Biological Diversity, UG and Calvin Bernard – Former Dean, Faculty of Natural Sciences and member of the Iwokrama Science Committee.