Minister Harmon calls for ‘green’ people centred approach to wildlife management – as public consultations begin

Georgetown, Guyana – (November 1, 2017Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, called on the Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission to adopt a ‘green’, people centred approach to the formulation of regulations for the hunting, trapping, protection, conservation, management and sustainable use of wildlife.  Speaking at the opening of public consultations for the development of regulations at the Everest Cricket Club, the State Minister said that wildlife management must not only be sustainable, built on the principles of conservation and designed within the Government’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), but must also take into consideration people’s livelihoods and culture.

Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon addressing participants of the consultation.

“I wish to suggest that you view our wildlife resources in its widest context and deal with the role of the sector in the context of the Green State Development Strategy, the importance of wildlife to our eco-systems, the future value of preserving our wildlife as we seek to expand and make our flora and fauna available for scientific research for the world, Guyana’s international obligations, the impact of the adopted regulations would have on the livelihood and culture of our Indigenous peoples as well as hunters, trappers, middle men and exporters and the role Guyana should be playing in the protection of the flora and fauna of the Guiana Shield, which are under threat from human developmental activities,” Minister Harmon said.

Noting that it is also his hope that the proposals would embrace the pillars of the President ‘green’ state policy, Minister Harmon said that the proposals and draft regulations must also be implementable and capable of improving efficiency in the sector. The consultations, he said, represents another significant step in the enhancement of the country’s overall national institutional capacity to ensure sound and sustainable environmental management in Guyana.

“The mechanisms for the proper management of our environment and eco-systems, including our wildlife must be viewed within the context of the Green State Development Strategy, which represents our Government’s commitment to the continued protection and stewardship of our natural patrimony.  It represents our commitment to lay a firm foundation for inclusive green growth and sustainable development for the country. It addresses the protection, restoration and sustainable use of our terrestrial and marine eco-systems and wildlife to ensure that our natural resources provide the best social, economic and environmental benefits for our people,” Minister Harmon said.

The Minister of State said that it is, therefore, within this framework that the regulations that will be adapted through these consultations must be finalised. During the consultations, the Minister of State said too that consideration must also be given to the fulfilment of the requirements of the country as a party to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species and other Wildlife Flora and Fauna Societies.

“The Societies’ membership process involves certain responsibilities including having appropriate laws and regulations to curb the illegal trade of wildlife and to provide for the safe and regulated movement and trading of wildlife with and without state parties. I hope that all issues will be ironed out during these consultations so that the conservationists as well as those persons, who have to deal with animals. I also hope that coming out of this people can understand why it is important to protect endangered species, to change their techniques to hunting, trapping, transporting, and holding wildlife and how they can be a part of the process,” he said.

Ms. Ndibi Schwiers, Head of the Department of Environment.

Meanwhile, Head of the Department of Environment, Ms. Ndibi Schwiers noted that the consultations are meant to strategically position the Wildlife Commission to effectively manage Guyana’s resources. “This, I believe is important when consideration is given to recent wildlife research that shows that half of the earth’s biodiversity have dropped below levels that some scientists consider safe. With the onset of climate change and human activities that affect wildlife, these consultations are not only necessary but represent a quickened step in the process for all stakeholders to take action to ensure the sustainability of our natural resources. This also fits nicely into the framework for the sustainable development of the country through the Green State Development Strategy,” she said.

Head of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission, Ms. Alona Sankar, in an invited comment said that the Commission is aiming to target as many persons as possible so that a holistic document can be drafted. The Consultations, she said, will be conducted countrywide.

“At the end of this, we are hoping to have regulations that can govern this sector and once we have those in place then we can move towards the implementation stages of licensing and monitoring and enforcement and so on and that is what we are ultimately aiming for,” she said.

There are regulations under the Environmental Protection Act for the Commission. However, the Wildlife Management and Conservation Act of 2013 repeals those regulations with the provision that they remain enforced until there are regulations to replace them. This Exercise is therefore geared at developing the regulations to replace those in place. Once consultations would have been concluded, it will then be taken to Parliament.

The consultations, which will run for a month, will be advertised in the media as the team moves around countrywide. Meanwhile, persons who may wish to confirm participation in any of the consultations and to request a copy of the Wildlife Management and Conservation Regulations 2013 are urged to call 223-0940 or email the Commission atwildlifemanagementauthority@gmail.com.

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