Over US$112M to go to Amerindian communities from sale of carbon credits

Amerindian communities across Guyana will be benefitting from some US$112 million under the newly inked agreement with Hess Corporation for the sale of the country’s carbon credits.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, made the disclosure at the historic signing ceremony held at the Baridi Benab, State House on Friday.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo during the signing ceremony on Friday at State House

He said this is in keeping with a commitment that 15 per cent of the proceeds from any sale of forest carbon will go to Amerindian communities, in both forested and non-forested areas.

The VP explained that Guyana will be receiving $187 million, as payment for what is termed the ‘legacy period’ (2016-2020). For the period 2021 to 2025, a payment of $250 million is expected; and for 2025 to 2030, $350 million, under the agreement.

The communities will also decide how these funds will be disbursed and expended.

“It is truly transformative and it moves us closer to two objectives that we were working on for 15 years, where the world will value more forest carbon and we’ll move closer to a compliance market, even now with this major deal we hope that the voluntary market, the prices would go up in the voluntary market were hovering at some abysmally low levels and this one major deal will have global resonance and make a major change,” the VP stated, in reference to the agreement.

It must be noted that this dedicated 15 per cent is not all that the Amerindian communities will benefit from. In fact, these parties will be direct beneficiaries of all aspects of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030, notably from renewable energy and climate adaptation and mitigation projects.

From consultations with residents, the government will deliver support through a new phase of the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF); support for participation in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and ART-TREES; as well as the completion of the land titling programme.

The REDD+ is a framework created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) to guide activities in the forest sector that reduces emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the sustainable management of forests, and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries. 

The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) issued the world’s first TREES credits to Guyana on Thursday.  This also marks a milestone as the first time a country has been issued carbon credits specifically designed for the voluntary and compliance carbon markets for successfully preventing forest loss and degradation — a process known as jurisdictional REDD+.

Following completion of an independent validation and verification process and approval by the ART Board of Directors, ART has issued 33.47 million TREES credits to Guyana for the five-year period from 2016 to 2020. These serialised credits, listed on ART’s public registry, are available to buyers on the global carbon market.

Chairman of the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC), Derrick John, who was also part of Guyana’s delegation to the recently concluded COP27 has welcomed this landmark achievement.

The NTC in a press release following the announcement by ART, said the milestone will further support the development of sustainable livelihoods and protection of forests within Amerindian communities.

“As the national body which represents all elected Indigenous Villages Leaders in Guyana, the NTC is pleased that Guyana is pioneering efforts on climate finance that will bring direct benefits to Indigenous peoples in advancing climate resilience and sustainable livelihood opportunities,” the NTC stated.

Guyana’s completion of the ART process paves the way for other governments that are looking to receive carbon market finance for success in protecting and restoring forests.