Prime Minister Mark Phillips urges collective action to safeguard the Guiana Shield eco-region

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips, stressed the need for collective action as he called on nations to harness the power of partnerships to safeguard the Guiana Shield eco-region.

“The power of partnerships must always be emphasised in cross-national interests; we must seek to harness the power of collective action to address the root causes of environmental degradation and ensure the long-term sustainability of the Guiana Shield.”

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips

The Honourable Prime Minister made these remarks during the opening ceremony of the 3rd iteration of the Guiana Shield Dialogue yesterday at the Guyana Marriott Hotel.

According to the Prime Minister, the Guiana Shield Strategic Dialogue plays a crucial role in fostering understanding, building relationships, and promoting cooperation among our countries.

This dialogue, he said, should address the complex challenges before the Guiana Shield and enable the achievement of the common objectives of protecting the territorial integrity of our respective nations, coordinating efforts against transnational crimes, paying coordinated attention to environmental and climate security, and coordinating efforts to secure and defend the Guiana Shield.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips also underscored the importance of preserving the Guiana Shield and urged all participants to act towards this goal by strengthening their commitment.

“As we gather today, I urge us all to recommit ourselves to protecting the Guiana Shield…We must celebrate our shared heritage and protect it for generations to come.”

In highlighting Guyana’s commitment to protecting the Shield, he noted initiatives like the Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030. He stated that earlier this year, Guyana announced the issuance of the world’s first carbon credits that are eligible for use by airlines in Phase 1 of CORSIA. The credits issued are for Guyana’s 2021 performance in sustaining one of the world’s highest levels of tropical forest coverage and one of the world’s lowest deforestation rates. A total of 7.14 million credits were issued by the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) for conformance with ART’s “TREES” standard.

The Prime Minister noted, too, that revenue generated from valuing forest climate services is reinvested in sustainable development initiatives outlined in the LCDS, including funding sustainability plans in 242 hinterland communities. These plans, he noted, cover a variety of areas, such as eco-tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure.

However, the Prime Minister warned that the Guiana Shield faces grave threats that require a united regional response. He pointed to challenges like deforestation from agriculture and mining, illegal resource extraction, climate change impacts, habitat fragmentation from development, and wildlife trafficking.

He lauded the creation of biodiversity corridors to connect habitats across borders, facilitating wildlife movement and gene flow, crediting the establishment of the  REDD+ for the Guiana Shield Project, which is funded by the EU, French Guiana, and others and aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation across the region. The Prime Minister also applauded the work of the Guiana Shield Facility, a multi-donor fund to support long-term conservation efforts.

Additionally, PM Phillips stated that to address threats, collaboration must also strengthen to foster understanding, build relationships, and promote cooperation among our countries, aiming to achieve common objectives of territorial integrity, fighting transnational crime, ensuring environmental security, and defending the Guiana Shield.

Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable Robeson Benn; Chief of Defence Staff (GDF) Brigadier Omar Khan; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Home Affairs, Mr. Andre Ally; French Ambassador,  HE Nicolas De Lascoste; Head of Directorate of International and European Affairs (DAEI) of the Home Affairs Ministry, Brigadier General of Gendarmerie, Christophe Perret;  Minister of Defense of the Republic of Suriname, Her Excellency Krishnakoemarie Mathoera;  Charge D’Affaires at the French Embassy in Suriname, M. Jean-Jacques Forte, Members of Diplomatic Corps, Heads and Members of the Joint Services, and other representatives from Guyana, France, Suriname and Brazil were present.