Protected Areas Commission’s New Lethem Office Marks Milestone in Regional Conservation

The recent commissioning of the Protected Areas Commission’s (PAC)- new Lethem Office by Chairman of the PAC Board and Foreign Secretary Mr. Robert Persaud is the first of increasing the presence within protected Areas across the country.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on August 26, 2023 which included the Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission, Mr. Jason Fraser, and Mr. Samuel Ebert, Chief Technical Advisor of the GPAS Phase III Project, PAC Board Members, senior staff, representatives from the RDC and most importantly stakeholder communities.

Situated in Lethem, the PAC’s inaugural hinterland office in Guyana covers an area of around 200 m2. This new office plays a crucial role in enhancing the management of protected areas in the region, particularly for the Kanuku Mountain and Kanashen Amerindian Protected Areas.

Mr. Persaud in his remarks stated that the completion of the new office building and supply of needed equipment is a reflection of partnership at the international level, and partnership at the local level in fulfilling a very important mandate as outlined in the Protected Areas Commission Act.

The Chairman of the PAC Board posited that the Commission’s mandate is central to the government’s developmental agenda, as it outlines how biodiversity and ecosystem services are deployed for the benefit of the country, especially in communities in proximity to /near to protected areas.

In commenting on the funding facilitated by the German Development Bank KfW, Mr. Samuel Ebert, Chief Technical Advisor of the GPAS Project stated that Phase III comprises three (3) components including support of Effective Protected Area Management (Infrastructure and equipment), Resource Use Regulation, and Capacity Development.

Mr. Ebert added that GPAS Phase III builds on activities and outcomes established from the partnership between the Government of Guyana and Germany, through the implementation of GPAS Phase I and GPAS Phase II. GPAS Phase I and II focused more on promoting sustainable livelihood through small grants projects in various Amerindian communities, elaboration of management plans for protected areas, infrastructure development on a smaller scale and capitalization of funds for long term financing of protected areas development.

The approximately 60 million GYD building was funded by the German Government via the Guyana Protected Areas System Project – Phase III, the office is well equipped, boasting a four-wheel drive vehicle, two All Terrain Vehicles, and three motorbikes. The Guyana Protected Areas System (GPAS) Project represents a collaborative effort between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, facilitated by the German Development Bank KfW.

Phase III of this initiative, which commenced in 2018, focuses on fortifying the management and administration of protected areas along with Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030, at the site level. Among its key components are the construction of ten structures within Shell Beach, Kanuku Mountain Protected Areas, and Kaieteur National Park. Thereby recruitment of administrative staff and additional rangers including capacity-building initiatives for PAC and other stakeholders are prioritized.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development contributes since the inception of the project in 2006 a total of up to 2.7 billion GYD (approximately 12.36 million Euros), underscoring the significant investment in the protection and conservation of Guyana’s natural heritage.

The Protected Areas Commission remains committed to working closely with our international partners and stakeholders to advance Guyana’s environmental and conservation trajectory in keeping with the LCDS 2030.