World-class Protected Area System for 2020

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, January 25, 2018

Steps are being taken to have a world-class National Protected Areas Commission by 2020, a vision of the local body.

Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) Denise Fraser, during a recent sector review, said the agency has been utilising the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool to efficiently manage protected areas.

Denise Fraser, Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission seated next to Ndibi Schwiers, Head of the Department of the Environment.

The first baseline study was conducted during the latter part of 2014 and thereafter, an assessment is done each year to monitor progress.

“In the area of research and ecological monitoring, this was one of the areas that we had planned in 2017 to really roll out a monitoring programme in each of the protected areas but because of the budgetary constraints we were not really able to roll it out but we were able to get some funding from WWF [World Wildlife Fund] to do an overflight of Kaieteur National Park. The report from which resulted in an enforcement exercise,” Fraser explained.

The PAC was able to successfully execute the annual turtle monitoring exercise at Shell Beach with support from the WWF, which is one of the Commission’s key partners.

More importantly, it has developed a database for site level reporting, which will be rolled out this year.

Partnerships and stakeholder participation are being encouraged with the PAC consistently to build relationships with the regional administrations close to Protected Areas.

The Commission is seeking to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Guyana in the area of research and is currently enjoying a fruitful relationship with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, which has seconded two technical persons to Guyana.

These individuals have experience in managing parks in areas such as Africa, as such, the PAC is hopeful it will benefit from extensive service.

“We want to strengthen the inter-agency cooperation for enforcing the protected areas rules and regulations and here we would need to work with our partners,” Fraser noted.

The responsibilities of the National Parks Commission (NPC) were repealed by the Protected Areas Act, therefore the Commission has to look at how it will be integrated into the Protected Areas System.

Fraser disclosed that the Commission will be recruiting additional site level staff in the Hinterland Protected Areas and with the help of Frankfurt Zoological Society.  They are looking to accommodate at least one Postgraduate Research student to conduct studies in the Kanuku Mountains.

Making reference to a US$5M agreement which was signed with the German Government in September 2016,  Fraser said a major challenge was the tedious process of acquiring approval for the establishment of a bank account so that the PAC can receive its first disbursement under the project. That agreement was for phase three of the Guyana Protected Areas project known as GPAS Three.

It has been noted that timely intervention at the ministerial level could have addressed this issue and a commitment was made to such, by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who expressed that challenges such as these should be brought to his attention.

“There is quite a lot to be done and some of the interventions required I would like to identify those so that I can take those up with the relevant ministers or the National Procurement and Tender Board Administration,” the Minister noted.

 

By: Stacy Carmichael

 

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