Our country has a long and proud history of forest conservation, with our indigenous peoples as the original stewards and conservators over their 7000-year-long legacy of wise use and accumulated traditional knowledge.
We are one of the examples of a high forest cover and have maintained one of the lowest deforestation rates on Earth (after peaking at 0.079% in 2012 the rate constantly dropped, reaching 0.048% in 2017).
We need to keep up with our good work, if not do even better. We need to be aware that our forests are more valuable when standing than when cutting down.
We need to protect this important asset of our country, for our people, while contributing to the global efforts in combating the changing climate.
But it does not mean that we are not allowed to do anything with the forest anymore. It is important for us to manage the forest sustainably.
Forests can increase the resilience of communities by providing fundamental economic, social and environmental services such as food, wood energy, shelter, fodder and fibre, as well as income and employment, and the conservation of biodiversity.
And Guyana’s enormous forest carbon stocks, together with other significant ecosystems services, including abundant fresh water and biodiversity, make it the ideal country to continue to test and refine the economic viability of REDD+ payment schemes.
Our country is prepared to continue to sustainably manage, conserve, and protect this patrimony for the benefit of ourselves and all humanity. In return, we must obtain benefits to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of Guyanese.
And we can only do so by working together, the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana together with the vigilance and related contributions of civil society advocates and organizations.