After years of joint efforts and complex discussion, Guyana is aiming to achieve REDD+ Readiness by the end of 2019. This historical event has called for collaboration at a national and regional level where joint organisations, partners and communities have worked thoroughly to achieve a common goal: reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Searching for innovative and sustainable ways for the preservation of forests has remained a key factor in the path towards achieving the ultimate objective. In the international arena, Guyana’s REDD+ strategy could soon be considered a worldwide model for forest conservation as Costa Rica is today.
Examining the different REDD+ readiness activities is crucial to understand the overall process taking place in Guyana’s path towards reducing emissions in forests nowadays. Various consultancies have been carried out, including the Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement on REDD+ & Readiness Activities, the design and implementation of REDD+ pilot projects in consultation with stakeholders, as well as the analysis of land tenure and carbon ownership for the implementation of REDD+ in Guyana.
Consistent with the REDD+ Strategy and the Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) for Guyana, three final project concepts have been identified for implementation in both indigenous and non-indigenous forest-dependent communities. These pilot projects were based on overall consensus using a ranking system whose criteria included: emission reduction potential, provision of ecosystem services, scalability and replicability, and multiple co-benefits.
The three pilot projects identified for implementation were: (1) Support Community-Based Forests Inventory and Forest Management Planning (Community of Muritaro), (2) Integrated Fire Management in Shulinab Village- South Rupununi (Community of Shulinab), (3) Development of Alternative Income Projects for Forest-Dependent Communities: Support to Community-Based Açaí Production, Processing and Marketing (Community of Siriki).
Throughout the process of project identification, prioritisation and afterwards implementation, stakeholders, as well as partners and facilitators, have been active participants and have assisted with their expertise to provide support for training, guidance and oversight.
Similarly, focused meetings with the communities have commenced to initiate the establishment of steering committees and further engage the community and village councils in the process. By helping indigenous communities gain the knowledge and capacity to participate in REDD+, they can further significantly contribute to the pursuit of forest conservation strategies.
To analyse land tenure and carbon ownership to inform the allocation of benefits and rights, as well as the development of a benefits sharing mechanism for the implementation of REDD+ in Guyana, the country is carrying out different actions. Workshops with participants from government and non-governmental organisations have come together to discuss carbon rights in the context of Guyana’s land tenure and regulations, while comparatively reviewing other country’s approach to such issue. Based on initial stakeholder feedback and communications materials, a draft version of the proposed system for the allocation of carbon rights has been presented at several meetings throughout the country and is still to be approved.
Collaboration between different actors is necessary to achieve the desired objective. Guyana’s commitment to managing deforestation will engender continued accrued benefits for forest conservation and its consequent positive effects. Guyana’s actions reflect that it has been at the forefront of the move toward a REDD+ mechanism and has great potential of becoming an international leader in the subject in the following years. Although there is still much work to do, Guyana’s REDD+ readiness progress is quite promising!