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).
By destroying our forests, we reduce our own quality of life, gamble with the stability of climate and local weather, threaten the existence of other species, and undermine the valuable services provided by biological diversity. The loss of our forests causes wide-reaching problems, affecting not only wild plants and animals but human beings as well.
As part of the project “Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement on REDD+ & Readiness Activities in Guyana,” a second round of community cluster workshops and meetings have been implemented in Regions 1, 7, 9 and 10. Indigenous and forest-dependent communities covered in this phase held during the months of July and August were Linden, Ituni Kwakwani, Lethem, Shulinab, Aishalton, Mabaruma and Kamarang.
The workshops targeted individuals from different communities within the larger region. The aim of the workshops was to raise awareness of the nature and main ideas of REDD+ and to encourage participants to discuss involvement options in the REDD+ Readiness process (and beyond) within their communities.
During the workshops, different tools produced within the frame of the project, such as posters, brochures, a teacher’s guide, radio spots and a documentary film were introduced and distributed to the participants of the workshops. These tools are not only to inform the workshop participants, but also, and foremost should serve as support materials to help further disseminate REDD+ messages to the stakeholders’ own communities. The tools were designed in a manner that they can be adapted to the specific characteristics of each community in different regions.
The implementation process of this set of workshops reached out to approximately 270 individuals representing 75 communities. Furthermore, the workshops included exercises on how to engage communities in the REDD+ process in Guyana.
The workshops concluded by establishing an action plan to help the participants preparing self-organized outreach events in their own communities.
Until finalisation of the project, further actions are planned to raise awareness on REDD+ in Guyana and promote the engagement of indigenous and forest-dependent communities, local and regional authorities and organisations at different levels. All these actions and activities represent a big step towards the implementation of REDD+ in Guyana.
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!
Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation: A Synthesis Report for REDD+ Policymakers
Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
This synthesis report investigates activities (drivers) that lead to deforestation and forest degradation. It explores the relevance of drivers in REDD+ policy development and implementation, key interventions to address driver activity, the role of drivers for national forest monitoring and for developing REDD+ forest reference (emission) levels.
The IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options.
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Forests and climate change is an important theme of CIFOR’s work. They investigate how to improve forest management and grow global tree cover to benefit the environment and livelihoods. The report “Transforming REDD+: Lessons and new directions”, particularly, provides a critical, evidence-based analysis of REDD+ implementation so far.