The Government of Guyana and the European Union (EU) have signed a Forest Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) paving the way for Guyana to receive an initial €5 million grant to help with the preservation of its forests.
For President Irfaan Ali, the Forest Partnership MOU is timely.
“The forest partnership between Guyana and the European Union is timely, and underscores the strong commitment in continuing the bold, ambitious and innovative programme on Climate, Environment and the Forest. Guyana, therefore, welcomes this forest partnership. It is an integral aspect of our national plan to secure our patrimony, protect our environment and promote sustainable forest management and enhanced the livelihoods of our people,” the Guyanese Head of State said.
The President delivered a virtual address at the signing of the MOU, which took place on the margins of COP 27 on Tuesday in Egypt.
The President said Guyana and the European Union have shared a long and fruitful partnership, advancing work on shared priorities, and the MOU is another demonstration of their shared values on sustainable forest management and the protection of the environment.
“The EU has been in the forefront of supporting our development efforts, including in areas of climate change, climate resilience, food security, biodiversity protection and forest management. This collaboration is continuing through the launch today of this forest partnership. The partnership is defined by programmes on forest protection, restoration and sustainable forest management, conservation and development, forest-based value chains and investments,” the President said.
He noted that the Forest Partnership is being developed at a time when the world is concerned about the continuing adverse and devastating impact of climate change.
“The forest partnership is underpinned by the recognition of the role of Guyana’s pristine forest to the health and wellbeing of the global environment. Guyana’s forests are part of its national patrimony. Our forest constitutes a part of Guyana’s rich natural capital, and its abundant invaluable timber, minerals and priceless biodiversity. Our forest provides food and shelter and supports the livelihood of thousands of Guyanese families,” he said.
The President was keen to point out that Guyana has one of the world’s highest rates of forest cover, and can be found within the Guiana shield – one of the world’s largest remaining tropical rainforest blocks that contains 20% of the world’s fresh water supply.
“Guyana’s forests also provide critical environmental services, including carbon sequestration. They are mainly responsible for Guyana being among the handful of countries that are rated as net carbon sinks, with an estimated storage of 19.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. The economic value of the ecosystem services which our forests alone provide have been estimated at between US$40bn-US$54bn annually,” President Ali further pointed out.
He said in continuing its strong stewardship on forest, climate and the environment, Guyana has launched a visionary Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030, which outlines how the country’s forests and biodiversity can be maintained whilst it expands green jobs, transitions the domestic energy supply to clean and renewable energy sources, and adapts to the impact of climate change.
The MOU was signed by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, who signed on behalf of President Ali.
Mongolia, Congo, Uganda, and Zambia also signed the Forest Partnership MOU with the EU.
The partnership aims to enhance the socio-economic role of forests and their ongoing contribution to climate and biodiversity protection. Forest Partnerships contribute to the EU’s Global Gateway that works to protect people and the planet.