Iwokrama, REDD attract CIFOR Director General to Guyana
Director General of the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Frances J. Seymour, is in Guyana to live her dream of embarking on an excursion to Iwokrama which she has for decades longed to visit.
She paid a courtesy call on President Bharrat Jagdeo at the Office of the President on Thursday.
CIFOR, which has its international headquarters in Indonesia, and engages in forest related activities around the world, has an ongoing cooperation programme with Iwokrama which Seymour described as a unique institution.
“(Iwokrama) is doing very important work to demonstrate not only the potential of sustainable management of forest for timber, but also collaborative governance with local communities in managing forest resources, so we are very happy to be collaborating with Iwokrama,” Seymour said.
CIFOR operates on a mandate to inform policies and practices that influence the fate of forests and the communities that depend on those forests, and in this regard, intends to expand collaboration in forestry research with Iwokrama.
The Iwokrama Forest is considered one of the four last pristine tropical forests in the world, with approximately 3710 square kilometres; and with its rich biodiversity and ecosystems, Guyana is positioned to offer global education services in this area.
Guyana will be capitalising on these resources with the establishment of a world-class centre for biodiversity research at the University of Guyana.
Financing for the project is already being realised with a $9M loan approved, an additional $2M to be acquired from the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), and another $9M from philanthropic sources.
“We can become a global centre for studies in biodiversity and at very high levels, and we can also, through those engagements, attract some of the largest companies in the world, particularly pharmaceutical companies, to do research right here in Guyana to complement the teaching that we do here in these areas,” President Jagdeo said at the opening of Nations University on September 5.
Guyana’s important role in piloting the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is the second reason the CIFOR Director General is in Guyana.
Seymour is familiar with the REDD concept and the bilateral forest carbon agreements which Norway shares with Guyana and Indonesia, and is also familiar with the Guyana experience.
“I’ve heard your President speak at various international events, so I was eager to come and hear how it’s going, what the challenges were, and what the achievements have been, and I’m quite impressed with what Guyana has been able to do in moving forward on the REDD agenda,” Seymour said.
On July 1, Guyana assumed the role of co-chair to the Interim REDD Partnership with Germany; and, according to President Jagdeo, Guyana will go into advocating the hasty disbursement of forest resources that were pledged to countries.
At the conclusion of the 16th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, an accord was signed with a pledge of US$10B for fast start funding per annum.
Seymour said the Guyana experience has valuable lessons that can feed into international negotiations such as those on climate change. She is hopeful that scientists and researchers who work with CIFOR will be able to deepen collaboration in Guyana to share the experience globally. (GINA)