Guyana, EU to sign €5M MoU to protect, restore forest

The Government of Guyana and the European Union (EU) will sign a “Forest Partnership” Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today on the sidelines of the COP27 Summit which is currently being held in Egypt.
The MoU will be signed between the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Government of Guyana – in particular Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharat who is representing Guyana at the event.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

The MoU underlines the 50-year genuine partnership between Guyana and the EU and will focus on long-term sustainability. It is a reflection of the unwavering commitment of Guyana to protect its unique rainforest.
In fact, the Forest Partnership with the EU places Guyana at the top of the world in terms of its protection of the rainforest. It is timely and underscores the strong commitment to continuing the bold ambition and innovative programme on climate, environment, and forests.
The MoU comprises four main objectives including increasing the area of protected, restored or sustainably managed forests, including mangroves; increasing the number of forest-related jobs; maintaining the close-to-zero annual rate of deforestation of natural forests and looking for ways to facilitate investment and trade in legal and sustainable wood products between Guyana and the EU.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen

However, EU Ambassador to Guyana, Rene van Nes stated that Guyana is unique in that it is one of the few countries in the world that has a negative carbon footprint. He outlined that Guyana is an example for the world and the forest partnership is a recognition of the sustained efforts by the country in preserving its forests and ensuring that timber harvesting is regulated.
On the other hand, President Dr Irfaan Ali explained that Guyana remains committed to fighting climate change and developing sustainably. He pointed out that Guyana’s development is structured in a Low Carbon Development Strategy, which will help Guyana to build a global model for forest climate services and other ecosystem services.

Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharat

“The forest partnership is a win-win for Guyana and the EU. With an initial EURO 5 million grant from the EU for activities, immediate results are expected in supporting Indigenous Peoples and local communities, supporting small-scale producers, promoting sustainable trade in forest and agriculture commodities and building capacity to drive behaviour change. Youth and women are expected to play an important role in the planning and implementation of activities related to the partnership,” a release from the EU stated.
Reflective of its continuing strong stewardship of forests, climate, and the environment, Guyana launched its visionary Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030.
The LCDS sets out how forests and biodiversity can be maintained, whilst the country expands green jobs, transitions the domestic energy supply to clean and renewable energy sources, and adapts to the impacts of climate change.
In recent years both the EU and Guyana have already implemented several forest-related actions.

Building on the strong engagement in and motivation for forest conservation by the Guyanese Government, both sides are increasing their cooperation on forests to make an important contribution to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate change is one of the world’s main concerns and affects Guyana as it threatens the very existence of this coastal low-lying rapidly developing state. Guyana and the European Union aim at supporting the role of Guyana’s forests in sustainable development and addressing challenges related to deforestation, forest degradation, climate change and loss of biodiversity.