Guyana may not meet 2020 UN environmental targets – PAC

Given the extant local realities, it is highly unlikely that, by 2020, Guyana would achieve the targets set out by the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity, although every effort is being made in this regard. Speaking on Thursday at the launch of the Guyana Project Workshop on “promoting integrated and participatory Ocean Governance in Guyana and Suriname”, held at the Regency Hotel in Georgetown, Commissioner Denise Fraser, of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC), made this disclosure and said that for many countries like Guyana, “it is unlikely that we will meet the targets by 2020”.

The Convention on Bio-Diversity has laid out some 20 targets to be achieved by 2020. Among these are that, by 2020 latest, biodiversity values should be integrated into national and local development; and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes should be incorporated into national accounting and reporting systems as appropriate.

By 2020 latest, incentives, including subsidies harmful to biodiversity, should be eliminated, phased out or reformed, in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts; and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity should be developed and applied, consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations.

By 2020 latest, Governments, businesses and stakeholders at all levels must take steps to achieve, or have implemented, plans for sustainable production and consumption, and should have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.

By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, should at least be halved and, where feasible, brought close to zero; and degradation and fragmentation must be significantly reduced.

By 2020, all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants should be managed and harvested sustainably, legally, and by applying ecosystems-based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided; and recovery plans and measures should be in place for all depleted species, fisheries should have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems; and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems should be within safe ecological limits. By 2020 also, areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry must be managed sustainably; ensuring conservation of biodiversity, among others. Commissioner Denise Fraser has said the targets for marine areas are more unlikely to be met, as Guyana is “sadly lacking in the information needed to begin discussions on how to manage our marine diversity”. It from this perspective, she explained, that the Protected Areas Commission got involved in this marine planning EU-funded project.

The objectives of the Protected Areas Act are: To provide for the protection and conservation of Guyana’s natural heritage and national capital

The creation, management and financing of the national system of protected areas The maintenance of ecosystem services of national and global importance, including climate regulation and the fulfilment of Guyana’s international environmental responsibilities

Public participation in protected areas and conservation. Guyana is a party to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, and the targets under the convention.