Iwokrama signs MoU with PAC to strengthen biodiversity conservation

Scenes from the MOU signing

The Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the form of a Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) with the Protected Areas Commission (PAC), to strengthen collaboration in the field of technical assistance on protected area management, biodiversity conservation, and climate change.
Under this agreement, the PAC and Iwokrama will receive mutual support in several areas, including research, capacity development, education and awareness, bio-inventories, and fundraising.
Iwokrama and PAC have had a longstanding relationship since the PAC’s creation in 2011, as both entities worked together towards mutual conservation goals of the National Protected Areas System (NPAS) of Guyana.
This MOU formalises that relationship, so that both entities can continue to benefit and increase their opportunities through formal collaborations at the national and international levels.
Iwokrama Rainforest was created in 1996 under the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development Act of 1996. It was set up as a protected area to show how forests can be used for social and economic benefits, such as food and medicines, while at the same time being sustainably managed and protected.
The programmes of Iwokrama contribute significantly to conservation education, awareness and research. Known by the Indigenous Machushi people as a “Place of Refuge”, the Iwokrama Rainforest is a gift to Guyana, the Commonwealth, and the world, setting a national standard for sustainable forest practices.
In December 2022, the PAC signed a second MOU with an international conservation organisation, the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), to aid in elevating its protected area system. The aim of that MOU was to allow the Commission to develop the capacity whereby it can leverage more financial support in managing the country’s existing protected area system, particularly in the Kanuku Mountains.
According to the FZS website, it supports the Kanuku Mountains by helping the PAC with setting up and training a small team of rangers in the Kanuku Mountains, and assisting with field-based activities; helping to plan and supervise the construction of control posts out in the field, together with the Protected Areas Commission rangers; organizing, carrying out, and documenting ranger patrols; and regular analysis of high-resolution satellite data for early detection of illegal activities.
The FZS had first signed a MoU in 2015, to provide Guyana with financial and technical support for the development of the country’s protected area system. Two experts from the FZS group were tasked with advising the PAC on setting up the conservation area system, lending support to establish administrative and monitoring systems for the Kanuku Mountains, the crafting of monitoring plans and biodiversity surveys, and liaising with representatives of other interest groups.