SBM offshore launches mangrove restoration project

SBM Offshore, in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), last Tuesday officially launched the Annandale/Friendship Mangrove Restoration Project, hosted at Tipperary Hall, Buxton, East Coast Demerara.

SBM officials at the project launch

The project launch and stakeholders’ engagement were followed by the unveiling of the project’s billboard at Annandale.
The project involves construction of a 400-metre geotextile tube groin field, and the propagation and planting of 20,000 mangrove seedlings. It would offer coastal protection from the sea and feature community participation. The project would also be internationally certified.
SBM Offshore General Manager in Guyana, Francesco Prazzo, in his remarks, said the company embraces a sustainable business model that creates shared value, serving at the same time the best interests of the society, the environment, and its clients and shareholders.
“This ethical behaviour is what for me makes good corporate citizenship, and, put simply, goes hand in hand with good business. Institutions, then, play a crucial enabling role for the success of all of us, as they have powerful effects to define opportunities and shape behaviours. That, in turn, affects what investments are promoted and what activities are encouraged,” Prazzo explained.
He explained SBM Offshore’s commitment to the project, stating that mangroves are a gift from the environment and their restoration offers the greatest protection in terms of coastal endurance, and will improve the lives of thousands of Guyanese who live along the coast.
Sustainability Officer of SBM Offshore, Recardo Bovell, provided an overview of SBM Offshore’s Sustainability Programme, stating that the company has adopted seven of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and has gained international recognition and ratings as a result.
Additionally, NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer Jagnarine Singh, who applauded SBM Offshore for its participation in the project, said the Government recognises the importance of the mangrove ecosystem to flood prevention.
“The conservation and restoration of this unique and valuable eco-system will increase the resilience of coastal communities to floods due to rising sea levels, while providing a habitat and nursery for birds and fishes,” he said.
Jagnarine added, “The partnership between NAREI and SBM Offshore to restore over one kilometre of mangrove along the foreshore of Annandale, Buxton and Friendship will not only increase the flood protection of the communities, but will also provide valuable opportunities for the community members.”
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Guyana, Dr. Gillian Smith, while commending the collaborative effort of SBM Offshore and NAREI, noted the importance of leveraging public/private partnerships to projects of this nature.
Mangroves provide protection for people, houses, and farmlands from natural disasters such as storms, floods, and tidal waves. The trunks and branches act as a barrier, helping to reduce the impact of the waves and flooding.