Norway and Guyana reconfirms collaboration on climate and forests

Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen, and Guyana's Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, reiterated their commitment to reach their shared goals as set out in the bilateral partnership on climate and forest.

This was concluded at a bilateral meeting in the margins of the Oslo REDD Exchange conference. The two ministers announced that they will continue the current collaboration until Guyana has implemented all agreed key reforms in the forestry sector.

-Guyana is set at keeping its deforestation rate amongst the lowest in the world, and to continue work to improve governance in the forestry sector. Guyana is also determined to keep its commitment to fully transforming its energy sector to clean and renewable energy. This is key to reducing the country's emissions of greenhouse gases, says Minister Trotman.

Guyana and Norway's partnership on climate and forest was initiated in 2009. Guyana had at that time already defined a national low carbon development strategy that outlined how the country could meet its ambitious targets for economic and social development, at the same time as keeping deforestation at a minimal and transforming its entire energy sector to clean and renewable energy. Guyana is a High Forest Low Deforestation (HFLD) rate country. The deforestation rate for 2014, recently verified by a third party (lenke til tidl pressemld), was as low as 0,065%, which is among the lowest deforestation rates of tropical forest countries.

Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen, and Guyana's Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, reiterated their commitment to reach their shared goals as set out in the bilateral partnership on climate and forest. Credit: Ministry of Climate and Environment

- The Norway-Guyana partnership demonstrates how HFLD countries like Guyana can be incentivized to keep their deforestation low, and using the proceeds to establish a completely clean and renewable energy sector as well as a broader green economy. Through our financial support, Norway intends to support Guyana in implementing its national strategy for economic and social development without compromising the forest and the vital ecosystem services they provide, says Minister Helgesen.

Norway has committed to contribute up to 250 million US dollars to Guyana if the country keeps its deforestation rate low and reach key forest governance targets. So far, Norway has disbursed about 150 mill. USD, rewarding Guyana's achieved results.  Of this, 70 mill. USD has been transferred to Guyana REDD+ investment fund - GRIF (administered by the World Bank), and 80 mill. USD has been set aside at an account with the Inter-American Bank to cover Guyana's equity share in the Amaila Falls Hydropower project. Guyana and Norway are currently conducting a review of the latter project to reach a fact-based decision on its feasibility and the way forward.

Efforts to improve governance in Guyana include the development of an ambitious roadmap for initialing an agreement with the EU on combatting illegal logging by the end of 2016, as well as plans to become an EITI candidate this year. EITI is a global standard to promote open and accountable management of natural resources. In addition, the Guyana Forestry Commission has recently published data on all forest concessions held in the country on its website as a step to increase public transparency.

Indigenous peoples make up 10% of Guyana's population. Making sure that these groups' rights are being respected, for example by involving them in all relevant decisions and processes, is important to both Guyana and Norway. A project that enables Guyana's indigenous communities to take part in the work to keep deforestation low and to be remunerated for the results, is currently receiving support under the partnership, from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund.

More information on the collaboration with Guyana.