Guyana

Since 2009, Guyana and Norway have collaborated to promote green development in Guyana while keeping deforestation at low levels.

Guyana's almost untouched rainforest sits on an ancient geological formation called the Guiana Shield in the northeast of South America. Credit: Ane Marit Lid/KLD

Guyana's rainforest
Guyana's Green Development Path
REDD+ and Low Deforestation Countries
Norway's climate and forest partnership with Guyana 
Results to date
Supported projects
Amaila Falls Hydropower project
Results reporting
Partnership documents and background information
Press Releases
Other relevant reports

 

Guyana's Rainforest

Guyana's almost untouched rainforest sits on an ancient geological formation called the Guiana Shield in the northeast of South America. The biodiversity of these rainforests is immensely rich and is home to a large number of rare species, such as the giant otter and jaguars. They provide the basis for existence for a number of indigenous peoples' groups, store and continue to absorb large quantities of carbon, provide income from eco-tourism, timber and other forest products, produce water, regulate precipitation and contribute a range of other indispensable ecosystem services.

 

Guyana Shield Jaguar Credit: Conservation International

Guyana's Green Development Path

Its rainforest covers about 85% of Guyana's land mass. Unlike countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, deforestation in Guyana is very low, both historically and today (0.065% in 2014). Guyana ranks 124th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index and is classified as a lower-middle-income country by the World Bank. The path to economic growth and development for poorer countries has historically been through earning money from large-scale logging and other industries that contribute to the destruction of forest. The Guyanese government wants to pursue an alternative path to development, and has a national strategy for economic and social development without increasing deforestation. 

In 2015 the opposition won the General Election in the first change of government for 23 years. The previous government's Low Carbon Development Strategy describes how Guyana can limit greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, convert almost its entire energy sector to renewable energy and accelerate the development of low-carbon industries. President Granger has confirmed that Guyana will continue along a green development path and a new national plan for greening of the economy is under development.

 

REDD+ and low deforestation countries

The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 includes a target of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”, and further, to "pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C". A vital part of these efforts include paying developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). This is why agreement on the importance of REDD+ was included in the Paris Agreement. 

Approximately 20% of the world's remaining tropical forests are found in countries like Guyana, with high forest cover and very low deforestation rates. In these countries, deforestation is not high enough to receive compensation for reduced emissions from deforestation. In the absence of economic incentives for such countries, there is a real risk that deforestation could 'leak' from current high deforestation countries to low deforestation countries. In order to avoid such leakages, countries that have maintained most of their forests should be compensated financially for avoided deforestation. Guyana and Norway want their climate and forest partnership to present an international model for how this can be achieved in practice.

Norway's climate and forest partnership with Guyana

Norway and Guyana signed a climate and forest partnership in November 2009.  The partnership was expected to last until the end of 2015. However, due to some delays in implementation, a decision was made to continue the partnership based on annual approval by the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, until Guyana has reached its goals as stated in the MOU and adhering Joint Concept Notes. Norway's support to Guyana could add up to NOK 1.5 billion in total.

The forest partnership with Guyana has two result components: 1) continued low deforestation, and 2) improved governance in the forestry sector. The agreement between Guyana and Norway carefully sets out how payments for low deforestation are calculated based on deforestation results in previous years. For example, the payment is reduced gradually if the deforestation rate exceeds the 2010 level of 0.056% and halt completely if the deforestation rate reaches 0.1%. Results relating to improved governance in the forestry sector are based on an objective appraisal. For details see the Joint Concept Note and Technical Note on Payments below. Norway pays Guyana in arrears for results achieved the previous year.

Results to date

So far, Norway has paid Guyana about 150 mill. USD for results relating to low deforestation and improved governance. Approximately 70 mill. USD has been channelled through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), administered by the World Bank. Guyana spends the money on projects to realise Guyana's low carbon development strategy. All projects are implemented by either the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) or the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and thus adhere to their strict rules and safeguards.

Supported projects

Eight projects are currently receiving support under the GRIF. Results include the approval of 167 loans and grants worth over 1 mill. USD to micro and small enterprises in low carbon sectors. A development fund has been established to support the socio-economic development in indigenous communities and ca. 1,3 mill. USD has been disbursed to 90 communities. A new project to reduce Guyana's vulnerability to floods was initiated in 2015.

 

Micro and small enterprises in low carbon sectors that have received money from GRIF projects include both a bakery and a pet grooming shop. Credit: Ane Marit Lid/KLD
The women of the small village Santa Mission make souvenires for tourists from locally sourced materials. The community has received money from the GRIF development fund for indigenous communities. Credit: Ane Marit Lid/KLD

Read more about ongoing and planned projects.

Read more about Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF)

Amaila Falls Hydropower Project

Approximately 80 mill. USD has been transferred from Norway to the IDB for Guyana's Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. The funds correspond to Norway’s payments for Guyana’s deforestation results in 2011 and 2012 and were transferred in two tranches (see agreements linked below).

In 2015, Guyana and Norway agreed to do a fact based review of the plans for the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. The independent review by Norconsult does not represent the views of the Government of Guyana or the Government of Norway, and is not a decision document.

Guyana's President Granger and Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen, agreed on a way forward at a meeting on the sidelines of the Marrakech climate summit and issued a joint statement.

Reporting on results:

Guyana has developed the world's first national system for monitoring of forest cover and carbon content with the money earned from continued low deforestation.

Agreement and background documents:

Press releases:

 Other relevant reports: