By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewguyana.com] – A Public Meeting was this morning (November, 14) held at the Protected Areas Commission, National Park, to consult with stakeholders from various sectors within the Natural Resources Ministry on the way forward for the Draft Management Plan for the Shell Beach Protected Area.
Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud explained that the aim is to ensure residents fully understand and are on board with the plan in order to move forward with the initiative.
Additionally, he said expectations are high from the residents of the identified areas and therefore all efforts should be directed towards establishing a world class protected areas system, adding that it is aimed at establishing environmental equilibrium.
According to Minister Persaud, Guyana has created a trust fund which has in excess of US $5M that will be invested into the protected areas system.
“We were one of the first Government/country whereby we were able to dedicate mining revenue and invest those mining revenue into a protected area trust fund and we did that in excess of US $5M; that again is a reaffirmation of our commitment in this regard to not only set up the Commission, it is not only moving up to the communities but also utilizing the revenue and resources that we have been able to achieve and even from the natural resources sector and invest in that directly into the environment and initiative such as this,” Minister Persaud said.
He urged that Guyanese support this initiative since it belongs to all.
“I want to urge all citizens and all groups, Governmental and NGO’s to see the protected areas that we have identified, the entire system as belonging to us and in a way that we have to respond and show support so that they are successful in the end.”
The Natural Resources Minister noted that the German Government has been assisting in this regard and he is optimistic that other countries and agencies will come on board to support this initiative.
The Protected Areas Act was passed in 2011 and paved the way for the establishment of the Commission and its primary responsibility is the day to day management of the protected areas system.
The Ministry’s plan is to create an effective, globally recognized national protected areas system which is expected to bring to bear decades of international experience in shaping a protected areas system that is contextual to Guyana, effective and ultimately sustainable.