The 3rd International Congress regarding the Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield got underway on Monday August 5 in Paramaribo, Suriname with a keynote address from Guyana’s Former President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo.
The Congress, which was attended by over 200 participants from Guiana Shield countries which include Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Venezuela and Brazil, catered to a diverse audience which included policy representatives, NGOs, the academic community, and indigenous communities.
Dr. Jagdeo was invited by the organisers in the capacity of expert in the area of biodiversity and economic development and in his address highlighted the threat to global biodiversity from climate change.
He made reference to the current warming trajectory which could see the world warming by as much as 4 degrees by 2100 if urgent action is not taken and the catastrophic effect this will have on biodiversity.
In giving recognition to the Guiana Shield as one of the last remaining eco-regions with intact forests and biodiversity, he encouraged participants to look at new research and new approaches to mobilise people of the region to action and advocated that more work needs to be done at the political level and also with the general public to raise awareness on climate change and its impacts and how we can take local action to protect the region’s biodiversity and people.
Reference was also made to Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy as one of the first examples of incentivizing biodiversity conservation and ecosystem protection while at the same time promoting sustainable livelihoods and a green economy.
Guyana’s efforts towards establishing a world-class Centre for Biodiversity was also recognized.
The Congress continues to 8th August with focused sessions on key areas of mining, the green economy, economic value of biodiversity, gender and biodiversity, and the setting of priorities for biodiversity action in the region.