British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, led the launch event for the Forest Climate and Leaders’ Partnership at COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt on November 7, 2022.
Prime Minister Sunak said “For too long, the world’s forests have been undervalued and underestimated. They are one of the great wonders of our world…that is why the UK put nature at the heart of COP 26 [in Glasgow in late 2021], and countries home to 90 per cent of the world’s forests committed not just to halting but reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030.”
Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat MP, represented Guyana at the launch, while President Dr Irfaan Ali has said “Ambition to protect the world’s forests has never been in short supply in forest communities and countries. What has been missing is the means to realise that ambition. The Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership can rapidly change this situation – by bringing Heads of Government together to focus on practical solutions. Guyana will play its part in highlighting leadership from forest communities and countries. We will put forward solutions that we know can work because of our own experience. The world’s people do not need more talk, they need action that converts ambition into results, and I hope the FCLP will be a platform to do this.”
In a bilateral meeting, Minister Bharrat discussed the FCLP with British Minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith, who spoke of how Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 and Guyana’s experience on forest management provided models that could be invaluable for other countries. The Ministers agreed to further discussions between the UK and Guyana, including on expanding trade for sustainable forest products – a topic that Minister Bharrat also emphasised in discussions with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
As set out in the LCDS, Guyana’s deforestation rate is among the lowest in the world with over 99% of the country’s 18 million hectares of forest, intact. This provides vital carbon and biodiversity services for the world – and Guyana is aiming to continue to evolve its model for payment for forest climate services by accessing financing from voluntary carbon markets. At the same time, the Ministry of Natural Resources is leading Guyana’s efforts for greater exports of sustainably harvested timber products, in accordance with European and other global standards for trade.
Including Guyana and the UK, the FCLP now includes 26 countries and the European Union – which together account for over 33% of the world’s forests and nearly 60% of GDP.