[www.inewsguyana.com] – In a ground-breaking move towards improved environmental stewardship, the Government of Guyana through the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud today, Monday, September 1, announced that the country will contribute approximately US$10 million (G$2B) in mining revenues to the National Protected Areas Trust Fund.
The Minister reported on Cabinet’s approval recently of Guyana taking “the novel approach of using proceeds from the extractive sector to support protected areas management, and in doing so, further reaffirms Guyana’s deep and abiding commitment to finding the balance between conservation and development.”
This landmark declaration was made this morning at the first Board of Trustees meeting of the National Protected Areas Trust Fund in the boardroom of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.
According to the Minister, the country has recently made significant strides in establishing a national protected areas system and this endowment will further support efforts to conserve the natural heritage.
The Protected Areas Trust Fund is called for under the Protected Areas Act 2011, and is the latest major component of the country’s multifaceted approach to protected areas development to come on-stream.
The Trust is separate and apart from the Protected Areas Commission, and is managed as a body corporate by a six member Board of Trustees. The Trustees were nominated by the Government, the Private Sector Commission, the University of Guyana, the National Toshaos Council and non-governmental Donors.
Speaking at the inaugural meetings, Executive Director of Conservation International, Dr. David Singh noted, “Conservation International has been working in Guyana for close to two decades now, and its core activity has been to engage the government of Guyana and the People of Guyana in conservation and sustainable management of the country’s rich biodiversity and ecosystems.”
He added that the National Protected Areas Trust “represents another step towards the establishment of a strong governance and institutional stricture of the maintenance of Guyana’s natural capital, an important central feature of Guyana’s national Low Carbon Development Strategy.”
“Funding from the national trust fund is not expected to replace or substitute the efforts within Guyana for biodiversity conservation. This still required much more effort from the government and people of Guyana, including the private sector and local people. The financial returns from the trust fund are meant to complement the government’s efforts, and the trust itself will create opportunities for public and private partners to form a new alliance for nature”, stated Dr. Singh.
The Ministry noted that to date the Fund has received commitments of US$5.3M from the Government of Germany and US$3.5M from Conservation International’s (CI) Global Conservation Fund.