[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyana joined the rest of the world in celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity with a cocktail and reception which was hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources on Friday evening.
This year’s International Day for Biological Diversity falls in the International Year of Small Island Developing States and is being observed under the theme of “Island Diversity” and was observed on May 22.
As part of the observances, the Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – Guiana Shield Facility (GSF), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – Lifeweb Initiative, Iwokrama and WWF Guyana, hosted a workshop for Protected Areas management professionals and international biodiversity experts.
The workshop focused on Biodiversity Corridors in the Guiana Shield to provide technical inputs for the streamlining of support for the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The workshop was hosted at the Iwokrama River Lodge and Research Centre from May 21-23, and saw participation from 30 countries that share the Guiana Shield.
Friday night’s event marked the closing of the workshop and on the occasion, Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud highlighted some of Guyana’s initiatives in the area of conservation biodiversity.
“I want to reiterate the approach that we have taken is one of collaboration, working with our partners UNDP, WWF, Conservation International and other bilateral partners,” the Natural Resources Minister said.
“In Guyana we are proud to say that in many of the international conventions and protocols, as it relates generally to the environment, but more specifically to the conservation to biodiversity, we are well on the way to achieving these.”
Minister Persaud added that Guyana can be seen as a model to the Caribbean nations and the rest of the world.
“We are doing well as it relates to protected areas; our approach is not one of isolation but integration as we recognise that our economic well being, the prosperity, and our livelihood depend on a functioning and sustainable and viable extractive sector.”
He said that, “Be it in terms from the traditional way of life, logging medium and large scale mining, it would be very harsh and unimaginable if one were to suggest that our approach to conservation of biodiversity must be at the expense of extractive activity”.
The Minister added that this has been shown through the Low Carbon Development Strategy and more so if one takes a look at Guyana’s track record in terms of the rate of deforestation.
“Our mining practices, and logging practices, in Guyana we have served and positioned ourselves as a model, we have passed the protected areas legislation, we have gone a far way not only to adhering to protocol and conventions, but also nationally, legislative wise and institution capacity.”
Further the Minister said the administration is looking at other ways by which it can work with the different industries and communities to mainstream conservation biodiversity into their activities.
“We believe that would be a more practical approach and that is why reviewing the draft action plan from the workshop that was completed today, we see that there are practical steps that will help Guyana further its own experiences and further our national policies and initiatives.”
Meanwhile on the occasion, UNDP, Resident Representative, Ms. Khadija Musa reiterated the UNDP’s position on biodiversity. “For some 600 million island-dwellers – nearly one-tenth of the world’s population and representing one in three United Nations Member States – biodiversity is integral to their subsistence, income, well-being and cultural identity.
In addition, Ms Musa said the Secretary General of UNDP pointed out that half of the world marine resources lie in island water thus reversing biodiversity losses and eco system degradation.
As confirmed UNDP is committed to playing its role in responding to this challenge as is reflected in the biodiversity and eco system global framework, which will underpin its operation in this field over the coming years.
This is an important commitment because human survival and well-being of the people of the Guiana Shield also depend on biodiversity and a healthy eco system and goods and services they get from it.
[extracted and modified from GINA]