By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyana, through its Natural Resources Ministry, signed a US$803,653 agreement this morning [Friday, August 22] with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), geared towards greater protection of local biodiversity. The three year project is funded by the Global Environment Facility.
Guyana has been working to formulate a project in this regard for the mining and forestry sectors for some time now and it will receive parallel funding from other agencies including the Natural Resources Ministry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
The agreement will see the enabling of monitoring and the enforcement of environmental regulations and codes of practice; enhance capacity of mining and miners so that activities will be favorable to biodiversity, strengthening the EPA’s role in oversight of mining practices and increased satellite tracking, among others.
This is also part of ensuring Guyana honours its international commitments.
UNDP Resident Coordinator, Khadija Musa said it was important that not only Guyana but all other countries where there are mining activities ensure that biodiversity was not destroyed in the process.
She said she is pleased to know that Guyana will be able to take advantage of new technology that exits and says work will continue to ensure that biodiversity is protected.
“The sad reality is that if we don’t protect it now, when we are finish mining we will be left with nothing,” she added.
Complimenting her sentiments was subject Minister, Robert Persaud. He explained that among the expectations is to integrate biodiversity in the mining school programme to help miners understand the regulatory framework and what is required of them in their day to day activities.
He said the government continues to be concerned about the impact of mining on biodiversity and have taken note and are acting accordingly to minimize the harm posed.
He said while the government seeks to protect its biodiversity, they must also ensure that mining activities are not reduced in the process; recognizing that mining remains one of the drivers of deforestation.
The agreement was signed between Musa and Permanent Secretary of the MNRE, Joslyn McKenzie.