Guyana to get €5M grant from EU to preserve its forest

The Iwokrama forest, part of the larger Amazon basin, in the heart of Guyana

The Government of Guyana and the European Union share a 50 years long fruitful partnership, advancing work together on shared priorities in programmes on the environment, sustainability and forest governance.

This collaboration is now being culminated, by the signing on 8 November 2022, of the “Forest Partnership Memorandum of Understanding”, between President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Government of Guyana. The MoU underlines the genuine partnership between Guyana and the EU, focused on long-term sustainability. It is a reflection of the unwavering commitment of Guyana to protect its unique rainforest.

According to EU Ambassador to Guyana, Rene van Nes, Guyana is unique in that it is one of the few countries in the world that has a negative carbon footprint. He outlined that Guyana is an example for the world and the forest partnership is a recognition of the sustained efforts by the country in preserving its forests and ensuring that timber harvesting is regulated.

According to President Dr Irfaan Ali, Guyana remains committed to fighting climate change and developing sustainably. He pointed out that Guyana’s development is structured in a Low Carbon Development Strategy, which will help Guyana to build a global model for forest climate services and other ecosystem services.

The MOU, which is being signed on the sidelines of the COP 27 in Egypt, on November 8, has four main objectives.

(1) Increasing the area of protected, restored or sustainably managed forests, including mangroves

(2) Increasing the number of forest-related jobs

(3) Maintaining the close-to-zero annual rate of deforestation of natural forests

(4) Looking for ways to facilitate investment and trade in legal and sustainable wood products between Guyana and the EU.

The forest partnership is a win-win for Guyana and the EU. With an initial EURO 5 Million grant from the EU for activities, immediate results are expected in supporting Indigenous Peoples and local communities, supporting small-scale producers, promoting sustainable trade in forest and agriculture commodities and building capacity to drive behaviour change. Youth and women are expected to play an important role in the planning and implementation of activities related to the partnership.

Reflective of its continuing strong stewardship on forests, climate and the environment, Guyana launched its visionary Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030. The LCDS sets out how forests and biodiversity can be maintained, whilst the country expands green jobs, transitions the domestic energy supply to clean and renewable energy sources, and adapts to the impacts of climate change.

In recent years both the EU and Guyana have already implemented several forest-related actions. Recognizing the urgent need for strategic and focused cooperation. Building on the strong engagement in and motivation for forest conservation by the Guyanese government, both sides are increasing their cooperation on forests to make an important contribution to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Climate change is one of the world’s main concerns and affects Guyana as it threatens the very existence of this coastal low-lying rapidly developing state. Guyana and the European Union aim at supporting the role of Guyana’s forests in sustainable development, and addressing challenges related to deforestation, forest degradation, climate change and loss of biodiversity.

The Forest Partnership with the EU places Guyana at the top of the world in terms of its protection of the rain forest. It is timely, and underscores the strong commitment in continuing the bold ambition and innovative programme on climate, environment and forests. [EU Press Release]