International Biodiversity Centre for Iwokrama in the pipeline- Harmon

State Minister Joseph Harmon, on Friday paid a visit to the Iwokrama Centre and met with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dane Gobin and other officials

Government has invited a proposal for the establishment of a world-class International Biodiversity Centre for studies and research and the Iwokrama Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development in Kurupukari, Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight).

This is according to State Minister Joseph Harmon, who on Friday paid a visit to the Iwokrama Centre and met with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dane Gobin and other officials.

Addressing members of the management team, Harmon noted that the Biodiversity Centre is a vision of President David Granger and aims at setting up a hub for biodiversity research and studies.

According to a Ministry of the Presidency release, Harmon said that the President believes that the Centre can be the means through which greater global awareness is raised regarding the importance of the Guiana Shield and the protection and conservation of Guyana’s rich biodiversity.  He, therefore, requested that the Centre provide a proposal at the earliest opportunity, to facilitate perusal and discussions at the Governmental level.

“They have given me the assurance that there’s already a proposal, which might need a little tweaking but in fact there is such a proposal.  I’ve asked them to fast track it; I’ve asked them for some other information with respect to the income and the expenditure statements of the entity.  I’ve asked them for important information on the composition of the Board for Iwokrama because it is an international Centre and therefore there are international implications for what… we do here.  So these are things that we have actually asked for and I am given the assurance that this information will be provided very shortly so as I see it, things will start to move here very quickly,” Harmon said.

The state Minister also revealed that there are some issues with respect to the financial arrangements at Iwokrama that is affecting the smooth flow of activities at the Centre.

“We came here and we got a proper explanation from the Manager and we are satisfied that …Iwokrama is a healthy place. It requires some little bit of injection here and there, but I believe that from what I have seen and from the international commitments, that all of these are important features when we look at the funding, which is required” he said.

CEO of Iwokrama, Gobin, in an invited comment, said that the Centre, which will celebrate 30 years next year, has shared and will continue to share a strong relationship with the Fairview community.  

“Iwokrama has some of the most complex Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Benefits Sharing Agreements with Fairview.  We have a special relationship with Fairview in that 22,000 hectares of the Iwokrama Forest has been titled to the community but they have chosen not to excise their 22.000 hectares and so they are included in the management plan of Iwokrama. This is our extended family and we have a very close relationship,” he said.

Toshao of the village, Martin Carter, also said that the community enjoys a great relationship with the Centre and looks forward to capitalising on the approaching opportunities, which will become available when the Biodiversity Centre is realised.


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