Guyana’s first and largest community owned protected area, the Kanashen Amerindian Protected Area in Region 9, was recently accredited to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QQC), an initiative to unite Commonwealth countries through a network of information sharing and forest conservation projects across the globe.
At approximately 700,000 hectares (almost 3,000 miles) and four times the size of London, the Kanashen Protected Area is home to the Wai Wai people, houses virtually untouched forests, is part of the High Biodiversity Wilderness Area of Amazonia and a key section of the Guiana Shield corridor.
The origin of the Essequibo River can also be found in Kanashen Protected Area.
“Guyana’s participation as a CARICOM country in this significant Commonwealth initiative will create tangible benefits for communities and the environment and will demonstrate the very great value of CARICOM nations working towards a global environmental objective,” Guyana’s High Commissioner to London, Frederick Hamley Case, said.
“We see this rather as a CARICOM dedication to forest conservation and to the lungs of the Earth,” the High Commissioner further added.
In 2004, the Wai Wai of Kanashen District received absolute title to the land and have since worked towards conservation and sustainable economic development.
In 2007, under the Part V, Section 58 of the Amerindian Act (2006), the Kanashen District Council made the local declaration of the Kanashen Community Owned Conservation Area (KCOCA).
The Kanashen Protected Area was formally declared a protected area by the Protected Areas Commission in 2017.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Environment within the Ministry of the Presidency has endorsed the move by the protected area to attain the accreditation from the QCC.