By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyana’s local diplomatic community has been urged to rally support within their individual agencies and countries for the Iwokrama Project in Guyana.
This comes after the APNU+AFC administration had revealed that the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development continues to be plagued with financial shortfalls and has found itself in a situation where it is unable to pay staff and honor other immediate expenses.
Government, in early July, was forced to approve emergency funds at US$100,000 for the agency in light of its problems.
Acting President and Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo delivered the plea at a luncheon on Friday, September 25, where he emphasized the importance of the project, not only for Guyana, but also the rest of the world.
“Iwokrama illustrates our country’s rich biodiversity, the benefits that can accrue from the sustainable use of forest resources, the accumulation of carbon stocks which are now being (priced) worldwide and the provision of eco-system services… Iwokrama is relevant both to Guyana and the world. In the framework of the 2015-2030 sustainable development agenda, it has the potential to contribute to the battle against climate change, to reduce poverty by developing low volume, high value markets for forest products and services and encourage local national and international partnerships for development.” said Nagamootoo.
The Acting President noted that Iwokrama has since commissioned a new business plan which will pursue the development activities within the Centre with a view to reducing its dependency on donor funding.
It was noted too that the Centre embarked on sustainable timber operations in 2015 and continues to invest in its eco-tourism business.
“At the governmental level and through diplomatic initiatives, action is being taken to have the Commonwealth and climate conscious countries enter into partnerships similar to the 2009 Guyana/Norway agreement that would be a win-win situation for all. Iwokrama’s current financial model includes funding from various sources including earned revenues from services and investments (from businesses and partners), donor funding and intellectual property and services (including eco-system services) to meet its core costs of an estimated US$1.2 million annually,” said Nagamootoo.