Norway, World Conservation Society congratulate Guyana on issuance of high-quality carbon credits

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



Norway’s Climate and Environment Minister, Espen Barth-Eide, has congratulated Guyana on being the first country in the world to get issued carbon credits under the high- integrity carbon standard ART (Architecture for REDD+ Transactions).

Barth-Eide described the move for Guyana as a “historic breakthrough”.

“I congratulate Guyana on being the first country to issue forest carbon credits certified by ART, paving the way for many others to come. This marks a breakthrough for the emergence of a high-quality global carbon market to protect tropical forests,” Espen Barth-Eide said.

Guyana was issued 33.47 million forest carbon credits for preventing and reducing deforestation and forest degradation in the period 2016-2020.

The credits have been verified by a third-party against ART’s robust environmental and social requirements. The announcement, the Norway Government said on Monday, marks an important step for how tropical forest countries can sell high-integrity carbon credits for preventing and reducing deforestation and forest degradation.

Guyana is the first country to conclude the ART process out of 15 jurisdictions that have so far entered the ART pipeline.

Meanwhile, Norway’s congratulations were echoed by the World Conversation Society (WSC), Executive Vice President for Global Conservation, Joe Walston.

Walston in a statement said that “This is huge. Guyana’s issuance of the world’s first market-oriented jurisdictional REDD+ credits through the ART TREES standard is a testament to its commitment to pursuing equitable economic development through the safeguarding its forests. We must prioritise global support for countries and jurisdictions that follow this approach”.

These credits, the WSC said, also represent the first time that a jurisdiction with high forest cover and low rates of deforestation, also known as High Forest Low Deforestation (HFLD), has the potential to access carbon market finance at scale.

Guyana is one of the most forested countries in the world, with around 85 per cent of the country covered by vast expanses of high integrity or intact forests. Guyana’s credits are the culmination of over a decade of commitments and collaborative efforts to pursue a Low Carbon Development Strategy through incentives from jurisdictional REDD+.

Its TREES credits, independently validated and verified against the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) TREES standard and conforming with rigorous environmental and social safeguards, can help enable Guyana to strengthen stewardship of its forests and contribute to meeting global climate goals while pursuing economic security and prosperity for all Guyanese.

In a separate announcement, the Government of Guyana announced that it has entered into a multi-year agreement worth US$750 million with Hess Corporation for the purchase of 37.5 million credits. This translates into 2.5 million credits per year from 2016 to 2030, roughly a third of Guyana’s current and projected credit issuance.

Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART)
On Monday, the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) in a statement said that it has issued the world’s first TREES credits to Guyana. This also marks a milestone as the first time a country has been issued carbon credits specifically designed for the voluntary and compliance carbon markets for successfully preventing forest loss and degradation — a process known as jurisdictional REDD+.

According to ART, following completion of an independent validation and verification process and approval by the ART Board of Directors, ART has issued 33.47 million TREES credits to Guyana for the five-year period from 2016 to 2020. These serialised credits, listed on ART’s public registry, are available to buyers on the global carbon market, including for use by airlines for compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s global emission reduction programme, CORSIA, as well as for use toward voluntary corporate climate commitments.

Guyana’s completion of the ART process paves the way for other governments that are looking to receive carbon market finance for success in protecting and restoring forests. Currently, 14 other countries and large sub-national jurisdictions are working toward their own issuances of TREES credits.

Chair of the ART Board, Frances Seymour congratulated the Government of Guyana and the many domestic stakeholder groups who contributed to this achievement, which recognises the success the country has had in protecting its forests. “Guyana is the first to complete the ART process for generating high-integrity, Paris Agreement-aligned carbon credits that will allow the country to access market-based finance to continue to implement forest stewardship strategies. ART, other governments, and important stakeholder groups, especially Indigenous peoples and local communities, around the world can now build on Guyana’s experience to accelerate progress towards meeting global forest and climate goals in ways that ensure environmental and social integrity.”

Additionally, Executive Director of the ART Secretariat, Mary Grady said, “Our planet’s last intact forests are under mounting threat of irreversible, permanent loss if new approaches to protect them are not urgently supported. Without the proper financial incentives to value forests and the actions that protect them, there is no guarantee that forests in HFLD areas will remain standing in the long run. Providing a pathway that incentivises jurisdictions to keep their forests standing will create a more effective and equitable global system for forest protection and restoration.”