UG, NASA & SERVIR-Amazonia sign MoU to support research, geospatial skills to help Guyana manage climate risks

The University of Guyana, NASA and SERVIR-Amazonia previously conducted several training
sessions which benefitted students of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences and officers of
several Governmental agencies

The University of Guyana (UG) will benefit from an inter-institutional collaboration that will strengthen the development of information services for mangrove mapping and monitoring via the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SERVIR-Amazonia and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Tuesday.

SERVIR-Amazonia, a subsidiary of SERVIR Global, is part of a joint development initiative by NASA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The MoU will remain in effect until December 20 of 2023.

With the signing of the MoU, UG and the partners will prepare the nation’s Geospatial Scientists for the monitoring of Guyana’s ecosystems which will be enhanced via academic research. The partnership will result also in the monitoring and evaluation of mangroves in Guyana using the latest geospatial technologies and satellite imagery to map the extent and structure of mangrove forests along the coastland.

This will allow for both the Government of Guyana (GoG) and Civil Society actors to better analyze mangrove-related land-use changes and act on hotspots of deforestation to stop them on time.

The data retrieved will allow for better land-use planning, policy-making and actions that protect mangroves from being converted to other land uses, as well as to plan mangrove protection efforts for farmers in low-lying coastal regions.

UG will participate in the co-development of the mangrove monitoring platform, and support the validation of data products with field data. It will also engage in workshops and training events led by SERVIR-Amazonia and its partners, and participate in activities related to the methodological development to monitor mangrove forests along Guyana’s Coast.

The signing of the MoU is the culmination of a series of workshops over the last 18 months led by NASA scientists and those from UG’s Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences (FEES) and Centre for Study for Biological Diversity (CSBD) which included over 15 GoG entities.

Dr Temitope Oyedotun, Dean of UG’s FEES, who spearheaded the project, thanked all partners for their unwavering support in sharing knowledge and technology. He said the project was conceptualized with a conversation in 2018 and he is pleased that it has blossomed into one that will benefit not only the University but also, the people of Guyana and the Caribbean.

The Agreement was signed by the Professor Paloma Mohamed Martin, Vice-Chancellor Xi, University of Guyana and Mr. Jesús Quintana, Managing Director for the Americas of the Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and attended by senior officials of UG and representatives of NASA and USAID.
In her remarks, Professor Mohamed said the University is aligned with Guyana’s goal as an environmentally responsible State. She said the signing of the MoU with SERVIR-Amazonia and partners is part of a response to improve the use of geospatial data and information.

The Vice Chancellor said too that via the historic signing of the agreement, the research conducted will assist the University with the development of its Human Resiliency Systems programme, its new Geosciences programme, and Data Sciences programme now in its developmental stage.

Similarly, Mr. Jesús Quintana celebrated this important milestone: “The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT works on landscape and biodiversity conservation, as well is on digital inclusion. Based on our joint research we can collectively innovate and design better policies to confront the challenges the Amazon basin faces.”