MoU paves way for sustainable growth in forestry sector

In conjunction with International Day of Forests 2024, the World Wildlife Fund-Guianas and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support the growth of Guyana’s forestry sector.

The MoU was officially presented during a ceremony at the Yarrowkabra Forestry Training Centre, Soesdyke, on Thursday.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat

It falls under the European Union (EU)- funded Sustainable Forest Livelihoods for Communities of Guyana project. This $1.1 billion project aims to maintain healthy forests and natural resources by strengthening sustainable local community development.

The MoU will see a suite of initiatives to support training, and the procurement of equipment to facilitate it.

Notably, this MoU also allows for financial support to be directed to the Yarrowkabra Forestry Training School.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat commended the diligent work of the GFC in boosting the forestry sector.

He expressed gratitude to the EU for this commitment, highlighting the vast potential that the training centre holds in impacting the sector.

“I’m thankful to the EU and the commitment made to upgrade this facility, because there is so much more that we can do here,” the minister said.

Recently, the Yarrowkabra training centre also benefitted from a new seedling station to aid reforestation efforts.

The minister made it clear that the country’s traditional sectors are alive and thriving. According to Minister Bharrat, the government’s investments coupled with strategic partnerships continue to position these sectors to reach greater heights.

“The criticism is that everybody is gravitating to the oil and gas sector. That is not true. Approximately 6,000 Guyanese are employed in the oil and gas sector today. Even when we start producing 1.2 billion barrels of oil by 2027, the oil and gas sector will never employ the amount of people that are employed by the Guyana Forestry Commission, because it is designed that way. That is why as a government, we need to ensure that we continue to incentivise the traditional sectors, and continue to grow the traditional sectors,”

As forests form a critical component of Guyana’s ecosystem, the natural resources minister emphasised that the preservation of this asset remains a top priority of the government.

EU Ambassador to Guyana, Rene van Nes

Meanwhile, in his remarks, EU Ambassador to Guyana, Rene van Nes, said that the MoU signals more concrete action to build out a forestry sector that supports both sustainability and economic growth.

“Under this programme, we will now start supporting forested communities in making business plans, with training, in reducing impact logging…and all other aspects relevant to running viable businesses. This includes procuring forest management tools such as GPS devices…in addition to providing financial support to the Yarrowkabra training centre,” he explained.

Also present at the ceremony were the British High Commissioner to Guyana, H.E Jane Miller, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Yesim Oruc, other members of the diplomatic corps, officials and staff of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Guyana Forestry Commission, and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.

This year, International Day of the Forests is being observed under the theme: Forests and Innovation: New Solutions for a better World.

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