Transparency and accountability are key issues in the forest preservation deal between Guyana and Norway with this country required to take action in this regard before any money is disbursed.
Guyana and Norway on Monday inked an agreement that will see Oslo paying US$30 million ($6.2 billion) next year and potentially up to a total of US$250 million ($51.7 billion) by 2015 for this country to preserve its forests. Under the partnership, Guyana will accelerate its efforts to limit forest-based greenhouse gas emissions and protect its rainforest as an asset for the world. Norway will provide financial support to Guyana at a level based on this country’s success in limiting emissions. This will enable Guyana to start implementing its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) at scale.
However, before any money is disbursed Guyana will have to take formal steps to establish independent forest monitoring by a credible, independent entity. Additionally, it will have to show evidence of entering a formal dialogue with the European Union with the intent of joining its Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) processes towards a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Government also has to show evidence of its decision to enter a formal dialogue with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) or an alternative mechanism agreed by Guyana and Norway to further the same aim as EITI.
It was emphasized that financial support will be linked to Guyana’s success in limiting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and establishing institutions and practices to strengthen Guyana’s ability to reduce deforestation and forest degradation through the adoption and implementation of a REDD+ governance development plan (RGDP). The Plan will address several key issues. The concept of REDD+ refers to forest countries being paid to preserve their forests. REDD refers to reducing deforestation from deforestation and forest degradation.
According to the Joint Concept Note on the agreement, transparency and accountability are key to success in any REDD+ effort. In the governance development plan, REDD+ relevant decisions and data should be publicly available, it says adding that Guyana recognizes the need to demonstrate international standards, and therefore aims to implement a system for Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM).
The Plan has to include several other points including the development of a system for reporting on the multiple benefits of REDD+, including on measures to protect biological diversity, improved livelihoods, good governance, and how the Constitutional protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities are facilitated within the framework of Guyana’s REDD+ efforts.
Additional requirements are the development of a national, inter-sectoral, land use planning system; the development of valuation systems for determining the costs and benefits of different alternatives and courses of action on the forest resource; a strengthened forest monitoring and control system, focusing on all significant drivers of deforestation and degradation, including logging, mining and agriculture activities on forest lands; and establishment of criteria for identifying priority areas for biodiversity within Guyana’s forests, to inform the overall land use planning system and especially the REDD-plus component of the LCDS. Read more..........