Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030: What’s in store for the forestry sector?

In Guyana, the forest sector is likened to a pair of lungs. The rainforest absorbs not only carbon dioxide but many other greenhouse gases that are dangerous to people. It also houses numerous plant and animal species, stabilizes the climate and performs many other important functions.

The new Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) set out for 2030, ideally caters for enhancing economic profits, employment and other benefits that are provided by the forestry sector. Below are some of the fundamental measures that will be implemented by LCDS outlined in the draft document which is being used to conduct countrywide consultations.

LCDS 2030 will implement sustainable forest management which will allow the forest to be protected and managed suitably. For instance, applying rules and codes of practice will make room for forest resources to be used and managed carefully. The Government of Guyana will continue its support for the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), with European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU-FLEGT). THE VPA was planned for in 2009, and after six years of negotiations, it was initialled in 2018. The aim of this agreement will allow Guyana to continue to legally export wood products to the EU market.

The Government of Guyana will implement a Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), which is an extension of the present FLEGT and REDD+ initiatives. Guyana will seek out the capacities of national stakeholders to manage and audit PEFC-certified areas. This initiative will not only be in charge of PEFC certified areas but will provide solid linkages with government policies and processes that already exist.

LCDS 2030 will aim to continue increasing transparency through Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GYEITI). In doing so, the EITI reports, which were produced over the years, will continue to be produced to make known figures that are related to mineral production and exploration activities in the hydrocarbon sector. These reports will establish clear and accountable management of Guyana’s natural resources, which will strengthen the government, increase trust, and encourage and edify public debates.

The mining sector and forest sector go hand in hand, as a result, the Government of Guyana said it will seek to integrate the measures for the planning and management of these two sectors. In order to improve productivity in the mining sector and to notably lessen the rate of deforestation, the mineral mapping will be executed to locate economically exploitable mineral deposits. The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission will greatly benefit from this, since they will be able to keep their geological maps up to date, which will allow them to efficiently plan for the extraction of gold, diamond and other mineral deposits.

LCDS 2030 plans to continue building a low-carbon ecosystem by exploring options for land reclamation and reforestation in previously mined areas. The Special Land Use Committee which was launched in 2009 will be used to provide recommendations on sustainable land use.  The government, working alongside the committee will plan for rehabilitating damaged lands, which were the result of mineral mining. In 2014, a Land Reclamation Project was established, this project promotes the reclamation of small and medium-size mined-out areas. The findings of the pilot activities carried out during this project will be used to support this strategy.

The forest sector is one of the most vital sectors in Guyana, therefore, LCDS 2030 will aim to encourage sustainable forestry and low impact mining by implementing and making sure that these strategies are efficiently carried out.