$1.4B approved to boost forestry, mining sectors

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Junior Minister of Natural Resources Simona Broomes

IN 2019 the Ministry of Natural Resources will utilise some $1.4B to continue a number of projects targeting development and ‘green’ transformation in areas such as mining and forestry.
The provisions allotted for these and more were approved in the Committee of Supply of the National Assembly during consideration of the budgetary estimates for 2019 on Tuesday.

Two of the projects on which Junior Minister of Natural Resources Simona Broomes expounded were the ongoing Forest Carbon Partnership Project (FCPP) and the Forest Inventory Study.
The FCPP is a framework for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+-) and, with an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) $400M allocation, will work to advance Guyana in this regard.

In detail, the project will preserve and sustainably manage the country’s forests while enhancing forest carbon stocks, thereby adding value to standing forests and enabling Guyana to access future REDD+ funding, through performance-based payments.
It will also facilitate the establishment of the function of the REDD Secretariat and provide institution-strengthening and capacity-building for the National REDD Working Group (NRWG) inclusive of Guyana’s National Toshaos Council (NTC) and Indigenous Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Meanwhile, $35M has been allocated to procure additional equipment to continue the Forest Inventory Study which Broomes said will be used to purchase computer systems, a vehicle, an ATV motorbike and other items.

Challenged by opposition Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall on the allocation for this cause, she defended the decision. “The equipment [is] for this same study, because in order to execute this study,” she explained, “they have to go into the field; they have to get the Geographic Information System and all of this. The study, honourable member, is not a study that will be done in Georgetown; it is something that has field activities, so we have to complement them.” She told the committee that 100 per cent of the 2018 phase is complete, which represents 30 per cent of the entire project.

Speaking on phase two, she said that $244M will be allocated directly to this. “We’ll be looking at zoning of the forest, meaning that the forest commission will be going to look at all types of species that we have; where they are, even with the wildlife and how do we zone them. So, it’s an extensive project; very robust, but it’s about tagging and labelling,” she said.