–and funding community-led conservation projects
THE ExxonMobil Foundation announced Monday it will be entering into a new partnership, to the tune of US$10M over the next five years, with Conservation International (CI) and the University of Guyana (UG).
The money, the company said in a press statement, will be used to train locals for sustainable job opportunities and to expand community-supported conservation.
It is also intended to support the government’s ‘Green State’ Development Plan, a 15-year programme that is aimed at, among other things, diversifying the economy and balancing economic growth with sustainable management and conservation of the country’s ecosystems. Part of the money, Exxon said, will initially be used to fund a feasibility study led by CI through its affiliate, Conservation International Guyana (CIG), to further define the details of the programme.
Once the programme is defined, CIG and the University of Guyana will deliver the education, training, research and retention programmes that will help ensure that economic growth reinforces Guyana’s environmental development goals, the company added.
The investment is also intended to expand conservation areas in the Rupununi Wetlands, aid mangrove restoration and its management, support the work of UG’s Greening Research and Innovation Centres and support improvements to community-based fishing on Guyana’s coast, a sector the Government of Guyana has identified as critically important to the wellbeing of the Guyanese people.
According to Kevin Murphy, President of the ExxonMobil Foundation, “This partnership will support the highest conservation priorities for the country, as well as education and training for sustainable employment.
“It reinforces the government’s objectives as outlined in its ‘Green-State Development Strategy’, and demonstrates the value we place on our long-term relationship with the citizens of Guyana.”
Jennifer Morris, President of CI, couldn’t agree more, as she sees Guyana as standing at a critical crossroad in its development.
She believes that by investing in both people and nature, this proposed new partnership with Exxon will play an important part in helping Guyana execute its vision for a ‘green’ future.
Professor Nigel Harris, Chairman of the University of Guyana Council said, “A central feature of Guyana’s development plans is it’s ‘Green-State Development Strategy’, which envisions a commitment to a ‘green’ economy, sustainable development and protection of its forests and fresh-water resources aligned with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”
Funding support for a collaborative effort between Guyana’s leading university, Conservation International and ExxonMobil Foundation promises a critical opportunity to build relevant teaching, research and outreach capacity at our university that is necessary to underpin Guyana’s 2030 Vision for an inclusive, ‘green’ and prosperous state.
At this stage, Conservation International anticipates that training will be focused on environmental innovation and sustainability, and on entrepreneurship in nature-based sectors.
Conservation International will tap its partnerships with key international universities, such as Arizona State University in the United States to help develop the programmes.
Conservation International is the grantee and the University of Guyana a key beneficiary. CI with over 20 years’ experience in Guyana, will take the lead in managing project objectives and implementation, including success measures as well as financial and reporting requirements of the multi-year partnership.
The organisation has been working in Guyana with over 50 communities to protect nearly three million acres of indigenous lands, while also improving livelihoods.
ExxonMobil has also placed emphasis on supporting local priorities, including business and employment opportunities as well as broader community programs in Guyana.
The company has spent about US$39M to date with local suppliers in Guyana through 2017 and first quarter of 2018.
Approximately 68 per cent of ExxonMobil’s current in-country employees are Guyanese.