Congo learns from Guyana’s LCDS
A MINISTERIAL team from the Republic of Congo (ROC) yesterday completed the third day of a fact- finding visit on Guyana’s sustainable forestry management and the Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) with a packed programme, including a courtesy call on Agriculture Minister, Mr. Robert Persaud. “We admire the work done by Guyana on climate change issues such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and the LCDS and we are here to learn as much as we can,” Head of the visiting delegation , His Excellency, Mr. Henri Djombo told the Guyana Chronicle.
Mr. Djombo, Congo’s Minister of Sustainable Development Forest Economy and Environment, pointed out that the rainforest of the Congo basin is the second largest in the world, just after the Amazon rainforest of which Guyana is a part.
The similarity of landscape, Djombo said, meant that Guyana and the ROC have much in common and the two countries can benefit from meaningful cooperation, information sharing and learning from each other.
He said the current visit followed an invitation by President Bharat Jagdeo to ROC President Denis Sassou Nguesso when they met during the Climate Change Conference in Oslo, Norway last May.
Guyana is an acknowledged leader in the global climate change battle with its LCDS that has been hailed by international and other agencies and organizations.
‘We admire the work done by Guyana on climate change issues… and we are here to learn as much as we can’ – team leader, Minister Henri Djombo
Minister Persaud said: “We have generally been offering Guyana as a model for other countries and this visit by the ROC is the result of such invitations.”
He said the Congolese visitors have shown much interest in how Guyana is approaching sustainable forestry management and are seeking inside information on the LCDS, Guyana’s engagements with Norway, the REDD Plus programme, among other areas.
“They want to know how we have been able to integrate our sustainable forestry management practices, REDD Plus activities into a low carbon growth strategy.
“They want us to share the experiences with them in the sense that we have gone very far; we are more advanced than anybody else. They want to know how we have been able to progress , how we have been able to develop our road map, the valuation of our forestry resources ; how did we come up with the figures for this,“ the minister explained.
“In short,” he added, “the kind of background information which is absolutely necessary if you are going to negotiate on a bilateral level or on a multilateral level for financing.”
“For the team, this is more of a fact finding visit than anything else but we have identified a number of areas we can pursue -- such as supporting the ROC in developing value added for their timber sector, developing Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) systems and relationships with our indigenous communities, among others.”
The visitors, who arrived on Sunday, have been working with the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
GFC Commissioner, Mr. James Singh, yesterday said: “The first thing we did was to give them an appreciation of our forestry resources.”
“We gave them a flyover of the forest on a trip to Kaieteur Falls, so they were able to see the expanse of our forestry resources,” he said.
During yesterday’s courtesy call on Persaud, they exchanged ideas on the programmes of the two countries, and how they can collaborate and support each other more.
Singh said they also benefitted from detailed presentations by GFC staffers on Guyana’s sustainable forestry management practices, forestry monitoring systems in terms of chain of custody of forestry produce, the legalities and REDD Plus.
They also met members of the Multi Stakeholder Steering Committee and heard a presentation by Mr. Andrew Bishop, of the Office of Climate Change, who spoke on the LCDS, its four pillars and how Guyana has been able to develop a model through the process of consultation among Guyanese.
Singh said the Congolese team, including the minister’s adviser and interpreter, Mr. Bernard Eloko, is due to visit the Amerindian community of Santa Mission today where they will meet Chairperson of the National Toshaos Council, Ms. Yvonne Pearson.
He said they are expected to learn how the indigenous peoples have been able to contribute to the LCDS.
The team leaves for home Thursday, but the adviser in the REDD Secretariat in the ROC is due here today to spend more time with the GFC acquiring information which would help the country in its own LCDS/ REDD Plus programme.