Congo’s Minister of Environment here to study Guyana’s LCDS
Guyana’s efforts to draw attention to the value of standing forests in the climate change arena is drawing attention from peer countries facing similar challenges.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo which is home to the Congo Basin has sent a representative of their Government to study Guyana’s forest management practices and policies. The Basin is the second largest standing rainforest after the Amazon Basin and the residents and government of that country are dealing with many of the issues that are facing Guyana as a result of Climate Change and its effects.
The visit by Mr. Henri Djombo, Minister of Sustainable Development, Forest Economy and the Environment from the Congo came about after President Jagdeo issued an invitation to President Joseph Kabila while they were in Norway.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud who met with Djombo yesterday morning, the President has always made it clear that Guyana has been looking at climate change responses in the context of model building as well as application.
Persaud noted that pertinent areas of the programmes look at the balance being struck between resource utilization, conservation and sustainable management. The Government’s interactions with people who are dependent on forest resources are also points of focus as well. The Congo also has to face these challenges as well, they have a much bigger forested area however, but the premise remains the same. Persaud noted that the Government of Guyana is ready and willing to share what they have learnt with the Congo.
Persaud points out that the two countries share similar outlooks on forest in the mitigation of climate change and recognition of the need for compensation for these forests. Guyana’s model he notes has garnered a large amount of recognition internationally, especially from large donors such as Norway and Britain, and he is pleased that the Congo shares this outlook.
Another area that will come up for discussion is that of value added in the timber sector. Minister Djombo, he notes, has expressed interest in the use of timber in the construction of housing.
Minister Djombo for whom this is the first visit to Guyana noted that this country has one of the lowest deforestation rates of all the rainforest countries of the world. He said that the global debate on climate change is playing an important role in shaping the practices employed in the management of forests and the links between the two countries will help in the sharing experiences and supporting common positions during climate change negotiations. The goal, he said, is to get to a position that will see the role of forest being well recognized and as a consequence resources will be put in place to support countries who are sustainably managing their forests.
The Minister went on to speak of those First World nations that are encouraging the countries that are polluting to continue doing so and even giving resources to those who are destroying their forests so that they can stop. “Meanwhile”, he said, “they say to those countries who have not destroyed their forests and are managing their resources responsibly, ‘It’s okay … you don’t deserve any resources.’”
He said that the two countries need to work together so that there may be a “kind of justice”. Minister Djombo called on Persaud to follow up with a visit of his own to the Congo to discover some of the realities and practices used there.
The Minister will meet with a number of Government officials here in Guyana and then he leaves for the Congo on July 22. However other officials that accompanied him will remain here to learn more about the LCDS and other areas of interest.