Forest conservation, market-based mechanisms to take centre stage at COP28 – Jagdeo

With the Conference of Parties (COP28) set to commence next week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Guyana will be championing the cause for the establishment of market-based mechanisms to promote forest conservation.

The COP is the decision-making arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is responsible for evaluating and monitoring the measures implemented by the convention and the progress in achieving its objectives.

In alignment with the general focus of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on adaptation funding and funding for loss and damage, Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, said Guyana’s position will see an emphasis on global incentives for forest conversation. “Our argument to the international community is that you just can’t have funding for these initiatives, but you have to pay attention to the mechanism for getting the funds to the recipients, that it is a mechanism fit for purpose, and that it should lend to building capacity in communities themselves,” the Vice President told reporters at a press conference on Thursday (November 23, 2023) at the Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive.

Since the signing of the Norway-Guyana Partnership in 2009, the VP outlined that Guyana has crafted a modern model to ensure that funds earned through the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS2030) are being expended on priority projects, while contributing to capacity-building efforts in indigenous communities especially. The government has piloted a litany of projects and initiatives centred on forest conservation, which have yielded tremendous results.

Last year, Guyana became the first country to earn money for protecting its rainforests through the sale of its carbon credits under the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) TREES credit programme. Of the first tranche of the sale of forest carbon credits, some US$22.5 million was given to 242 Amerindian communities, while US$5 million was allocated to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), and US$122.5 million has been set aside for adaptation funding. “We’ve made the argument that forests cannot be saved by philanthropy. We’ve passed that model. It is an important abatement solution to climate change, you cannot achieve net zero without tackling a key source of emission, which is forest and land degradation, and it is not getting the required attention because forest carbon is not part of a compliance market,” VP Jagdeo explained.

The Vice President added, “There are no public funds now…at scale being dedicated to saving forests, and we don’t expect any to be made available, given how adaptation funding has fared globally. Because, it has suffered from lack of funding, so we don’t expect that public money will be going into trying to preserve forests globally, so we have to work at stimulating a market-based mechanism to do that.”

According to the VP, the government backs a five-point mechanism for achieving net-zero emissions. These measures include the removal of large polluters out of the supply chain, the incentivisation of renewable energy, demand management, use of technology, and reduction of deforestation and land degradation. “We believe that if you do all five of these things, then you can achieve net zero without pushing the world through hardships that would come out immediate displacement of fossil fuel,” the Vice President reiterated.

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