dr patrick chesney

Dr. Patrick Chesney is a family-oriented, dedicated and effective professional who has consistently employed a human rights based approach to human development and nature conservation. He is renowned for his work in the Guiana Shield having birthed the Guiana Shield Facility (GSF) for the promotion of, and delivery of support to, the conservation and sustainable development of the Guiana Shield ecoregion, one of three ecoregions of the Amazon biome. The work of this eco-regional platform (GSF) has been recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity, the European Parliament (E-013974/2013) and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO 2017; ISBN 978-85-61873-09-7. Dr. Chesney has more than 28 years of experience working in the fields of agricultural science, environment and human development. Currently, he is the Project Coordinator for the Capacity Building for Multilateral Environmental Agreements for African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries Programme at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. He has worked as a senior national staff with the United Nations Development Programme (2007-2017), Conservation International - Guyana (2005-2007) and the National Agricultural Research Institute (1990-2005). He is a graduate of the Guyana School of Agriculture (Diploma in Agriculture, 1984), University of Guyana (B.Sc. Agriculture, 1990), University of Puerto Rico (M.Sc. Horticulture, 1994) and Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica (Ph.D. Agroforestry, 2000). He also attended the University of Göttingen (1997-1998) as part of the PhD sandwich programme with CATIE. Dr. Chesney was the GRULAC nominee for co-Chair of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework Open-Ended Working Group, nominee for the Tällberg Foundation Global Leadership Prize in 2016, a recipient of two grants for young scientists from the International Foundation for Science (1999 and 2003), and a recipient of the Guyana Ministry of Agriculture Prize for outstanding contribution to agriculture as Worker Professional in 1996. He is a member of the International Society for Horticultural Science and the Caribbean Academy of Science. Dr. Chesney is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Guyana Protected Areas Trust; a Member of the Iwokrama Science Committee and Guyana representative on the Board of Governors for the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. He is a part-time Lecturer at the University of Guyana (UG), and member of the PhD Biodiversity Management Committee. Dr. Chesney is the author of several published scientific papers in peer reviewed books and journals, and a reviewer for the Agroforestry Science journal.

logoiucnnl smlThe IUCN World Conservation Union is the world’s largest nature conservation organisation. Its mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN NL) has been actively involved in the first two phases of the Guiana Shield Initiative (GSI), which preceded the GSF. The GSI project was initially conceived at the Amazonia- Europe Roundtable, organized by the European Working Group on Amazonia, held in the European Parliament in November 1993. The idea of managing the Guiana Shield eco-region as such was put forward at this meeting. The IUCN NL served as the seat of the GSI up to 2006.

The GSI Phase I proposal was submitted by the NC-IUCN (now IUCN NL) and a contract signed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 30 November, 2000. GSI Phase I (2000-2004) focused on: identification of priorities; exploration of possible financial mechanisms; information, education, research into markets; and outlining a monitoring system. In 2007 during GSI Phase II (2006-2010), the UNDP contracted IUCN NL to act as the Guiana Shield Secretariat, to assist setting up the Pilot Projects and to deliver technical and advisory services to the management of the Project. As an integral part of the GSI Project Management Unit, the IUCN NL also provided input on planning and managing the project. The IUCN NL also contributed as a donor in the GSI Phase II project. Through its Small Grants Programme, projects of local organizations within the Guiana Shield Eco-Region that link ecosystem conservation and poverty issues were sponsored. Phase II focused on piloting payment for ecosystem services and developing the administrative, financial and policy framework for the conservation and sustainable development of the Guiana Shield ecoregion.

For the ongoing GSF project (2010-2014), the IUCN NL IUCN NL remains the (founder and) owner of the GSI website, its address and domain name www.guianashield.org, whereby IUCN NL is recognized by UNDP Guyana and the GSF to be the founder and owner of the GSI. IUCN NL has provided the GSF ownership over a dedicated part of the GSI website, specifically reserved for the GSF, sharing the domain name of www.guianashield.org with the GSI website.

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Regional Advisory Board (RAB)

The Regional Advisory Board (RAB) is a non-voting body that provides strategic directions on the operations of the GSF. In addition the Forum reviews the progress being achieved, as well as identifying priorities and strategic directions for regional activities. The members of the RAB consist of representatives from each National Multi-Sector Steering Committee (NMSSC), UNDP and the community of donors and investors in total not exceeding 12 members (indicative).


The first meeting of the RAB was held on August 17, 2011 in Belem, Brazil. (Click on photo for gallery of the meeting)

Signing of GSF Resolutions for the conse...
Signing of GSF Resolutions for the conse...
Signing of GSF Resolutions for the conse...
Signing of GSF Resolutions for the conse...

The second Regional Advisory Board (RAB) was held from 13-14 June, 2013 in Bogota, Colombia. Click here to view photos.

RAB Meeting III
RAB Meeting III
RAB Meeting III
RAB Meeting III

The third Regional Advisory Board (RAB) was held from 25-26 September, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil. Click here to view photos.

Name of RAB Member Country Affiliation Date of Appointment
Antonio de Carvalho Brazil (Amapá) SETEC 6 February 2012
Rodrigo Suàrez Colombia Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development 25th September, 2014
Denis Girou French Guiana DEAL 21 February 2013
Pradeepa Bholanauth Guyana GFC 2 February 2012
Gwendolyn Smith Suriname Ministry of Foreign Affairs 27th February, 2014
Peter De Koening The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1st March, 2014
Matilde Mordt Panama RBLAC, UNDP 25th September, 2014
Khadija Musa Guyana UNDP 12th June, 2014
Chisa Mikami Guyana UNDP 17 August 2011
Dominiek Plouvier Suriname WWF Guianas 25th September, 2014


National Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee (NMSSC)

In every country that makes up the Guiana Shield eco-region a National Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee (NMSSC) or an equivalent body is to be set up in consultation with the respective Governments. The Forum is a non-voting body and work by consensus all within the limits and scope referred to in the present GSF Description of the Action.

The main responsibilities of the NMSSC among others are to prepare input for the RAB on strategic directions related to operations of the GSF and to the process of embedding the GSF in the region. In addition, the NMSSC serve as a platform for exchange of experiences and lessons learnt, good practice.

Each NMSSC should consist of representatives from Government, civil society, UNDP and the donor community.

The Guiana Shield Facility (GSF) is a multi-donor funding facility for the long-term financing of national and regional activities to conserve ecosystems, protect biodiversity, and to sustain human livelihoods within the Guiana Shield eco-region.

Read more: About GSF

Why is it so important?

The Guiana Shield region covers 2.5 million km2. It extends from Colombia in the west to the Brazilian state of Amapá in the east, including the Venezuelan states of Delta Amacuro, Bolívar and Amazonas, all of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, and continuing into the Brazilian States of Pará, Roraima and Amazonas.

Read more: Why Is it so important?