On Thursday the 14th of August, the first "Micro-Capital Grant Agreement" between the UNDP and the Iwokrama International Centre (IIC) has been signed, witnessed by staff of the GSI-PMU as well as the leaders of the NRDDB; the local communities organization. As such, this is the first PES contract signed with a GSI pilot site within this phase of the GSI Phase II project "Ecologically and Financially Sustainable Management of the Guiana Shield Eco-Region", mainly sponsored by the European Union. It is thanks to the combined efforts of GSI staff and related organizations in Georgetown, Oxford, Amsterdam, Wageningen and The Hague that this all came about.signing1

The formal agreement between UNDP and the IIC for payment for ecosystem services (PES), worth up to USD200,000, is complemented by a Management Plan, which details the necessary requirements for the management of the Iwokrama Programme site within the framework of the GSI project. The plan also provides operational details for sustainable resource use. IIC’s mandate as a sustainable resource utilization entity will be supported by state of the art remote sensing monitoring and “ground truthing”. Each resource use activity will be defined and monitored to ensure consistency within its defined user limits. Limits to resource exploitation will include harvest limits, seasonal restrictions, and road travel/use restrictions among many others.

The success of the plan will ensure that the ecosystem services (ES) offered to the buyer are indeed as they were advertised. Local and international monitoring utilising modern techniques such as radar imagery will be employed in the process. This plan offers additional credibility to the system as well as an independent means of verification. This type of planning will be critical to the success of the PES process. Local communities are involved and will sha{jcomments off}re benefits with the IIC.signing2

The Iwokrama pilot site was selected to be one of several Guiana Shield testing grounds for developing a financing mechanism for culturally appropriate PES scheme. This site will develop benefit sharing and management mechanisms. The site will be strictly managed and monitored to ensure the maintenance of its ecological, cultural and economic values. The increased interest in the world markets for ES is a positive driving factor for implementing PES schemes.

Click on the images to enlarge. To read more about GSI's history, please click here. And for information about the organisations that made this all possible, please click here.