PARAMARIBO - John Goedschalk, the President’s climate adviser, is proud with the approval of the REDD+ preparation plan by the World Bank. “I’m proud that the project plan is a real Surinamese product.

And I'm hopeful because the international community has understood Suriname's message and vision and has expressed its support with this approval."

The World Bank has allocated US$ 3.8 million for the preparation project, and Suriname is expected to have these funds available this year.

A delegation headed by Goedschalk, who also is in charge of the REDD+ project, has successfully presented the preparation proposal in Washington, DC. REDD+ is an international mechanism to cut CO2emissions by reducing deforestation and damage to forests. The plus stands for the financial compensation to forest-rich countries for preserving their forests. Suriname considers the REDD+ project as a planning tool for sustainable development, utilizing its forests.

In July 2012, the Office of the President restarted the process to draft the R-PP, which had started in 2009 but had ground to a halt in 2010. In order to obtain approval for the document, Suriname's delegation had to present the proposal to the World Bank. The presentation consisted of two parts, namely information about the contents and clarification of the country's position. The delegation consisted of Goedschalk, NIMOS director Cedric Nelom, Lesley Artis of the Associaiton of Indigenous Chiefs in Suriname (VIDS), Ifna Vrede of the Marronvrouwen Netwerk, Rene Somopawiro of the SBB and REDD+ team member Lisa Best. "This is just the start of a process that can make a strong contribution to Suriname's future wellbeing," Goedschalk says.

The US$ 3.8 million is intended for the implementation of the 'readiness phase,' which has been scheduled for three years. Project coordinator Jerrel Pinas calls the result of the presentation overwhelming. "This is the result of a process that started from scratch in 2008. We have been able to build on the work that was done back then." He considers the approval as one step forward. "Now we will get money for the good forest management we have been engaged in all that time."