Future of Iwokrama under threat

-- Guyana tells UN General Assembly

`The battle against climate change cannot be won unless a truly global effort is made to save the planet’ – Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally

FOREIGN Minister Rudy Insanally yesterday informed the United Nations General Assembly in New York that Guyana’s ambitious Iwokrama Rainforest Centre for Conservation and Development is threatened because international financial support is drying up.

He said Guyana fully understood and responded to the challenges of climate change more than a decade ago when it made almost one million acres of its pristine forest in the Iwokrama region in the south for study of bio-diversity and sustainable development.

He said that while international financial support for the Iwokrama project has “become increasingly scarce”, the Kyoto Protocol “quite perversely” rewards “those who burn and pillage their resources but punish others like Guyana who are committed to preserving their standing forests.”

“This inequity should no longer be tolerated”, Insanally declared and said any post-Kyoto Agreement must be endowed with the resources necessary for its full implementation.

He said development assistance statistics have shown a “marked diminution in levels from past years with little promise of any additional or new financing needed for environment-related projects.”

Insanally suggested a `Partnership of Additonality’ which, in return for a commitment by countries to the preservation of the environment, will provide “adequate and predictable” financing to allow them to pursue a path of accelerated and sustainable development.

“It is high time to honour the commitments given at the Monterrey Conference on the financing of development”, he declared.

The Guyana Foreign Minister told the UN General Assembly in New York that the disastrous flood which hit the Guyana coast in 2005 “impels us to renew our call for the strengthening of multilateral facilities to provide all victims of such natural disasters with prompt and adequate relief.”

“We have also been alarmed by a recent report of the United Nations Panel on Climate Change which warns against the disastrous effects that global warming is likely to have on our hemisphere, including the probable collapse of the Amazon eco-system within forty years and increased tropical storms in the Caribbean.”

Insanally said Guyana has accordingly formulated an ambitious energy policy “aimed at reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and developing alternative possibilities such as sugar based ethanol and hydro-power.”

“Equally important”, he said, “we are committed to a sensible policy of conservation through good practices and the use of energy-saving techniques.”

“In these various ways we hope to play a meaningful part in the campaign to preserve the earth from the ravages of climate change…”

“The battle against climate change cannot be won unless a truly global effort is made to save the planet”, he urged.{jcomments off}