The Guiana Shield Facility (GSF) being 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 operationalized its delivery mechanism through the issue of grants to project beneficiaries in support of REDD+ readiness activities in 2012.

The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) was appointed the focal agency in Guyana for the GSF by the Government of Guyana, recognizing the contribution the GSF can make to the development of the national Monitoring Reporting and Verification System (MRVS).

Consequently, the GFC was tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the process to develop and implement the national REDD+ Strategy, including the national MRVS, as well as readiness activities under the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).

The twenty four (24) months project titled "Strengthening of Guyana's Technical Capacity to Implement MRVS & Other REDD+ Related Activities", was recommended by the Regional Advisory Board of the GSF and approved by UNDP on 26th July 2012. The project budget was USD 539, 000 of which the GSF's approved contribution was USD 490, 000. The project was designed to implement the following four (4) components:

  1. Development of National Reference Level for REDD+
  2. Consultations on development of the National MRVS
  3. Exploration of Co-benefits under the MRVS
  4. Development of national REDD+ Strategies

gfc-201411-1

It is against this backdrop that the project was completed in July, 2014 with a number of significant achievements recorded.


Development of National Reference Level for REDD+

gfc-201411-2The Guyana Reference Level was developed in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) guidelines. Initially, a proposal was prepared and submitted to the UNFCCC which addressed a number of areas including the UNFCCC modalities to inform Guyana's Reference Level. Discussions on setting Guyana's Reference Level and defining the reference period for historical analysis were also held and the GFC was engaged in an in-depth analytical approach to establish scenarios to estimate what the rate of deforestation would be in the absence of financial incentives of REDD+.

A workshop was held on August 29, 2013 to provide stakeholders with an overview of the relevance of Reference Levels for REDD+ and to report on the progress Guyana made up to that point.


Consultations on development of the National MRVS

National consultations and outreach activities on development of the National MRVS were executed with the intent to improve understanding of the concept of REDD+ and the MRVS, the roles that different stakeholder will play as well as the benefits, risks and challenges that arise from the development and implementation of a REDD+ Strategy and the MRVS.

A total of five hundred and ninety one (591) persons attended the workshops hosted by the GFC which allowed for inputs and addressed issues and concerns raised by stakeholders on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), REDD+, Guyana's engagement with the FCPF, MRVS and EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).

Twelve (12) workshops were held during the period April to June, 2013. One each was conducted in Mabaruma, Kwebana, Santa Rosa, Anna Regina, Parika, Annai, Kwakwani, Linden, Kamarang, Soesdyke and two in Georgetown.

Six additional workshops were held over the period February to March, 2014 targeting Port Kaituma, Canal Bank, Wauna, Batavia, Agatash and Bartica.

gfc-201411-4Facilitator presenting REDD+ 

gfc-201411-5Participants at the Mabaruma Cluster


 

Exploration of Co-benefits under the MRVS

gfc-201411-3The GFC's capacity to measure and monitor the effects of deforestation and forest degradation with considerations for both carbon and non-carbon components of the forest is sustained through capacity building and development. Specifically, the GFC focused on fresh water as an ecosystem service and how to integrate a monitoring system into the MRVS.

Subsequently, a technical report on identification of Non-Carbon Ecosystem Services for integration into Guyana's National MRVS was also compiled. The report examined the feasibility of the methodologies for establishing baselines and for monitoring of ecosystem services beyond forest carbon. It also presented recommendations for next steps on how quantification of baseline for these services could be established.

Moreover, a workshop on the environment co-benefit of forest carbon and water quality was hosted in December, 2013 to obtain stakeholders inputs and recommendations for improving the baseline and establishing a system for monitoring and reporting water quality. This formed the basis for a technical report on incorporating water quality as a co-benefit of Guyana's REDD+ Framework. The report sought to assess the requirements for establishing a water quality monitoring system in coordination with the national MRVS for REDD+ and provided a preliminary assessment of baseline water quality parameters in Guyana.


Development of National REDD+ Strategies

The National REDD+ Strategy was developed. This entailed special studies, consultations, demonstration projects and community programmes conducted to develop a list of potential REDD+ candidate activities. It also saw the active involvement of relevant stakeholders in the development of REDD+ strategies.

A report on Guyana's REDD+ Strategy options was formulated to present an assessment of the drivers of deforestation, analyze and evaluate the impact of the candidate activities against the strategy objectives and outline proposed strategy options.

Moreover, stakeholder sessions on exploratory activity in scoping key elements of National REDD+ Strategy were held on November 28-29, 2013 targeting Government, NGOs and Academia, IP Groups and Civil Society Organisations.

Some key outcomes of work on Development of National REDD+ Strategies are:

  1. The development of the national REDD+ Strategies took guidance from the strategic and programmatic direction of the LCDS, and sought to explore feasible REDD+ Strategies for addressing forest area change in Guyana, with intent on maintaining a low rate of deforestation and forest degradation.
  2. The work on the REDD Strategy therefore, and the exploration of REDD Strategy Options, serves to support implementation of the LCDS, and reinforce its guiding principles. It will in no way duplicate the broad thematic areas under implementation in the LCDS.
  3. The process of selection of feasible REDD+ Strategy options involved consultation with key stakeholders, during which time the stakeholders were able to identify and analyse relevant impacts of drivers and activities.
  4. The formulation of options focused on the assessment of the drivers of deforestation based on feedback from stakeholder sessions, identification of candidate activities or options to address the underlying reasons or indirect drivers while also outlining possible implementation pathway for these options, Evaluation of the impact of the candidate activities against strategy objectives and outlining proposed strategy options.
  5. To assess the feasibility of the REDD+ Strategy options that were selected, a Cost Benefit Analysis was conducted and used as a decision tool to ensure the implementation of the Strategy Options make a positive contribution to the country. Through quantifying the likely costs and benefits, and discounting, it was possible to analyse the net benefits or net costs of the proposals in today's values.
  6. The completion of work under this project has allowed for progress to be made under Guyana's R-PP, of which a component details the development of a REDD+ Strategy for Guyana.

The project was overseen by the National Multi Stakeholder Steering Committee (NMSSC) of the GSF. The NMSSC, comprised representation of a number of key government and non-government bodies involved in the implementation of REDD+ in Guyana, provided technical oversight for the project, including in the review of deliverables of the project.


Capacity building

There is now enhanced capacity within the REDD+ Secretariat in developing and quantifying many of the key elements of the monitoring programmes in relation to the implementation of Guyana's MRVS. Capacities have been built in the technical areas such as the development of a reference level for Guyana, the use of modelling for freshwater, as well as in the wider area of co-benefits for REDD+. The broad scope of work being conducted in the area of REDD+ by the GFC is required to follow IPCC and UNFCCC guidelines as the main authority for prescribing best practice in this area of work. The capacity built through this project has allowed the MRVS and related aspects to be closely aligned with these best practice standards.

According to the GFC, the outputs of this project are sustainable in the long term as they embrace the national priorities of Guyana and are in keeping with the LCDS objectives and goals. Further, the main areas of REDD+ developed by the GFC have been integrated into the core work of the Commission and therefore forms a permanent part of the work Programme of the GFC. In so doing, REDD+ has been designed to contribute to the main area of mandate of the GFC which is sustainable management of forests for forest goods and services (in both carbon and non-carbon areas).

As such, Guyana is well positioned to implement MRVS and other REDD+ Related Activities with the successful implementation and execution of the project.