Georgetown, Guyana – (March 7, 2019) Officials from the Smithsonian Institution, today, met with Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon at his office at the Ministry of the Presidency, with a view of expanding collaboration in a number of areas including marine and biodiversity studies.
Head of the delegation, Research Scientist, Mr. Michael Braun in an invited comment, said that the meeting began with discussions “on the long-term investment in research and exploration here in Guyana that the Smithsonian has been involved in for more than 30 years. Our goal with this particular meeting is to explore with the Government, the opportunities for using those long-term resources and data and information to help inform policy making for the future of Guyana in terms of sustainable development, conservation, sustainable livelihoods for both the people in the hinterland and the coastland.”
In welcoming the team, which has already conducted numerous studies and research in Guyana, Minister Harmon said that it is his hope that the organisation can place some focus on the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development (IICRCD), where the Government foresees an international biodiversity centre being built.
“The Centre itself was meant to have two layers of development. One is tourism but it’s the biodiversity aspect that needs that filling. The Centre was meant to be a centre of international research and for students to come and study in an environment that is still pristine. Iwokrama is an area in which your entity can have a great impact in whatever you plan to do going forward. We continue to cherish the support that we have always gotten from you,” he said.
Head of the Department of the Environment, Ms. Ndibi Schwiers, who also attended the meeting, said that while Guyana is pursuing a ‘green’ state and protection of its biodiversity, there is no available data on the extent of its marine resources. She therefore noted that the Government can use its expertise in the research and documentation of its resources in this area.
In addition to assisting with work on the Stabroek Market clock, the Smithsonian Institution has assisted the University of Guyana (UG) in the area of research as well as the documentation of the rare Red Siskin bird in Guyana.
Mr. Braun was accompanied by Mr. Steven Carty, Programme Coordinator, Marine Conservation Programme and Mr. Brian Coyle, Programme Manager, Smithsonian Conservation Common.