Guyana joins the world to observe World Environment Day under the theme ‘Ecosystem Restoration’.  Guyana has been in the forefront of protecting the environment, and our country remains one of the most densely forested in the world, with intact flora and fauna. We have several hotspots with rich biodiversity supported by protected areas systems.

As we continue to protect our environment whilst expanding economic opportunities for our people, in this process, my Government will be guided by the revised Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The revised strategy will expand into environmental services, water resources management, climate resilience, biodiversity, and marine economy.

As a testament to my Government’s landmark agreement with Norway, we have seen forest-carbon related payments for avoiding deforestation and other degradative activities as a tool for determining the economic value of our ecosystems and biodiversity. The establishment of an International Centre of Excellence for Biological Diversity with the objective of promoting cutting edge research and development and exporting educational services is also underway. Even our National System of Protected Areas is also being strengthened and expanded in accordance with international standards of environmental integrity.

My Government has established a national strategy for mangrove protection and restoration along our coastline and rivers, which builds on our existing work, such as the National Mangrove Management Plan and Restoration and Management Programmes initiated by previous PPP/C Governments.  Guyana continues to build international partnerships, which includes being a signatory to various Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), including the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the three Rio Conventions: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD); and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 

Most notably, my Government has signed the Leaders Pledge for Terrestrial Protected Areas and the Marine Protected Areas joining in solidarity with the UK government and many other countries around the world and in our region, all of whom will be represented at this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP 26). Our Government, in March 2021, has signed on to the proposed Amazon Bioeconomy Fund. This proposal includes our South American partners who share coverage of one of the largest and, sadly, most under threat forest in the world, the majestic Amazon Rainforest. This initiative is an important contribution to kick-start a change of entrenched behaviours to create the foundation for markets that value the fundamental role of natural capital in the business, highlighting biodiversity as an important element of economic success.

As we continue to celebrate nature for World Environment Day, I wish to use this opportunity to call on all Guyanese to be positively involved as Guyana is on the cusp of upward development to lead by example for all nations.