Guyana signs pact to protect Amazon forest


Raphael Trotman

Guyana joined six fellow Amazonian countries last Friday in Letecia, Colombia to sign a pact to protect the world’s largest tropical forest.

Signed at a time when the Amazon is under threat from fires, the pact aims to coordinate disaster response and satellite monitoring, the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana said. Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, signed on behalf of Guyana.

Colombia’s President, Ivan Duque; Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales; Ecuador’s President, Lenin Moreno and Peru’s President, Martin Vizcarra were the Heads of State who signed. Suriname’s Vice-President, Michael Ashwin Adhin, and Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Ernesto Araujo, signed the pact on behalf of their respective countries.

Trotman, in delivering a message on behalf of President Granger, reiterated that, “our President is the visionary who conceptualised the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) for Guyana – it is our lighted path towards attaining a ‘green’ and sustainable economy and is open to be shared and improved upon.”

“An inferno in the Amazon, two-thirds of which is in Brazil, and the reason for us being here, threatens the rainforest eco-system and also affects the entire globe,” Minister Trotman related. “The effects of damage to the Amazon go far beyond Brazil and its neighbours. We are the lungs of the earth, we must all breathe to live. Therefore, our presence here is in recognition of the value and importance of the Amazon, and the Guiana Shield, and our role as custodians, stewards and guardians of it,” Minister Trotman asserted.

The world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, which produces approximately 20 per cent of earth’s oxygen and spans eight countries, Guyana included, covers 40 per cent of South America, and is inhabited by 30 million people and, is home as well to vast numbers of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, most of them, unique to the region and where a new plant or animal species is discovered every two days.

More particularly, Guyana is part of the Guiana Shield, which, in the words of President Granger, “is the single most important zone of biodiversity in the world today.”

Trotman reminded the forum that Guyana committed 371,000 hectares of its pristine rainforest, Iwokrama, to the Commonwealth in 1989 in Kuala Lumpur at a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. “Then, we sought to advance the sustainable management of tropical rainforest. We believe this remains a good model for sustainability. His Excellency, President Granger has pledged another two million hectares to conservation.”