GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- A real time evaluation report on Norway’s international climate and forest initiative with countries including Guyana, which summarizes its partnership support under this programme over the period 2007-2013, was released on Monday.
provides insights into the successes and areas for improvement/ strengthening across various partnerships on forest and climate that the government of Norway has engaged.
This evaluation was conducted by an expert team contracted independently by the government of Norway to assess the effectiveness of Norway’s partnership on forest and climate change with key partner countries (of which Guyana is one) and agencies.
Overall Positive Results in Guyana Model on REDD+ and LCDS
This report points to an overall positive performance of Guyana in key technical areas of REDD+ and highlights the exemplary work done by Guyana in developing a system for monitoring, reporting and verification for forest and REDD+.
These findings have come in the face of growing criticisms on monitoring of Guyana’s forest for sustainable development.
The findings also serve as a further endorsement of the exemplary systems that have been in place in Guyana for over three years and which provide a solid basis for the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) positions expressed that sought to address the misrepresentations in the local media on the management of Guyana’s forests.
Three Independent Verifications of Forests in Guyana
The evaluation report also praises the extensive efforts that have been extended by Guyana and the GFC in opening up national systems for independent third party scrutiny. At the GFC’s Press Conference on Monday the questions was posed to the GFC on whether independent verification and audits were being conducted on Guyana’s forestry systems. Although clarification was provided by the GFC, the publication of this evaluation report provides further evidence of yet another audit that the GFC has facilitated on forestry and its programme of work.
The evaluation report notes that the Guyana-Norway partnership has been highly successful at developing a national-level monitoring, reporting and verification system, and reasonably successful at developing a financial mechanism for REDD+ payments. The system has now successfully completed three rounds of reporting and independent verification, and two rounds of payments have been made to the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund.
The evaluation report also notes specifically, that the verification aspect (which includes independent verification and areas of forestry such as illegal logging, forest management, etc.) have been verified for three years so far with the most recent being completed and published in the first quarter of 2014:
Highly Successful MRVS Model
The evaluation report points out that the Guyana-Norway partnership has been highly successful at developing a national-level monitoring, reporting and verification system, and reasonably successful at developing a financial mechanism for REDD+ payments.
The report notes that Guyana represent an important models for NICFI (Norway International Climate and Forest Initiative), with Guyana as a high forest cover / low deforestation country. The NICFI Secretariat especially views the partnership in Guyana very positively, and expressed that Guyana made remarkable progress on the technical aspects of the partnership. Among some of the reasons cited for this success is the effective working relationship between Guyana and Norway on technical issues including in areas of technical monitoring, reporting and verification issues.
The evaluation report concluded that in Guyana, NICFI support had been highly effective in developing the national MRV system and reference level. In Guyana there was also evidence that MRV data were used more broadly than for MRV to support forest management, for example in monitoring compliance with harvest plans and to assist with monitoring mining operations.
First National Scale Model for REDD+ Funding
The report also notes that Guyana is the first country to have a REDD+ funding mechanism that operates at the national-scale and that there are clear work plans, periodic reports and verification reports against the indicators for the bilateral agreements with Guyana. In these cases information on activities, outputs produced, and outcomes achieved are clear and readily accessible.
In Guyana, rapid progress on the technical elements of the partnership was enabled by high level support from the previous and current presidents, together with a highly effective implementation team. The Guyana-Norway partnership was intended as a demonstration of a results-based payments system for REDD+, and the partnership has achieved the establishment of a financial mechanism; a monitoring, reporting and verification system; a reference level; independent verification; and the disbursement of payments for results.
Remarkable Progress in Technical and Institutional Pre-requisites
In the annex of the report, which specifically examines the Guyana model, the evaluation report concludes that the technical and institutional pre-requisites for verifying deforestation rates relative to a reference level have been achieved in Guyana:
The report lists out the key outputs so far as:
• The development of a fully functioning national monitoring, reporting and verification system.
• The development of a national reference level for deforestation.
• The completion of independent verification reports for both the forest and enabling activity indicators.
• Establishment of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) - a financial mechanism for disbursing REDD+ payments (involving the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme).
• The achievement of results-based payments for deforestation rates below the reference level.
• Progress on a number of enabling activities.
• The disbursement of funds via the GRIF to projects under Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, including the Amerindian Development Fund, the Amerindian Land Titling project, and the Micro and Small Enterprise Development project.