GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- WWF Guianas (WWF) has welcomed the announcement by the government of Guyana on Monday that the amount of GY$2.0 billion (US$9.6 million) will be allocated to the National Protected Areas Trust Fund (NPATF).
This significant contribution more than doubles the existing fund that comprised US$5.3 million committed by the government of Germany and US$3.5 million from the Conservation International’s Global Conservation Fund. It also signals the government’s recognition of the importance of the environment to the nation’s well-being and its intent to give this sector priority.
The trust fund will support the protected areas of Kaieteur, the Kanuku Mountains, and Shell Beach as well as some of the urban park areas. These collectively cover some five percent of the national territory. Plans are also well advanced to include the Wai-Wai community conservation concession into the national protected area system.
The completion of this process will add another three percent, bringing the total area under protection to approximately eight percent.
Guyana is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which commits the nation to designating 17 percent of its territory as a protected area, and funds accruing for the trust fund can help meet this target.
WWF also applauded the decision to take these funds from mining revenues. Guyana is blessed with both rich natural and mineral resources.
“The challenge faced by government is to identify mechanisms that allow economic development, careful exploitation of this mineral wealth whilst not jeopardising the rich natural heritage of the country. Utilising funds from the mining sector to support the Trust Fund is a good example of how these sometimes conflicting interests can be used for net long-term benefit,” WWF said.