This ambiguity is characteristic of the project as a whole. The agreement between Guyana and Norway was initially heralded as a potential model for the global implementation of REDD+ and Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana`s president at the time, was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental efforts. However, despite initial enthusiasm for REDD+ in Guyana, the project has been plagued by misunderstandings and slow progress. Finances have been slow to escape from the World Bank Fund, to which Norway contributes, and the political momentum does not appear to have been sustained by the 2015 presidential change. A dam was supposed to be the first major development project funded by the program, but plans collapsed due to parliamentary opposition and the withdrawal of the private sector. There is a positive side: significant progress has been made in one of the original seven projects, and forest monitoring and biodiversity mapping have improved with Norway`s contribution. In November 2009, former President Bharrat Jagdeo and former Norwegian Minister of Environment and International Development Erik Solheim signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding. In the agreement, Norway committed to providing Guyana with up to $250 million by 2015 to avoid deforestation once certain performance indicators are met. This agreement represents the first international commitment to provide financial support to the LCDS and was the first partnership of its kind between an industrialized and a developing country.
Payments are made on the basis of the results reported by Guyana in the annual progress reports. Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (hereinafter referred to as Guyana) and the Minister of Climate and Environment of the Kingdom of Norway (hereinafter referred to as Norway), Ola Elvestuen, met yesterday on the margins of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York. The two ministers welcomed the successes and results of the partnership between Guyana and Norway. In accordance with the bilateral agreement between the two countries, the two ministers agreed that Guyana had fulfilled its commitments and that Norway would therefore make all final payments totalling approximately $50 million, the remainder of the commitment made in 2009. The funds are disbursed to Guyana`s REDD+ Investment Fund, GRIF, which is managed by the World Bank. Minister Hastings-Williams acknowledged that at that time, both countries would have effectively assumed their responsibilities with the final release. Minister Hastings-Williams also highlighted the partnership`s significant achievements and how it has improved forest management. that Guyana is better able to implement the SGDS through institutional strengthening. With the final payment, Minister Hastings-Williams committed to significantly increase resources for the opt-in project. Minister Elvestuen stressed at the meeting that Norway was very impressed by the persistent deforestation rates in Guyana for many years and by the substantial progress made in forest management. The world is turning to Guyana, which could be a sustainable development in forest countries, said Minister Elvestuen. A landmark five-year, $250 million pay-for-performance agreement between oil-rich and oil-rich Norway and heavily forested Guyana was designed to keep the South American country`s species- and carbon-rich forests and their carbon out of the atmosphere.
All of this helped the country conclude a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EU) in 2019 as part of the EU`s initiative to combat illegal logging, the Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT). But according to the study, the gains were short-lived. After payments ended, the loss of forest cover in Guyana more than doubled, surpassing synthetic Guyana in 2016, Roopsind says. While he can`t say exactly why, he suspects Norway`s lack of continued payments was a factor. “We need stronger clauses in the agreement on the permanent protection of forests,” he said. Guyana is currently in the “REDD+ readiness” phase, is working on its national REDD+ strategy and is considering the possibility of reaching another agreement with Norway. “Funding is important to maintain the momentum of REDD+ in the country,” Benn said. Do you think the agreement between Norway and Guyana, including the developed MRV, could serve as a model for other REDD+ efforts around the world? “While some of these challenges are understandable, as there was no precedent for this agreement, the fact that they persist has led to frustration among beneficiaries of the projects for which the funds were to be used,” the country profile says.
It also notes that payments for ecosystem services are not and should not be managed as official development assistance. The MRV was a crucial part of the five-year agreement that ended in 2015 and allowed Norway to pay Guyana nearly $200 million to severely limit forest losses. Andreas Tveteraas, Deputy Director of the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative, recently shared his thoughts on the achievements of the agreement and why it serves as a model for future REDD+ agreements. How important was MRV to the success of the agreement? Has that given you confidence that Guyana will meet its obligations? “Most of the progress was made early and has since slowed down, mainly due to funding delays caused by administrative obstacles to the delivery of funds from the Guyana-Norway agreement,” the publication reads. Tveteraas: The agreement between Guyana and Norway is results-oriented in two respects. Norway is paying Guyana both to keep deforestation rates low and to improve forest management. A reliable MRV is a cornerstone of the partnership as it shows that Guyana has fulfilled its commitment to keep the rate of deforestation low. Norway was able to pay Guyana on the basis of independently verified reports from the Guyana Forestry Commission.
In 2009, an innovative project became the flagship of the REDD+ programme (the United Nations cooperation programme created in 2008 to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries). Guyana, a country on the Caribbean coast of South America with an estimated forest cover of 75-85%, would be funded by Norway to preserve its vast expanses of rainforest. Guyana has committed $250 million in a results-oriented manner and to invest in Guyana`s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LSCC) projects. In the early years of the project, there were seven original projects, ranging from improving forest and biodiversity mapping to Native American land titles and micro-enterprise grants to rural communities. Ten years later, the agreement, which was supposed to last only five years, showed little real progress and had only a limited impact on the indigenous communities that were supposed to benefit from the finances. The governments of Guyana and Norway met today in Oslo, Norway, and agreed to advance their climate, forests and sustainable development quickly and decisively. “I am pleased that we have now reached a strong agreement with the Government of Guyana on the path to our partnership,” Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen said after the meeting. At the time, it was noted that the two ministers had agreed, in accordance with the bilateral agreement between the two countries, that Guyana had fulfilled its obligations and that Norway would therefore make all final payments. A major player in the programme is guyana`s indigenous population. About 10 per cent of Guyana`s population is indigenous; Guyanese Indians are the majority population in all parts of the hinterland. It is these hinterland regions that REDD+ deals with, as much of Guyana`s hinterland is made up of intact rainforest. The first discussions in the initial agreements were that Native Americans would be fully informed and consulted at all stages of the REDD+ program.
In addition, program funds were to be used primarily for projects that benefited local communities, including a native American land titling program that Native Americans had long needed. Bristol also reportedly said the funds would be used for projects in areas such as renewable energy, “green” tourism, biodiversity, strengthening indigenous mechanisms and the European Union`s Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT), which is a legally binding trade agreement between the EU and timber-producing countries outside the EU. To what extent has the agreement between Norway and Guyana as a whole been successful? From a Norwegian perspective, what have been the most important achievements? In addition, Laing says, it`s not clear why the REDD+ program would have reduced deforestation, as little money was spent in Guyana during the payment period. In a 2018 article, Laing argued that few payments had been made to indigenous communities, who control about 15 percent of Guyana`s land, and that a hydropower project that was supposed to be partially funded by the program had been delayed and eventually sunk. That money will soon be poured into other green development projects that will complement Norway`s payments under the deal, Sveinung Rotevatn, state secretary at Norway`s Ministry of Climate and Environment, wrote in an email. Norway`s interest in Guyana is therefore seen as an attempt for Norway, the world`s largest REDD donor, to maintain its “green” international image while remaining a major oil producer. The choice of Guyana as a financial partner is strange in itself. Norway`s other two main financial partners are Brazil and Indonesia, countries where deforestation rates are historically incredibly high where financial incentives could make a real difference in the willingness to participate in conservation.