The Guiana Shield is home to many local communities and cultures. Their livelihood depends on the environmental goods and services provided by the region's ecosystems, such as water, food, and medicines. Local knowledge and skills are indispensable for proper conservation and a sustainable development of the region.
The region also provides important services for a healthy global livelihood. One of the most important objectives of the Guiana Shield Initiative is to develop a sustainable financial mechanism at various levels to ensure that the ecological integrity of the region is maintained by providing incentives on an equitable basis and by compensating local ecosystem managers and environmentally responsible businesses for the environmental goods and services they deliver. An important role is also played by the national authorities responsible for environmental issues.
The necessary resources for these mechanisms would have to be provided by the international community, because they also benefit from the ecological services delivered by the managers of the region.
What kind of services can the Guiana Shield Region offer?
There are two kinds of services: public services and market-oriented services. Public services are ecosystem services to the world as a whole, with financial mechanisms based on local (watershed) or international agreements. For example: CO2-neutralization payments and the Kyoto protocol. Similar treaties are to be developed for water-related services. Market-oriented services are services or products that have a specific market value, such as forest products and tourism.