Wednesday, December 19, 2018

article-20131127-1Workshop on water management in the countries of the Guiana Shield - "WAVINGS":  WAter Views and Information Network in the Guiana Shield.

Remarks by Patrick Chesney, Chief Technical Advisor, Guiana Shield Facility, United Nations Development Programme, 42 Brickdam & UN Place, Georgetown, Guyana

Thank you Madam Chairperson.

Bonjour, Goede morgen, Bon dia, Buenas dias, Good morning.

First of all, please permit me to bring you greetings from the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, Mme. Khadija Musa, and from the office of the Guiana Shield Facility in Georgetown.

Secondly, I wish to congratulate the Prefecture and DEAL Guyane for the foresight to participate in the Guiana Shield Facility and to conceptualise WAVINGS. This Workshop on freshwater management in the Guiana Shield is a first step to recognizing the high freshwater wealth of the Guiana Shield and the need for markets and international financial systems to recognize this natural capital.

The Guiana Shield Facility is extremely pleased to be associated with this Workshop. As you know, the overall objective of the Guiana Shield Facility is to promote and support the conservation and sustainable development of the Guiana Shield eco- region. The strategy is to set up the Guiana Shield Facility as a multi-donor funding facility for the long-term financing of the activities needed to ensure the ecological integrity of the Guiana Shield eco-region, one of the most important eco-regions in the world.

In the words of the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, His Excellency Braulio Dias, “…the Guiana Shield Facility is an important initiative in the Amazon that needs strengthening. In a video statement delivered to the “Regional Workshop on “National Protected Areas Systems in the

ACTO Member Countries. Amazon Region Protected Area Program – ARPA and opportunities for regional cooperation” on October 2, 2013 in Brasilia, Brazil”, he noted, “….the Guiana Shield Ecoregion, the area that concentrates the largest amount of tropical forest under protected areas in the world, but one that is increasingly facing the challenges of promotion of economic development while ensuring the conservation of its natural capital and increasing the benefits for its people from its rich biodiversity.” We could easily add on freshwater and a number of other ecosystem goods and services.

When the Regional Advisory Board of the Guiana Shield Facility met in Bogotá from 12-14 June 2013, it produced a 16 point agenda for action. Amongst the many initiatives were:

Support for the GSF as a multi-partner pilot program, as a regional flexible delivery mechanism for financial, scientific and technical resources to the development of methods for remuneration of ecosystem services, and transboundary initiatives involving collaborative management of protected areas and conservation-based territorial development;

Specifically, three lines of action were developed:

  1. Develop and test methods for the remuneration of ecosystem services; and pro- mote transboundary cooperation to strengthen the management of strategic eco-systems;
  2. Systematisation and exchange of information and development of knowledge platforms regarding the Guiana Shield ecosystem functions and conservation…;
  3. Strengthening the capacity of the Guiana Shield countries and regions in their ef- forts to receive compensation for the ecosystem functions they provide to the world or to specific regions and/or economic sectors.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we must strive to carry out these actions in the area of watershed protection and management. The Guiana Shield Facility promotes the creation and sustaining of partnership to promote advocacy, knowledge building and transboundary collaboration. This, we believe, will contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable human development. In addition to the many partnerships we have developed in pursuit of that goal, allow me to mention two more that are crucial.

Firstly, the GEF Amazon Project - Water Resources and Climate Change, a USD52.2 million project “to contribute to the effective protection and sustainable use of the water and land resources of the Amazon Basin, based upon the principles of integrated water resources management, and management of the effects of climate change within Amazonian communities, in a coordinated and coherent way”. This project is being implemented by the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation in Brasilia.

The Guiana Shield Facility is actively seeking the conclusion of negotiations to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation with the main objective to cooperate on knowledge management and information exchange in the areas of biodiversity conservation, and management of ecosystems. We call on the remaining 3 of the 8-member countries to endorse the proposed collaboration.


Secondly, the GEF Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Project, a 12.5 million proposal to GEF to “…facilitate EBM/EAF in the CLME for the sustainable and climate resilient provision of goods and services from shared living marine resources”.

The potential contribution of the Guiana Shield Facility would be to promote and support the study of land-based pollution impacts on marine ecosystems and biodiversity. In this regard, the Marine Mammal Conservation project (MaMaCoCoSea), chaired by Dr. Miriam Marmontel, present here today, will be important.

Madam Chair, there is a phenomenon of nature that places the Guiana Shield at the forefront of the climatological basis of the Mercosur economy. I refer to the South American Low Level Jet that carries moisture from the Atlantic Ocean, over the Amazon basin, and into La Plata basin in Argentina (which receives 70% of its water from the Amazon basin). Scientists have proposed the theory that the Guianas are the first link in this 'moisture-transfer conveyor belt' and if the trees weren't there, the Amazon would dry out because the moisture wouldn't pass into the Amazon and the climate would change not only due to the Amazon forest drying out but also because coastal forests are said to maintain the global circulation (Hadley atmospheric cell). My colleagues in Brazil have written extensively about ‘rios voadores’ or flying rivers.

Finally, Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen, The proposed GEF Amazon Signature Programme for the sixth replenishment: 2014-2018 focuses on three countries: Brazil, Colombia and Peru. I call on the countries that share the Guiana Shield to seek inclusion of the Guiana Shield ecoregion in the programme and to increase the focus and therefore the associated allocation of technical and financial resources to conservation and sustainable development activities in the Guiana Shield.

I thank you.
23 October 2013 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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