Friday, February 5, 2010

The Green Green Grass of Home - Part I

The Green Green Grass of Home: our Guyana's forests have been sold, politicized and raped. This Green Baby is being ripped apart by the careless and selfish actions of the Government of Guyana.

In this series we present the summaries of various articles presented by different writers on the subject.

This is an extract from REDD-Monitor, 3rd December 2008
1) Iwokrama scheme was originally set up in 1996, at a time when Guyana’s President Cheddi Jagan was keen to prop up his country’s flagging international credibility.

2) It was intended as a visionary and self-sustaining new scheme to balance conservation with sustainable rainforest use and provide world-class facilities for scientific research.

3) The economics of the scheme were never sound. Having built a large centre and employed numerous staff, it has always relied heavily on support from donors and, increasingly, the revenue from logging operations, which have now been allocated across half the area’s 370,000 hectares. By 2007, the scheme was effectively out of cash, and in search of new forms of income.

4) In 2008, Canopy Capital, in the form of Hylton Murray-Philipson, a former banker, and Andrew Mitchell, a rainforest canopy scientist and founder of the Global Canopy Programme. Canopy Capital contracted with the government of Guyana to ‘buy’ the ‘ecosystem services’ of the area, for an as-yet undisclosed sum.

5) Murray-Philipson and Mitchell have also been close advisors to the Rainforest Project of Prince Charles, who has been Royal Patron of the Iwokrama project since 2001.

7) Murray-Philipson said in an interview with,“If you can’t make something work in Guyana, I’m not sure you are going to ever make it work anywhere.”

8)There may be more truth to this than he realises. On the basis of what has happened at Iwokrama so far, the precedent for these kinds of projects in terms of transparency, respect for indigenous rights, and consultation, is not very promising.

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