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The Norwegian Government has committed to providing substantial funding to the Government of Guyana if it reduces deforestation.The Guyana-Norway REDD+ Agreement, as it is known, was established in 2009, and in 2010 the Norwegian Government hired the Rainforest Alliance to verify progress of enabling activities under that agreement.The Rainforest Alliance recently published their report. Together with Global Witness,Forest Management Trust,Forest Peoples Programme, and Rainforest Foundation colleagues in Norway and the UK, we analyzed the report and sent our concerns to the relevant stakeholders.

These included:

•The report concludes with respect to some indicators that frameworks are in place and being implemented, whilst simultaneously acknowledging a lack of information on which to base an assessment.
•It presents a superficial assessment of fundamental problems relating to indigenous peoples’ rights and tenure.
•It fails to accurately diagnose problems regarding public availability of information and incorrectly equates ‘outreach’ with ‘consultation’.
•It undermines the notion of independence, by declining to either review important independent literature, or raise concerns regarding self‐censorship and anonymity of persons interviewed.
•As organizations that have worked in Guyana for the past ten years, we ask all parties involved to give these concerns serious consideration.

Click here for the full report.

What is RFUS doing in Guyana?

Throughout 2010, the government of Guyana sought to push through its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), with little to no consultation with indigenous peoples or regard for indigenous rights. It is therefore strategically important to work with indigenous peoples in Guyana on climate change and REDD issues, as this collaboration between the Guyanese and Norwegian governments is setting the stage in terms of bilateral collaboration on these issues. Therefore whatever happens in Guyana will have enormous implications on how these agreements could move forward in other places.

With RFUS support over the past year, the Amerindian Peoples Association, the most representative indigenous organization in Guyana, has not only provided information at the community level about climate change, REDD and rights, but has also been able to actively participate in national and international discussions, and will hopefully influence policy formation. As part of our work, RF-US analyzes documents and provides information to support indigenous advocacy nationally and internationally.

Why Guyana?

•Heavily forested country with low historic deforestation rates;
•REDD initiatives moving extremely quickly, representing both risks and opportunities; affecting land demarcation ;
•Bilateral scheme between the governments of Guyana and Norway, for better or for worse, is setting the stage for international cooperation on REDD programs;
•Pilot country for World Bank/FCPF.