Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Norway-Guyana forest deal stalled

In November 2009, Norway signed a landmark agreement with Guyana, whereby Norway would pay the small South American nation up to USD 250 million to protect its part of the Amazon rainforest. For Norway, this was part of a wider effort to develop working models for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), as it has with Brazil and Indonesia. Though much smaller than these tropical forest countries, Guyana has forest that covers an area the size of England, and the rate at which it is disappearing is comparatively low. The Guyana REDD model would show how countries with high levels of forest cover can benefit from REDD. 

Norway has barely had official contact with Guyana before. There is no Norwegian Embassy in Georgetown, and no history of giving aid. A complicated mechanism for transferring the Norwegian forest climate aid funds was therefore set up; a trust fund managed by the World Bank is the guardian of the money. Provided Guyana keeps deforestation at a low rate, it will receive up to USD 30 million a year from the fund. That money can be used for projects listed in Guyana’s Low-Carbon Development Strategy that develop the country without increasing carbon emissions. The condition is that those projects must have the backing – and meet the environmental safeguard requirements – of international institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank. 

The controversial Amaila Falls hydropower project was originally a key piece of the bilateral agreement, but was eventually abandonned due to the high price of the dam. While Guyana has in principle delivered results in the form of keeping down its level of deforestation, Norwegian payments have been delayed for several years.

Development Today has followed the Norway-Guyana deal over the past decade. Here is a sample of our coverage:

Interview: Norway doubles down on climate forest aid as deforestation continues to rise
Guyana solar plan melts icy relationship with Norway over forest and energy
Opinion: Norway’s International Forest and Climate Initiative – 10 years of kissing frogs
Guyana climate deal stalled: 6th year with no payments
Guyana plans for oil-based future, still aims for Norwegian climate aid payments
Norwegian to mediate Guyana-Venezuela border dispute
NOK 10.5 billion in Norwegian climate forest aid remain unspent
Climate Ministry defends reservation of NOK 600m climate grant for 3 more years
Norconsult’s conclusions add to pressure on Guyana to build Amaila Falls dam
   Study on Amaila Falls: Main conclusions
Norway holds NOK 600m in Washington for future Guyana energy project
Final effort to salvage Amaila hydro project, but Guyana minister says: ‘We just can’t afford it’
Guyana forest result triggers no new Norwegian money
No Guyana REDD money for 2010. IDB warns about forest road (Read)

IDB: ‘we are required to look at the entire range of impacts’ (Read)
Climate aid could secure first step in massive dam in the Amazon (Read)
Editorial: Funding forest destruction (Read)
Expert: donors must view Amaila Falls as part of a larger scheme (Read)
Norway-Guyana forest aid slated for investment in hydro dam (Read)
Guyana: the power of consultants in REDD (Read)