Development Today

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 first tranche of payment was supposed to be disbursed in 2010, ideally ahead of the Cancun Climate Summit. But the first year came and went, and Guyana did not receive any REDD money from Norway. A series of articles in Development Today examines the Norway-Guyana deal: 

·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)