Géraud

Géraud de Ville

The Open University, Department of Engineering and Innovation
London, UK

Community Forest Monitoring, Reporting and Verification

REDD+, Norway and Guyana

March 14, 2012

Norway as the major donor for REDD+ programmes attaches great importance to a robust system for the “Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV)” of the measures to avoid deforestation, forest degradation and/or the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

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As it also considers full involvement of the forest communities in MRV essential, NORAD, the Norwegian Aid Agency put out a tender for a project in Guyana to promote this involvement. The tender was won by a consortium led by the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) with as members the Guiana Shield Initiative (GSI), Iwokrama, the Project Fauna of the National Science Foundation (US) SarVision and Helveta. The latter is a software company which has developed an approach using handheld computers with a unique interface producing GPS-referenced data concerning the forest inventory, fauna characteristics, medicinal plants, herbs, ecosystems services and the storage and sequestration of carbon. These data should be fed into consultations within the communities and between the communities and the governments in order to strengthen customary rights and help with access to forest financing such as REDD+.

After the project was awarded in 2010 it took some time before the practical work implementation in Iwokrama and the North Rupununi district could proceed. Dr. Mandar Trivedi, GCP coordinator for the project gave the following update on 11 April 2011:

(…)We informed the Government of Guyana last year and since then we have been trying to come to an agreement for the project to move forward. Since the project aims to help communities engage in the MRV/REDD+ process, which are central to Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), the Government is taking a very keen interest and wants to ensure that there is alignment with the national system.

As you also probably know, the Government of Guyana has a MoU with Norway which means that Guyana will be paid on a performance basis for keeping its forests standing. So Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) is a pressing issue. The Government is currently developing a national MRV System (MRVS) and has been reluctant for a (sub-national demonstration) project to proceed in the absence of clarity in what the national MRVS will involve.

We are trying to gain clarity on what the Government intends to do in order to meet its obligations under the MoU (and within the wider UNFCCC context) and we are trying to agree on how the project could complement and contribute towards the national MRVS development process. Clearly, we need the Government to be supportive, but it has raised some concerns about the project, which we are working to resolve while maintaining the core goals of the project.

All these discussions are taking a long time and have to be set against the backdrop of the ongoing Guyana-Norway process (and the gradual flow of bilateral funds). Meanwhile, the community representatives with whom we have had discussions – through the North Rupununi District Development Board – are supportive and eager for the project to proceed (….)

Then on 28 January 2012 the project was officially launched and reported in the press.

16 villages in the North Rupununi will be involved in the training of the use of the Helveta handhelds to contribute not only to the national MRV system as part of the MoU between Norway and Guyana, but also very much to further detail the mapping of their own territories strengthening community management and access to external finance for ecosystem services.

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