Norway and Guyana sign rainforest deal

Report in The Independent key to $250m investment, says Guyana President

A A A

Guyana and Norway yesterday hailed a historic agreement that will see the Scandinavian country invest $250m (£150m) to preserve the rainforests of the Latin America nation. With world leaders warning that no legally binding agreement will be possible at the climate summit in Copenhagen next month, the two comparative minnows completed one of the biggest forest conservation deals ever signed.

Both sides signalled their intention to "provide the world with a working example of how partnerships between developed and developing countries can save the world's tropical forests," they said in a joint statement.

The former British colony, sandwiched between Venezuela and Brazil, is home to fewer than a million people but it also boasts an intact rainforest larger than England. In 2007 Guyana's president Bharrat Jagdeo made an unprecedented offer to to place its entire standing forest under the control of a British-led international body in return for a bilateral deal with the UK to secure development aid and the technical assistance needed to switch to a low carbon economy.

Despite a number of false starts and assurances that it was considering the offer – first publicised in The Independent – Downing Street failed to make any concrete progress, leaving the way clear for oil-rich Norway to seize the opportunity.

Speaking yesterday during a visit to London, President Jagdeo said that public pressure was vital on rich, polluting countries to "help progressive politicians to deliver results on climate change". While avoiding criticism of the UK government, the Guyanese leader thanked those who had brought the country's rainforest offer into the international arena.

"The Independent was key to getting our original message to the public, and this kind of campaigning journalism will be vital in the years to come," he said.

Countries like Guyana, whose capital Georgetown is extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels, have contributed next to nothing to the heat- trapping gases in the atmosphere that cause global warming. Yet they will be among the first victims of a changed climate and have been seeking ways to preserve the vast carbon sinks of their tropical forest without sacrifcing development in a country where many live in abject poverty.

Under the terms of the agreement with Norway, Guyana will accelerate its efforts to limit forest-based greenhouse gas emissions and protect its rainforest as an asset for the world. Norway will provide financial support of up to $250m over five years in line with the Jagdeo administration's success in implementing limiting emissions and halting deforestation.

"Through this partnership, we are building a bridge between developed and developing countries," said Norway's Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim. "We are giving the world a workable model for climate change collaboration between North and South. It's not perfect, but it's good, and it will be improved upon as we learn and develop together."

The accelerating destruction of the rainforests that form a cooling band around the earth's equator is recognised as one the main causes of climate change.

Tropical deforestation accounts for one-fifth of all carbon emissions, more than the entire transport sector – including the aviation industry. The landmark Stern Review concluded that forests offer the single largest chance for cost-effective and immediate reductions of carbon emissions.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam