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.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea