Saturday, November 8, 2008

President urges Iwokrama students to address local demands of climate change

GUYANA - President Bharrat Jagdeo last Friday urged students who recently graduated from an Iwokrama Training Programme to make a special effort to address the demands of climate change locally and to help in the sustainable development of the country’s rich natural resources.

The Head of State was at that time speaking at a pre-graduation gathering of the participants who completed a two-and-a-half-year course in Natural Resource Management for Guyana’s Protected Areas Systems. The meeting was held at the International Convention Centre.

The training programme was funded by the German Government and the participants were trained in areas such as ranger training, tour guiding and collaborative management. Following the meeting with the President, a graduation ceremony was held at the Theatre Guild for the 127 students who successfully completed the course.

During his address, President Jagdeo also called specifically for greater conservation of the nation’s forestry resources. He said that forests have an important part to play in addressing the problems posed by climate change since they were the source of 20% of the world’s greenhouse gases. He said that while cutting down Guyana’s forests could be profitable, the government has decided to preserve the trees.

Jagdeo went on to explain some recent comments he made about the local forestry industry while he was in the United Kingdom, which he says have been misrepresented. The President explained that he was willing to deploy the nation’s entire forest in the cause of averting climate change but emphasized that in doing this he would not be trading sovereignty of the forests nor is he prepared to have the development of the locals being put at risk.

According to the President, the funds gained from the preservation of these trees will be used to benefit the village. He said that before this decision was made he had consulted with the Toshaos of the Amerindian villages and they had signaled their approval.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Iwokrama International, Dane Gobin said that the training was very good since it better prepared the nation “to manage our forest in a sustainable way in order to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, something which currently threatens the international community.” He further stated that the graduates would take this learning back to their institutions and communities, which will result in an enhanced capacity at the national level.

This newspaper was told that some of those who have graduated have been employed by Iwokrama while others are expected to be employed at local tourist resorts.

One such person who is seeking a job is Region Nine resident Andrew Lawrence who was trained as a ranger. He said that he started the course because he needed a job and thought that the training would provide him with an opportunity to become qualified. He said he found the course to be extremely useful and he now hopes to obtain a job close to his home.

Article source: Stabroek News

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