World Environment Day (WED) 2021 is being celebrated today, June 5th under the theme “Ecosystem Restoration.” The United Nations also today launches the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and is using the observance to focus on resetting our relationship with nature.
In Guyana, five organisations working to support ecosystems management and biodiversity conservation, World Wildlife Fund Guianas (WWF-Guianas); Environmental Management Consultants Inc. (EMC); Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS); Iwokrama International Centre (IIC) and Conservation International Guyana (CI-Guyana); have come together under the theme of WED 2021 to bring awareness to Guyana’s unique and valuable ecosystems and to call for actions for their maintenance, management and restoration where needed, and the conservation of biodiversity.
Guyana is endowed with an array of ecosystems which support a wide variety of plants, animals and other living things. Our rich forests, rivers and their watersheds, wetlands, coastal and riverine mangroves, and marine environment provide a bounty of food, freshwater, arable lands, and natural resources that are critical to supporting livelihoods and form the pillars of the economy. Guyana’s ecosystems have remained relatively intact, and the country has a history of taking action and demonstrating sound environmental leadership. This has been demonstrated through ambitious actions to help to tackle global issues such as climate change, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. In recent times threats and pressures to our ecosystems have become more frequent and intense, the impact of these have also been exacerbated by climate change and extreme weather events, as we are currently experiencing.
As a country, we find ourselves at an interesting juncture, on the verge of transformative economic development while at the same time seeking to ensure that sound environmental credentials are maintained. This presents us with a unique opportunity to demonstrate a model of truly sustainable development by reimagining and pursuing Guyana’s future with nature rather than against it. Our approach to industry, infrastructure and economic activities can be transformed to become more sustainable by ensuring that their adverse impacts on nature are reduced to the absolute minimum; and economic returns are optimized and invested in furthering sustainable development. Guyana has already taken major steps in the right direction and is well positioned in pursuing low-carbon development.
We recognize that this is achievable, but requires all stakeholders – Government, private sector, civil society, NGOs, communities and indeed all Guyanese – to work together. The organizations represented here are each implementing actions in collaboration with others in support of the realization of Guyana’s sustainable development potential. We are pursuing innovative nature-friendly solutions to reduce impacts and improve resilience; supporting effective management and restoration of critical ecosystems; and supporting the development of sustainable economic activities and opportunities.
The contribution of every Guyanese is needed. Let us all #Reimagine, #Recreate and #Restore by adopting practices to resets our connection with nature, contribute to the reduction of impacts, and support restoration and sustainable management of ecosystems.