Posted on 08 February 2018
We have had the pleasure of hosting the new President of WWF International, Mr. Pavan Sukhdev, for a week in Guyana early January 2018. On his first international travel, this “banker turned world renowned green economist”, heads to a country that is not well-know, yet of global importance. Guyana is one of the Guiana Shield countries, that together make up for the greenest, most forested, part of the world. So, when MR. Sukhdev visited Guyana, things started moving forward and differently for us at WWF Guianas.
With him visiting the President of Guyana, H.E. David Granger, a window of new opportunities to deliver on our ambitions to emphasize the relevance of nature conservation for human well-being opened for us.
As H.E. Granger unfolded the plans for the Guyana Green State Development Strategy, the links with our conservation programs such as the Shared Resources, Joint Solution (SRJS) and Ocean Conservation programs, focusing on topics such as food security and climate resilience, were evident. We also welcomed the opportunity to make steps towards developing and strengthening relationships with the Ministry of Finance, demonstrating how the relevance of our mission is progressively acknowledged by those beyond having an immediate involvement with nature conservation.
The euphoria of such bold opportunities, does brings its challenges. We must be mindful of the boundaries of our role in nature conservation and human wellbeing, whilst supporting Guyana’s GSDS. What role can we play in finding a balance between the aspirations of the Government of Guyana and the expectations of tangible impacts to human lives by promoting green development in Guyana’s society? How will we stay within our field of expertise as a conservation organization, while the Green State Development Strategy covers more sectors then we are currently active in, such as agriculture and green urban development? This will require us to rethink our way of “doing business”.
Pavan Sukhdev gave us answers to those questions. Whilst he is an acknowledged expert on Natural Capital accounting, his emphasis that week was foremost on Human Capital being key to success. This bring us as organization back to things we are good at, awareness, capacity building, information sharing, a science based approach, etc.
His statements underlined what we had already done. Strides had been made to engage civil society in dialogues concerning topics regarding them (and us all) related to conservation. Bringing people together and ensuring their voices are being heard, is a part of our approach to conservation. We did so as we co-developed the SRJS program with our partners, from the bottom up. Although new to us, this approach really begins to show its value. We aim to contribute to the Green State Development Strategy in a similar capacity, firstly by promoting dialogue among and with civil society.
We are aware of the challenges, but embrace them as opportunities, to support conservation and human wellbeing in our Guianas.
Representative WWF Guianas