European External Action Service

02/08/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/08/2023 10:09

The EU and the AFD partner together for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest in Guyana and Suriname

The signing of this agreement occurred during the Political Dialogue between EU and Suriname of which one of the main objective is to address forests in a comprehensive and integrated way through its Forest Partnership. In this regard, the project falls within the framework of the EU Amazon Basin Team Europe Initiative, which has a total EU funding of 35 million Euros covering several countries in the Amazon region (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela).

The Guyana and Suriname project receives funding through the EU Multi-annual Programmes for the period 2021-2027.It is also an important contribution of France via the AFD towards the conservation of the Amazon and its rich ecosystems and the recognition of the importance of the role of local communities.

This is the first project of this scale covering both Guyana and Suriname, countries which have historically low deforestation but which are facing increasing pressures on its forest resource base, such as unsustainable or illegal logging, gold mining, infrastructures, etc. To preserve the rainforest, the 4-year project will focus on accompanying local communities in pilot regions of both countries to improve the governance and management of their natural resources. AFD, in close partnership with WWF Guianas, will support these communities in developing agro-ecological and climate smart practices as well as to promote traditional knowledge within key value chains. The project will help to develop locally led sustainable livelihood initiatives based on forest and nature-based products and services.

Specifically in Suriname, the project will accompany Stichting voor Bosbeheer en Bostoezicht [Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control SBB] - the national entity responsible for forests - to reinforce its monitoring and traceability capacity for wood and wood products.

EU Ambassador for Suriname, Rene van Nes remarked, ''Suriname may be a small country in this large South American continent, but it happens to be one of the greenest. With more than 90 per cent of its land surface covered by native forests, Suriname's unrivalled natural resources more than make up for its size and makes the country a global leader in biodiversity conservation.'' "The EU therefore stands committed to assist Suriname in preserving its forests while at the same time increasing its economic contribution in a sustainable manner. A multi-level approach involving both public and private stakeholders will be key to ensure the welfare for future generations".

Ambassador Van Nes further added, ''Forests are an essential ally in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. They function as carbon sinks and help us reduce the impacts of climate change. This is why we will work to protect and restore them and to improve forest management. In the end, we are all part of nature and what we do to fight the climate and biodiversity crisis, we do for our own health and future." The EU Ambassador went on to say that he was happy that Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is implementing this very important project and expressed confidence that AFD would employ the highest level of expertise and execution to ensure success.

AFD country Director in Suriname and Guyana, Pierre Bourguignon, presented that "this regional project takes into account specificities of Suriname and Guyana. Dedicated activities for Suriname will be designed during inception phase based on stakeholders' engagements (in particular ministries and local communities directly targeted by the project). The work of the two lead executing agencies of this project (SBB and WWF) has already started in coordination with AFD. "

Pierre BOURGUIGNON, as AFD country Director in Suriname and Guyana, is "very happy to collaborate with European Union, Suriname's Ministries and all other Suriname's partners for the implementation of this project to support long term positive impacts on sustainable forest management and communities' livelihood in Suriname".