Guyana, Germany ink deal to protect Amazon

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Guyana inked a 5-million-euro ($6.5-million) deal Thursday with Germany to help the South American country develop and sustain biodiversity in several Amazon protected areas.

Environment Minister Robert Persaud said some of the money would be used to establish the legally-required Protected Areas Commission that would establish goals and priorities and identify threats to conservation.

The money would also help Guyana efficiently manage the protected areas in keeping with provisions of the Protected Areas legislation approved in July.

But Persaud, who is responsible for the mining and forestry sectors, was also quick to stress that the move would not prevent Guyana from extracting its natural resources.

"What we do here would not in any way impinge or reduce or affect our ability to utilize the natural resources that our forest and other areas possess but will in fact give us greater capacity in terms of proper utilization, all consistent with the sustainable development thrust," said Persaud.

International and local mining companies have been rushing to Guyana in search of gold. Drilling operations are also underway for uranium and manganese.

Persaud's assurances came as Guyana hopes to reach an agreement with Norway for minimal felling of tropical rainforests in exchange for $250 million up to 2015.

Germany's latest environmental financing to Guyana would see the allocation of more than one million euros ($1.3 million) toward the development of the Protected Areas Commission and infrastructure to manage national protected areas, particularly Kaieteur National Park (center) and Shell Beach (north).

The second tranche is due to be used as an endowment to establish the Protected Areas Trust Fund.

There are three legally designated protected areas, making up more than six percent of Guyana's 83,000-square-mile (214,970-square-kilometer) landmass.

© 2011 AFP

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