Georgetown, Guyana – (May 13, 2016) President David Granger, today, met with Chief Executive Officer of the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, Dr. Dane Gobin, who updated him on the organisation’s operations.
Iwokrama has been experiencing serious financial difficulties and as a result, the Government appointed a review committee in June last year to investigate its operations and make recommendations on the way forward, particularly as it relates to budget and financing, research and training, governance, and management.
Dr. Gobin explained that donor priorities have shifted and as such the Centre needs to develop its own plan, which is economically viable and environmentally sustainable. He said that Guyana’s natural resources management must focus on tourism value.
President Granger assured of his unconditional support for Iwokrama, which he said is central to the green agenda that has been identified for Guyana.
“It would be a travesty to allow Iwokrama to collapse when the country is pushing a green agenda…we need to have strong, long-term partnerships that will raise the profile of Guyana,” the President said.
Currently, the Centre is operating at 50 percent capacity, having taken a lot of austerity measures including a 30 percent pay cut for senior staff. Last year, the Government had to provide the Centre with a grant of US$100,000 to meet its expenditure, which includes the payment of wages and salaries to staff.
The Iwokrama centre was established in 1996 through an agreement by the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat with the aim of managing and preserving 371,000 hectares of pristine rainforest.