Enhancing Biodiversity Protection through Strengthened Monitoring, Enforcement and Uptake of Environmental Regulations in Guyana's Gold Mining Sector

What the Project is About

Gold mining is a key sector in Guyana's economy and plays an important role in the country's socio-economic development. However, at the same time it is the main driver of deforestation and forest degradation and associated biodiversity loss. Inadequate management of tailings, little rehabilitation of mined-out areas, and various other practices are posing increasing threats to the extremely high levels of biodiversity and species endemism found in Guyana.

Various barriers currently hamper the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the gold mining sector, including

1) Non-compliance with mining-related environmental regulations and illegal mining;

2) Insufficient personnel and institutional capacity to enforce the regulatory framework;

3) Insufficient capacity to implement the environmental regulations and codes of practices among miners.

This Global Environment Facility Medium-Sized Project (MSP) has been developed to address these three critical barriers. The project objective is to strengthen monitoring and implementation of biodiversity-friendly practices in Guyana's gold mining sector to reduce biodiversity loss and maintain ecosystem functionality for the benefit of all Guyanese. This will be achieved through the following two outcomes:

1) Enabling environment for monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations and codes of practice strengthened; and
2) Enhanced capacities for uptake of mining practices that promote biodiversity conservation.

These outcomes will be achieved by strengthening the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) role in oversight of mining practices, enhancing inter-institutional cooperation, increasing satellite tracking of mining activities and building field officer capacity in monitoring and enforcement and biodiversity issues.

In addition, the project will integrate biodiversity into the Mining School curriculum and provide user-friendly material and seminars to enable miners to understand the regulatory framework in place and best practices to improve biodiversity conservation in gold mining.

What we have accomplished so far

Implementation of project activities began in late 2014 with the following:
·    Project Inception Meeting
·    Procurement of Communication & Audio-visual Equipment and procurement of Information Technology Equipment for the EPA to strengthen its monitoring and enforcement capacity.

This equipment includes: two satellite phones with service plans; one satellite internet infrastructure with service plan; five mobile phones capable of supporting software for real-time environmental monitoring; two toughbook tablets; one projector; one plotter for large printing; three desktop PCs; three external hard drives; remote sensing software; and an ArcGIS licence.  

Who finances it?

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) – 803,653 USD

UNDP - 88, 000 USD

Who are the partners?

GEF Implementing Agency: UNDP
Implementing Partner: Environmental Protection Agency

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