WWF-Guianas launches the Opt-in Readiness Project in North Rupununi, Guyana

Representatives from the Guyana Government, international and national partners and institutions at the Opt-In Readiness Project launch
© Bram Kloos for WWF

WWF-Guianas launches the Opt-in Readiness Project in North Rupununi, Guyana

On October 17th 2016, WWF-Guianas and the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB), with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), launched their Opt-in Readiness Project in Annai, North Rupununi. The project will prepare the 7,000 people in nineteen indigenous communities that inhabit this region in South Guyana to become active participants and beneficiaries of Guyana’s Green Economy.
International and national guests joined WWF in the event.


Members of the Guyana Government, representatives of Norad - the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, local stakeholders and civil society members all gathered together to share a common vision on cooperation and sustainable development


The Opt-in Readiness Project constitutes a new step forward in the Norway and Guyana agreement stipulated in 2009, to prevent and manage the exploitation of tropical forests whilst also ensuring the empowerment of local communities. It is also set to become a best practice, and a model of WWF’s “together possible” vision.


Bram Kloss for WWF

The project aims in fact to help communities prepare for opt-in and thus become ready to directly receive payments for the conservation of their forests. Two teams of trainers, both headed by indigenous people, will lead the capacity development efforts. The community development team will facilitate a process in each of the communities to create Community Development Plans (CDPs) and provide training in financial management, conflict-resolution, and governance to the village leadership (15-25 people in each of the 19 communities).

In addition, 38 people – 28 men and ten (10) women (two chosen by each community) - will receive 11 weeks of intensive training in Community Monitoring Reporting and Verification (CMRV) over the coming year. They will be provided with the knowledge and technology to gather, analyze and report forest cover and carbon (with training provided by the Guyana Forestry Commission), natural resource abundance and use, and community health and wellbeing, including a happiness index.

WWF-Guianas’ role is crucial and will catalyze and strategize the efforts of people, institutions and resources.

As stated by Laurens Gomes (Regional Representative of WWF-Guianas) during the launch: "The Opt-in Readiness CMRV and CDP-T programme is set to become a transformational project and a local and global challenge around the topic of conservation. It will open the door to REDD+ benefits to local communities in Guyana, and it will become an example of how working together can effectively bring the world on a sustainable path".


Both Laurens Gomes and Aiesha Willams (Country Manager of WWF Guyana) underlined the importance of integrating local knowledge, traditions and capacities and to actively involve the younger generations as key elements of this project: “the people of the North Rupununi are the experts here”, said Aiesha Williams during her speech.