Increasing Knowledge and Enhancing Capacity

To ensure ocean users are engaged and have adequate resources to participate fairly and fully in the MSP process, WWF conducted a Stakeholder Analysis and Equivalence Gap Analysis Focused on IPs and Gender and a Capacity Needs Assessment which informed training workshops for stakeholders.

© Sopheia Edghil / WWF-Guianas

Convention on Biological Diversity Gap Analysis and Legislative Review

To understand where we are and the direction required to achieve the Aichi targets, the project conducted a Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Gap Analysis and Legislative Review in Guyana and Suriname, respectively. Each analysis reviewed and analysed the existing National Legal and Regulatory Framework to implement the CBD and overviewed existing barriers and principles and legal norms enforced regarding marine management. It also identified gaps for meeting the 2020 CBD targets and provided initial recommendations on proposed amendments.

The Guyana analysis found that it is highly unlikely the country will meet all the Aichi targets by 2020 and recommended extending the timeline for doing so to 2030. There is also need for greater clarity with respect to which agency or government Ministry exercises jurisdiction over various aspects of marine resources. The good news is only a few of the laws of Guyana require amendment to be aligned with the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi targets. Law reform in this area can take between 1 year to 2 years to complete.

A Roadmap for Marine Spatial Planning in Guyana

Guyana, unable to facilitate a P3DM process due the 18-month hiatus in project, implemented alternative participatory activities based on the findings of the CBD Gap Analysis and Legal Review and stakeholder feedback. The country does not have a general policy that supports the coordination of marine and coastal uses and activities while maintaining the ecosystem’s health. The regulation of these uses and activities is spread among the different strategies, plans, and agencies.

A roadmap and draft workplan was developed by MSP experts with input of key stakeholders to support a more holistic approach to the use and management of resources of Guyana’s Ocean space. The roadmap is expected to guide Guyana’s MSP and sets out a step-by-step process for MSP including establishing a technical committee plus ensuring extensive stakeholder participation. Learn more about this by checking out our Guyana Roadmap Factsheet.

Ocean Repository and Ocean Expeditions

An offshore megafaunal survey was conducted in Guyana  and will contribute to respective ocean data repositories . The survey was conducted  in October 2021. It was the first-time local scientists conducted an extensive ocean expedition. The surveys collected data on marine megafauna species (cetaceans, turtles, seabirds, sharks, and rays) in the largely unexplored or under-explored areas of Guyana offshore waters. 

From October 3, 2021, the expedition in Guyana spotted the magnificent Sperm Whale weathering rough seas. Over the six-day journey, the team observed three rarely seen dolphin species, including the Melon-headed Whale, in a fairly group size. The team also spotted one of the four species of marine turtle, the Loggerhead, which are known to forage in Guyana’s waters offshore. The team spotted several species of birds throughout the six days, including Red-footed Booby and Barn Swallow. The data from the Ocean Expeditions will be used to update the Ocean Data Repository. Any other primary data compiled will be added to the repository in the future. 

The 10,000 plus records compiled in the database were used to develop species distribution, density, presence/absence, and relative abundance maps. All of which are important for the improved knowledge of the marine environment that is necessary to allow informed spatial management and zonation of the marine environment, and to inform the governance arrangements for the protection of the marine environment. Any other primary data compiled will be added to the repository in the future.

Systematic Conservation Planning Analysis

As part of alternative activities in Guyana, WWF engaged experts to provide a spatially defined basis for MSP through the identification of key ecological and conservation important areas of the country’s marine and coastal ecosystems. This was done through the systematic conservation planning (SCP) approach to inform the MSP process in Guyana. The analysis set out to:

  1. identify areas of key ecological and conservation importance of Guyana’s marine and coastal ecosystems through the systematic conservation planning approach, to inform MSP process in Guyana,

  2. undertake MSP analysis, using systematic conservation planning software such as Zonation,

  3. explore the outcomes when different approaches and variables are considered, and assess congruence between approaches, and

  4. conduct presentations based on the findings of the MSP analysis using the systematic conservation planning.

SCP is an integrated, evidence-based, and transparent approach to identify priority areas for sustainable management of marine and coastal resources. It is most effective at achieving representation within key ecological and conservation areas and the process itself is sustainable because it is cost efficient, allows flexibility in addressing competing land and resource requirements and fosters accountability through allowing outputs of plans to be evaluated.