https://www.ipbes.net/assessment-reports/americas

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The objective of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is to provide Governments, the private sector, and civil society with scientifically credible and independent up-to-date assessments of available knowledge to make informed decisions at the local, regional and international levels. This regional and subregional assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services for the Americas has been carried out by 104 selected experts including 6 early career fellows, assisted by 76 contributing authors, primarily from the Americas, who have analyzed a large body of knowledge, including about 4,100 scientific publications. The Report represents the state of knowledge on the Americas region and subregions. Its chapters and their executive summaries were accepted, and its summary for policymakers was approved, by the Member States of IPBES at the sixth session of the IPBES Plenary (18 to 24 March 2018, Medellín, Colombia).

This Report provides a critical assessment of the full range of issues facing decision-makers, including the importance, status, trends and threats to biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, as well as policy and management response options. Establishing the underlying causes of the loss of biodiversity and of nature’s contributions to people provides policymakers with the information needed to develop appropriate response options, technologies, policies, financial incentives and behavior changes. It should be noted that Greenland as well as the Arctic and subArctic regions were inadequately assessed due to a lack of relevant expertise.

The Assessment concludes that the Americas are endowed with much greater capacity for nature to contribute to people’s quality of life than the global average, and that the economic value of the terrestrial contributions of nature to people is estimated to be at least $24.3 trillion per year, equivalent to the region’s gross domestic product. The Assessment also concludes that while many aspects of the quality of life are improving at regional and subregional scales, the majority of the countries in the Americas are using nature at a rate that exceeds nature’s ability to renew the contributions it makes to the quality of life. The Report further assesses the status of food, water and energy security. It concludes that while agricultural production, fisheries and aquaculture continue to increase, this is, in some cases, at the expense of other important aspects of nature’s contributions to people; that there is declining per capita water supply and widespread unsustainable use of surface and groundwater in many parts of the region; and that bioenergy production may compete with food production and natural vegetation, and may have adverse social, economic and ecological consequences.

The Assessment also found that biodiversity and ecosystem conditions in the Americas are declining, resulting in a reduction of the contributions of nature to the quality of life of people. Indeed, nearly one quarter of species comprehensively assessed are classified by IUCN as being at high risk of extinction. The indirect drivers of change include population and demographic trends, economic growth and weak governance systems and inequity, while the dominant direct drivers include habitat conversion, fragmentation and overexploitation/overharvesting. Climate change is recognized as becoming increasingly important, amplifying the other direct drivers.

The Government of Guyana is the new institutional host of the Guiana Shield Facility and the Guiana Shield Fund.

This announcement was made today by State Minister, Joseph Harmon, who said that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) local office held responsibility for the Guiana Shield Facility and Fund up to December 31, 2017.

The initiative was started in the year 2000.

The Guiana Shield Facility is a multi-donor facility for the long-term financing of national and regional activities to conserve the eco-systems, protect bio-diversity and sustain human livelihood within the Guiana Shield eco-region.

The Fund supports the global significance of the Guiana eco-region and will facilitate the financial transfers from international organisations and those responsible for maintaining the ecological and cultural integrity of the Guiana Shield.

Guyana in accepting this position, the Minister said, “is now positioning itself as the major global player in this regard.”

Covering 270 million hectares, the Guiana Shield encompasses Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Venezuela and small parts of Colombia and northern Brazil.

The more than two-billion-year-old geological formation represents 18 percent of the world’s tropical forest carbon and 20 percent of the world’s fresh water allowing it to capture large quantities of carbon dioxide.

President David Granger on many occasions has stressed that the Shield is not only essential to enriching and replenishing the world’s biodiversity but consequently the planet’s survival.

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The Guyanese President made the call at a time when countries across the world are being devastated by natural disasters. In Dominica, Hurricane Maria left more than nine persons dead and significant damage to the country’s infrastructure, while in Mexico, over 200 people were killed after a magnitude 7.1 earth quake struck the North American country.
President Granger, in his address during the General Debate of the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, said the Guiana Shield is critical to the mitigation of the greenhouse effect.

Read more: Guyana calls on UN to protect the Guiana Shield.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge (centre), Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock (second right) Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Valerie Garrido- Lowe (right) and British High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency, Greg Quinn flanked by representatives of other partners of the Darwin Initiative; Integrating Traditional Knowledge into National Policy and Practice project.Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge (centre), Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock (second right) Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Valerie Garrido- Lowe (right) and British High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency, Greg Quinn flanked by representatives of other partners of the Darwin Initiative; Integrating Traditional Knowledge into National Policy and Practice project.The Darwin Initiative; Integrating Traditional Knowledge into National Policy and Practice project in Guyana was officially launched Monday at the British High Commissioner residence in Bel Air.

Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock in his remarks said this project will see traditional knowledge being incorporated into biodiversity policy for poverty reduction and a lot of work will be done in the five protected areas of the Kaieteur National Park, Iwokarama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, Konashen District Community Owned Conservation Area, Shell Beach and the Kanuku Mountains.

Read more: Integrating Traditional Knowledge Project officially launched

news-20151203-2Paulette Allicock is an Indigenous Makushi farmer from the North Rupununi, Guyana. In her forest farm, she grows a great variety of crops, including several varieties of the staple, cassava, as well as pumpkins, melons, greens, and nuts. Her method of farming in the forest is closely attuned with the dynamics of the surrounding natural environment and the guardian spirits that will protect her crops.

Read more: Local farming solutions conserve forests in the Guiana Shield, South America

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