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Norway to send Guyana $45m for maintaining low deforestation rate
December 24, 2012

Norway will pay Guyana $45 million for maintaining its low deforestation rate under a climate partnership between the two countries.

The payment is based on Guyana's deforestation rate of 0.054 percent between October 1st 2010 and December 31st 2011. The rate is well below the baseline established under the countries' agreement. It brings Norway's total payment to Guyana to $115 million.

Guyana says the bulk of the funds will go toward the construction of Amaila Falls Hydro, a 165MW hydroelectric project. The project, which is being developed by Sithe Global, has been criticized by some activists, but Sithe says it is updating a "comprehensive" Environmental Social Impact Assessment.

Historically Guyana has had a low deforestation rate, so money from its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) program go mostly toward developing a low carbon development strategy that would help avoid future forest loss and diminishment. The country is particularly vulnerable to climate change with most of its population concentrated in low-lying coastal areas.

Norway has emerged since 2007 as the world's largest donor to tropical forest conservation. It has committed 3 billion krone ($530 million) annually to conservation programs in tropical countries, including a billion dollars to both Brazil and Indonesia, $250 million to Guyana, $100 million to Tanzania, and more than $100 million to Congo Basin countries.

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