Biodiversity Guyana

The International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield

The IVth International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield has officially opened, accompanied by the inspiring words of his Excellency Brigadier David Granger ‐ President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and by those of a plethora of distinguished speakers: Ms. Khadija Musa (Resident Coordinator of UNDP in Guyana), Dr Patrick Williams (Chairman of the GSBE), Dr Marten Schalkwijk (Chair of IBG), Prof Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith (University of Guyana).

His Excellency Brigadier David Granger

The President not only highlighted the “essential role of the Shield in the survival of Planet Earth” and compared its wilderness and creatures to those of the Garden of Eden, but he most importantly underlined that all 6 countries within the Shield (Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil) must embrace the role of trustees, so to preserve the biodiversity and the integrity of the Shield itself.

A process which started 13 years ago, when the dialogue on the Guiana Shield officially begun in Paramaribo (Suriname), at a Priority Setting Workshp, lead by some of the key partners of the Congress such as WWF Guianas, Conservation International, Guiana Shield Initiative. A journey that has seen four editions of the Congress and is prepared to transform thoughts and research into concrete actions, towards a more sustainable development of this important region, the Guiana Shield.

Congress Themes

The Guiana Shield is one of the most biologically rich and diverse regions in the world with its pristine forests and largely uncontaminated aquatic ecosystems. The region is also the habitat for many rare and endemic species and is occupied by several different indigenous groups that depend upon the environment for their livelihood. Over the past two decades countries of the Guiana Shield region have sought to intensify the exploitation of their natural resources as a means of alleviating poverty and promoting socio-economic development. Against this backdrop, the 2016 congress will be hosted under the theme “Leveraging our high endemicity, cultural diversity, and intact ecosystems for inclusive growth and secure futures.” The congress will focus on the following sub themes; (i) state of biodiversity and ecological functions of the Guiana Shield, (ii) biodiversity and communities: contribution/role of local and indigenous communities, (iii) biodiversity and climate, (iv) mainstreaming biodiversity in sustainable development and (V) gender and vulnerable groups.

Background to the Congress

In 2002, a Priority Setting Workshop was held through the collaboration of Conservation International, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN-NL) and the Guiana Shield Initiative in Paramaribo, Suriname. The workshop which focused on the holistic nature of the problems confronting the Guiana Shield as a unit resulted in the signing of the Paramaribo Declaration. One of the key decisions of the workshop was to hold a Biennial Congress on the biodiversity of the Guiana Shield. In support of the Congress, it was proposed that an International Society of the Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield (IBG) be established as the main vehicle for cooperation in this regard. The first International Congress on was held in 2006 in Venezuela, the second in 2010 in Macapa, Brazil and the third in 2013 in Paramaribo Suriname.

Guyana to Host International Biodiversity Congress

At the Third International Congress on held in Suriname during August 2013, the General Assembly of the International Society for Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield (IBG) unanimously awarded the hosting of the Fourth International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield 2016 to Guyana.

The GSBE is coordinating the work of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the hosting of the Congress scheduled to take place during August 8 – 12, 2016 in City of Georgetown, Guyana. The LOC is being supported by the Government of Guyana through the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Guiana Shield Facility and by the offices of the World Wildlife Fund Guianas, Iwokrama International Centre, Conservation International – Guyana, and the University of Guyana. The 2016 Congress was officially launched in Guyana on Thursday 10th September, 2015 under the distinguished patronage of Ms. Khadija Musa, Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (Guyana).

A Congress Secretariat has been established at the UNDP’s office at 42 Brickdam and United Nations Place, Georgetown. The Secretariat can be reached via telephone at (592) 226-4040 (ext. 267), or via email at or

Partners Messages

Guyana is proud to be a part of the rich heritage of the Guiana Shield countries. The diversity of our ecosystems, the richness and depth of our pristine forests, the majestic waterfalls, rivers and all the invaluable faunal species constitute Guyana’s national patrimony. The nurturing and protection of our biodiversity is a priority of my Government, and as such efforts by civil society groups like the GSBE which promote the preservation and wise management of this gift must be lauded.
Hon. Raphael G.C Trotman, Minister of Governance
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment

The University of Guyana (UG) is very pleased to be a partner institution for Guyana’s hosting of the IV International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield in August 2016. This event undoubtedly provides an opportunity for the sharing of knowledge, research experience and ideas which will be pivotal to policy making in countries in the Guiana Shield, where efforts to balance resource use and conservation are ongoing. Moreover, the Congress provides Guyana with a unique opportunity to showcase its rich biological and cultural diversity. Given the importance of this august academic gathering, UG guarantees its participation in the planning and preparation process and the full involvement of its researchers in the delivery of scholarly papers. School holidays in Guyana.
The University of Guyana (UG)

People need Nature! This call of Conservation International (CI) globally, resounds in the Guiana Shield – part of our planet’s largest remaining intact tropical landscape – where the culture and wellbeing of people are wrapped together with nature. CI-Guyana supports the hosting of the IV International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield to stimulate dialogue around the inextricable link between Nature and Human Wellbeing. The creation and sharing of knowledge of the Shield’s biodiversity and ecosystems in support of development for this and all future generations is critical and must not be left to chance. Hosting the Congress in Guyana as it celebrates 50 Years of Independence provides the opportunity to emphasise the leadership role that Nations of this important eco-region must take to secure people’s future through attention to its biodiversity and ecosystems.
Conservation International Guyana

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Guiana Shield Facility (GSF) supports the International Society for Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield (IBG), which exists to foster and develop education and research in all disciplines contributing to the knowledge and stewardship of the biodiversity of the Guiana Shield and the conservation, preservation, and sustainable management of its natural, rural and urban ecosystems. The Biodiversity Congress is recognized by the UNDP/GSF as an ecoregional forum to stimulate and support the generation and exchange of knowledge between researchers, academics, and practitioners. With technical guidance and support from the UNDP/GSF, the 2016 Congress will provide an opportunity to draw attention to Guyana’s rich cultural and biological diversity and reiterate the call for transboundary cooperation to preserve the largest complex of uninterrupted, intact primary tropical rain forest in the
United Nations Development Programme / Guiana Shield Facility

The Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development manages a significant portion of intact tropical rain forest in Central Guyana, bestowed by the Government of Guyana to the international community for research and development. The Centre is very important in demonstrating conservation and sustainable management and use of natural assets nationally, robot-tondeuse GPS and in the larger frame, globally.
Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Research and Development

WWF Guianas works with stakeholders and partners across the three Guianas to support interventions that facilitate sustainable development whilst ensuring environmental safeguards. Our long term vision is to ensure that “the rich and globally significant landscapes of the Guianas are safeguarded for future generations whilst delivering tangible sustained benefits for people and nature”. As the only international organisation operating across all three Guianas and within a broader Latin American and Caribbean Programme], WWF embraces the regional approach to conservation as promoted by the IV International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield (ICBGS-IV). WWFGuianas supports the ICBGS-IV (as we have previous congresses) including the co-financing of the Guyana Society for Biodiversity and Ecosystems (GSBE)
World Wildlife Fund - Guianas

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Patrick Chesney
Programme Specialist and Assistant Resident Representative / Programme

Dr. Robert J. Liliehom
E.L. Giddings Chair in Forest Policy at the University of Maine.

Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier
Executive Vice Chair Conservation International

Dr. Martín von Hildebrand
Director and Founder of Gaia Amazon Foundation

Dr. Dayna Baumeister
Co-­‐Founder & Keystone, Biomimicry 3.8 Co-­‐Director, ASU Biomimicry Center

Dr. Graham Watkins
Principal Environmental Specialist, of Climate Change and Sustainability Division of the Inter-American Development Bank

Some Presenters

42 Brickdam and United Nations Place, Brickdam Georgetown, Guyana (592) 226-4040 Ext 267