President David Granger committed to ensuring that Guyana preserved its land assets and promoted more efficient mining and logging practices at a signing ceremony for a US$15 million project for the implementation of a four-year Sustainable Land Development and Management Programme (SLDMP).The sum was acquired by the Project Management Office (PMO) of the Ministry of the Presidency, under the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), which is a fund for the financing of activities identified under the Low Carbon DevelopmentMinister of State, Joseph Harmon; Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Reuben Robinson and Finance Minister Winston Jordan sign the Project document as Commissioner Trevor Benn and staff of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) look onStrategy (LCDS). The fund receives money from Norway based on an independent verification of Guyana’s deforestation and forest degradation rates and progress on REDD+ enabling activities.The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), with support from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Guyana, will be the executing agency.In his remarks to the heads of agencies and other Government and non-governmental functionaries gathered in the Baridi Benab at State House, President Granger said that Guyana’s land-based natural capital must be managed sustainably if present and future generations were to enjoy the ‘good life’. He noted that Guyana has made progress on the crafting of its Framework Document of the Green State Development Strategy in order to ensure sustainable development. Sustainable land development is essential to protecting the nation’s natural patrimony and ensuring economic development.President Granger noted that the increased demand for land for farming, logging and mining has increased the threats to the country’s natural capital and was the main cause of deforestation. Small-scale mining alone accounted for 89 per cent of deforestation over the past three years while river mining was polluting the waterways on which many hinterland residents still depended for bathing, drinking purposes, fishing and washing, the Head of State said.The President said that Guyana’s green development agenda demanded the fulfilment of these environmental obligations and the adoption of practices to better manage land resources and the augmentation of institutional capacity to improve monitoring and verification of land use.Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who signed the document on behalf of the Government of Guyana, in his remarks, said that the Government welcomed the project, which has been designed to ensure that the productivity and economic potential of land were maintained even as the natural resources were used to streamline and develop the ‘green’ economy.Head of the PMO, Marlon Bristol said that the GRIF has taken keen interest in projects that reduce emissions from degradation and deforestation. It is with this mandate, he said, that the GRIF funds have been allocated for sustainable land management. “In this context, putting to use degraded lands provides a great opportunity and impetus for the establishment of a ‘green’ state,” he said.