– feasibility study to determine specific areas for fundingBy Jarryl BryanExxonMobil’s on Monday made a commitment that its philanthropic arm will be investing US$10 million into Guyana’s conservation efforts and in collaborations with the University of Guyana.Conservation International Guyana and the University of Guyana will be recipients of the US$10 million grant coming from the ExxonMobil FoundationThe ExxonMobil Foundation in the United States engages in a number of philanthropic activities with a focus on advancing education and training. With the company’s local subsidiary having discovered in excess of three billion barrels of recoverable oil off Guyana’s coast since 2015, the Foundation has turned its attention to Guyana.According to a statement from the company, the US$10 million will be provided in tranches over a period of five years, with part of the money intended for Conservation International Guyana. The initial grant money will fund a feasibility study that would work out the scope of the programme.“Once defined, Conservation International Guyana and the University of Guyana will deliver the education, training, research and retention programmes that would help ensure that economic growth reinforces Guyana’s environmental development goals. The investment is also intended to expand conservation areas in the Rupununi Wetlands”, a statement from the company has said.According to that statement, money will go towards “mangrove restoration, and management and support improvements to community-based fishing on Guyana’s coast, a sector the Government of Guyana has identified as critically important to the wellbeing of the Guyanese people, and support the work of the University of Guyana’s Greening Research and Innovation Centres.”President of the ExxonMobil Foundation, Kevin Murphy, was quoted as affirming that money will go towards supporting the Government’s objectives in the Green State Development Strategy.“This partnership will support the highest conservation priorities for the country, as well as education and training for sustainable employment,” he said. “It (also) demonstrates the value we place on our long-term relationship with the citizens of Guyana.”Meanwhile, Chairman of the University of Guyana Council, Professor Nigel E. Harris, related in the statement that the funding presented an opportunity to build relevant capacity to train students, and revamp the university’s research and outreach capabilities.“A central feature of Guyana’s development plans is its Green State Development Strategy which envisions a commitment to a green economy, sustainable development, and protection of its forests and fresh water resources aligned with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” Professor Harris has said.“Funding support for a collaborative effort between Guyana’s leading university, Conservation International and ExxonMobil Foundation promises a critical opportunity to build relevant teaching, research, and outreach capacity at our university that is necessary to underpin Guyana’s 2030 vision for an inclusive, green and prosperous state”, the statement has also said.With initiatives in place like the 371,000 hectares of forest preserved at Iwokrama, Guyana is an important part of conservation and as a carbon market. Iwokrama is dedicated as a place of research, and its forests account for 1.6 per cent of Guyana’s land mass. Its 371,000 hectares is also equivalent to two per cent of Guyana’s forests.The Iwokrama centre itself was established in 1996 in order to manage the forest area. This was arrived at following an agreement between the then Government and the Commonwealth Secretariat.The United Nations (UN) has classified combating climate change as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 13. According to the organisers of World Earth Day, at least two million people die globally from indoor and outdoor pollution. It is also estimated that by the year 2030, food prices will go up by 50 per cent due to climate change.The rising temperature, global warming, and other ecological imbalances are due to the fact that half of the world’s rainforests are gone. The deaths of 70,000 persons in Europe were due to rising temperatures in 2003. These imbalances are also leading to frequent flooding and other disasters across the globe, which include forest fires, again impacting the trees.