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The Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development is an autonomous non-profit institution established by Guyana and the Commonwealth. The Centre manages the nearly one million acre (371,000 hectares) Iwokrama Forest in central Guyana to show how tropical forests can be conserved and sustainably used to provide ecological, social and economic benefits to local, national and international communities.

A Model Partnership of

Traditional Knowledge, Science & Business

Iwokrama "learns by doing". It builds partnerships with local communities and the private sector. These partnerships combine traditional knowledge, science and business to develop "green", socially responsible and sustainable forest products and services, like low-impact timber harvesting, ecotourism, training forest rangers and guides, and harvesting aquarium fish. Businesses provide local and national benefits, and so help maintain international biodiversity and climate.

Iwokrama evaluates the social, economic and ecological changes that occur as a result of business development. The objective is to become a model for business development that results in the worldwide conservation of tropical forests.

At 1000 metres high, the Iwokrama Mountains form the geographic focal point of the Forest; they once provided a "place of refuge" for the Makushi people. The Centre and Forest are named after this striking formation, now a refuge for people and wildlife. and an extraordinary mission.

Mission Statement

Promoting the conservation and the sustainable and equitable use of tropical rain forests in a manner that leads to lasting ecological, economic, and social benefits to the people of Guyana and to the world in general, by undertaking research, training, and the development and dissemination of technologies.

A Concept

Iwokrama International Centre has its origins in an offer made in 1989 by then President of Guyana, Desmond Hoyte, on the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malaysia. The overall concept, including the identification of the forest site, was developed jointly by a Guyanese inter-agency team headed by the Guyana Natural Resources Agency, and by a Commonwealth Group of Experts headed by the eminent Indian Scientist, Dr. Swaminathan. The Report was presented on June 5th, 1990 to mark World Environment Day.


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Over the next few years, guidelines for the management of the site were outlined by Guyanese and international consultants. In 1993, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) signed an agreement to grant US$3 million as seed funding to assist with the development of the Programme. By 1994, a functional field station was established in the Iwokrama Forest to enable research and training.

An Agreement

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in November 1995, President Cheddi Jagan, and Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, signed the Agreement which defines the objectives, functions, and organisation of Iwokrama. This Agreement forms part of the enabling legislation tabled in Parliament in late December 1995.

A Law

On March 14, 1996 the National Assembly (Parliament) of Guyana passed the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development Act with the unanimous approval of both sides of the house. The Act was signed into law on May 12, 1996 by President Cheddi Jagan.

Iwokrama recognises that it will only succeed in the long term if it has the understanding and involvement of the neighbouring communities, businesses and people like you.

Friends of Iwokrama, Donors and Sponsors are an important part of our success, and have a huge impact on our conservation effort. By contributing, you will be supporting a programme which directly benefits the people - this includes sustainable agriculture, alternative income generation, and health and environment education. All of these will help reduce the pressure of the "slash and bun" agriculture, cattle ranching, and logging.

Working Collectively: Iwokrama Staff and Local Amerindian

For more information, please contact Melina Kalamandeen


Write to:

Iwokrama International Centre

77 High Street, Kingston,

Georgetown, Guyana, South America

Tel: 592-225-1504

Fax: 592-225-9199


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