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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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