Guyana was charged with the responsibility to press Brazil for the Amazon Fund to be expended for Guiana Shield biodiversity scientific research on Monday when President David Granger declared the Fourth International Congress on Biodiversity of Guiana Shield open.United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Khadija Musa stated that the Fund was overloaded with resources that could be utilised for research. “There is no doubt that the Guiana Shield is worth protecting,” she said, adding that it was critical for the respective governments to tap into the resources that the Fund possesses.The main purpose of the Amazon Fund is to provide support for projects to stop, observe and combat deforestation, as well as for the conservation and sustainable use of forests in the Amazon.She proposed that since it was laden with a vast number of resources, there was no reason why the Shield should not receive funding.The IV International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield is a forum organised by several local partners that sees the participations of scientists, policy makers, Private Sector entities and other stakeholders from across the Region and beyond.This five-day congress will be in session from August 8 to 12 and is expected to identify, discuss and analyse problems and issues confronting the sustainable use of resources in the Shield; suggest modalities for information sharing and technology transfer; propose solutions to problems and navigate the way forward to a sustainable future for the use of the biological resources of the Region.The UNDP representative added that the countries should be proud of their research in Region since it was crucial to the development and sustenance of the ecosystem.At the opening ceremony, President Granger suggested that since the world was under threat from human activities that decimate the environment and cause global warming, the Shield’s existence was important. He stated that it was the organisation’s duty to protect and preserve the ecosystem.Currently, the Guiana Shield comprises six nations which have dedicated their forests to conservation.Granger proposed that it was crucial for the Shield to receive funding to carry out its mandate. He also suggested the establishment of a permanent institution aimed at protecting, conserving and sustaining the Guiana Shield biodiversity.He said such an institution should be a functioning scientific research institute and be a secretariat to coordinate efforts and combine the works of the Shield. He also touted that there should be a comprehensive biodiversity policy developed to assist with information sharing.Real workMeanwhile, Professor Marten Schalkwijk, who is the Chairman of the International Society for Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield (IBG), stated that the congress brings the countries together to share information and discuss ways to do more to better the ecosystem.He indicated that there were 27 different subject areas with 127 papers on species studies and species conservation to be discussed. High on the agenda is the issue of mining and mercury.Dr Schalkwijk said they had an important role to play to make a proper assessment of the ecosystem and advise policy-makers on what could be done.“An international congress is nice, but the real work is done in each of our countries. If we do not research in our own countries, there will be nothing to report in the paper proposals,” he noted, further stating that if they did not research, they would not be able to attract members to the local chapter and if they did not have a strong local chapter, “we will not be able to attract funding for research, so we have to step up the process in our own countries”.The University of Guyana (UG) has joined in preserving the ecosystem, and according to Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, the University’s academic board will met today when he will propose the upgrading of the School of Earth and Environmental Science.He also stated that UG would be rolling out its first doctorate programme on biodiversity the 2016/2017 academic year. This congress is testimony of a commitment to do more for the ecosystem, Griffith noted.The congress is in partnership with the Natural Resources Ministry, the University of Guyana, UNDP Guyana, WWF Guianas, CI Guyana and the Iwokrama International Centre.