Guyana is known for its vast natural resources, including pristine waters and endangered wildlife species, which must be protected against external forces and manmade activities.Frontera Energy Corporation Vice President Duncan NightingaleThis was shared by Vice President of Operations Development at Frontera Energy Corporation, Duncan Nightingale during a recent engagement at the University of Guyana.According to him, “Your country is rich in its diversity, not just in the environment you have but also in the forest…I expect, with the density of those forests and the amount of wildlife that you have in those forests, you’ve got a very rich environment that must be protected”.Nightingale, who has worked in various parts of the world, lauded the importance of sustainability. He referred to programmes in Colombia which managed to remove persons from poverty by providing them with jobs in agriculture.“The most important part, for me, is the sustainability part. We went into the jungles and we put in different agricultural programmes that allowed the communities to transition basically from slave labour [and] working for drug cartels and moving into sustainable agricultural development and revenue generation for their families. We lifted, in a very short period of time, 220 families out of poverty,” he explained.As Guyana moves into oil production in 2020, there have been talks on not just the country’s natural resources but other major problems and preventative measures.Last month it was announced that Guyana’s National Oil Spill Response Contingency Plan is 90 per cent complete.Consultation development of the oil spill response plan commenced in 2017 with technical support from the United States Coast Guard. In February of this year, more emphasis was placed on the development of the plan and a National Oil Spill Planning Committee. The committee comprised representatives from the CDC, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Guyana Energy Agency, Maritime Administration, Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency.It was noted that operators in Guyana’s basin are also required to have an oil spill plan which must be approved by the CDC. In the event of a spill offshore, each operator is responsible for responding and managing that spill.Regional advisor from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Colin Young had also indicated that efforts must be made to protect marine life through acquisition of the IMO standards, which also govern safety and security of exploration vessels.He said the Government “is urged to consider that implementation is critical to safeguarding Guyana’s marine environment within which port-state inspection plays a crucial role in ensuring that shipping takes place securely, safely, and efficiently on clean oceans”.The IMO is considered a global agency, which creates standards and regulates the performance of international shipping. Through a regulatory framework, it ensures that these standards are adopted and implemented, eliminating a pathway for ship operators to cut costs by running unsafe operations.