Tag Archive for: Guyana

The EU and Guyana sign an agreement on sustainable trade of legal timber

On 15 December, the European Union and the Government of Guyana signed a legally binding trade agreement to promote sustainable trade of legal timber to the EU. The signing of this deal, known as a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), took place at the 15 Biodiversity COP in Montreal.

The VPA will give EU-based timber buyers assurance that timber products from Guyana are legal. It will help improve forest governance, tackle illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products. Through the implementation of the VPA, the country will improve market access for law-abiding businesses, as well as modernise its forestry sector, create jobs, promote sustainable development and protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

Signing of the VPA. From the left to the right: Mr. Vickram Outar Bharrat – Minister of Natural Resources of Guyana; Mr. Jan Dusík – Deputy Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic, EU presidency of the Council; Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius – European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. Source: European Commission

Under the VPA, Guyana commits to developing a timber legality assurance system to assess that timber products – for all stages of the supply chain – have been produced in accordance with national legislation. When this system is operational, Guyana can issue verified legal timber products with FLEGT licences. The licence certifies that the timber or timber products exported under that licence are legal.

Guyana is the first country in the Amazon region and the second in the Americas – following Honduras – to sign a VPA on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) with the European Union. The signature marks the end of a 10-year negotiation process, and consolidates Guyana’s position as a frontrunner in the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of forests.

Following the signing of the deal, Guyana and the EU each need to ratify the VPA, according to their respective procedures. Forest stakeholders as the private sector, indigenous peoples, local communities and civil society, have all been closely involved in the negotiation of the agreement, alongside with the Government and EU representatives. They will continue to play a key role throughout the implementation phase.

In parallel to the VPA, Guyana is also one of the first five countries worldwide that signed a Forest Partnership with the EU. The aim of such a partnership is to strengthen cooperation on forests and make an important contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including addressing the challenges of climate change.

Author: FLEGT.org Info

Guyana and EU join forces to meet highest international standards on export of legal timber

On 27 October 2022, representatives of Guyana and the European Union convened at a Pre-Joint Monitoring and Review Committee (Pre-JMRC) meeting, to review progress of the implementation of the Guyana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The Agreement will help improve forest governance and sustainable forestry and verify the trade in legal timber.

During the meeting, the Parties indicated they will endeavour to sign the Agreement before the end of 2022. The VPA will raise industry standards and living conditions of the sector. After Guyana and the EU sign and ratify the VPA, its commitments will become legally binding.

Representatives of Guyana and the EU at the Pre-Joint Monitoring and Review Committee (Pre-JMRC) meeting to review progress of the implementation of the Guyana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Source: EFI

According to René Van Nes, Ambassador of the European Union to Guyana, “the VPA spearheads Guyana as a global pioneer of sustainable forest management”.

The signature and subsequent ratification will mark the end of a 10-year negotiation process. Guyana will thereupon join a selected group of African, American and Asian countries committed to the protection of their forests. Guyana will become the first VPA country in the Amazon region, and the second in the Americas, after Honduras; making it a frontrunner in sustainable forest management, adhering to the highest international standards.

The Honorable Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Vickram Bharat, stated that “the Pre-JMRC meetings continue to highlight Guyana’s continued commitment to the VPA process and the broader initiatives to improve forest governance. He further stated that the VPA and the agreements reached are all part of the Government’s commitment under the Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030 aimed at promoting a green economy”.

The Parties agreed to focus their efforts on the further development and implementation of strengthened operational procedures for the sector, and a robust paper-based and digital traceability system of logs and timber that meets the VPA’s requirements. To ensure these priorities will be met in time, Guyana and the EU agreed on a detailed work plan.

The Parties also discussed how they will continue to engage with national and international stakeholders interested in VPA implementation. They committed to putting in place a range of tools to ensure that interested audiences can follow the developments and impacts of VPA implementation.

Representatives of the private sector and civil society, including indigenous peoples’ organisations, presented the issues they would like to bring to the table. Guyana and the EU also discussed next steps in the development of an approach to protect the traditional rights of Amerindian peoples.

Through the VPA’s implementation, Guyana will further strengthen the sustainable use of its forest resources, reduce illegal timber trade and better modernise timber operations, thereby ensuring that forestry brings green jobs in the formal economy. The VPA also includes commitments to improve transparency, accountability, legislative clarity and other aspects of governance.

Good governance of Guyana’s forests is crucial to sustainable development. Moreover, it helps both Guyana and the EU contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including by mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity.

The next meeting of the Joint Monitoring and Review Committee is scheduled to take place in May 2023.

Author: FLEGT.org Info