Forest operators benefit from capacity building project
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, March 29, 2018
Forest operators can now function more efficiently following the conclusion of a US$108,000 internationally funded capacity building project.
The project is funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in partnership with the European Union (EU) and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). It forms part of Guyana’s preparation for entrance into the EU-FLEGT programme as negotiations are finalised on the on the EU-FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).During the closing ceremony for the project on Wednesday, March 28, at the Cara Lodge, Hotel, President of the Forestry Producers Association (FPA), Deonarine Ramsaroop explained it is critical that forestry activities be carried out in accordance with the laws and regulations of Guyana.
“It’s not that we’re bringing the European law to our country we want to ensure that what we’re doing, it is being done legally and sustainably so that when we access the European market we have a certificate that says our products coming from Guyana has been sustainably harvested and that is our main objective.”
The FPA President underscored that the two major objectives of the project were to address the issues of forestry and mining and to enlighten stakeholders on the legalities of their operations through training.
Though this is an important milestone in the certification process, FLEGT Facilitator, Lawrence Latchmansingh noted that there are still other critical steps to be completed.
“There is a certain amount of ratification that has to happen, both in Guyana through our parliament and in EU through their parliament, then after that, you go through an implementation before licensing happens for our private sector and exporting friends.”
The FLEGT facilitator pointed out that the FAO funded project is also aimed at bolstering the increase in exportation of forest product to the EU from four percent.
The project was executed through four different workshops in Kwakwani, Corentyne, Parika, and Georgetown; and site visits with small operators in the timber sector to inform them about the VPA in the context of annexes.
The Project’s Coordinator, Khalawan spoke of some of the findings. “At the first workshop in Kwakwani, the participants said they are happy that we did it and they would like to see more information being disseminated other than from annexes. The second workshop was in Corentyne and participants wanted to know what’s next after the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). The next one was at Parika and several persons had different interpretations of the forest and its laws and the final one was held in Georgetown, from discussions we can say persons understand what needs to be done.”
Other findings revealed the lack of knowledge of FLEGT by operators and legal framework regulation issues (inadequate training of employees, lack or neglect of, health and safety equipment).
Guyana and the EU shared an assessment that the forestry sector can play a major role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. In this context, EU adapted the FLEGT action plan in 2003 as a response to illegal logging which covers both supply and measures.
By: Ranetta La Fleur