Guyana-EU FLEGT VPA to be implemented by year end
DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, June 29, 2017
By year end, Guyana will officially sign the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU). This was revealed to the Department of Public Information/ Government Information Agency (GINA) by European Forest Institute (EFI) Representative Didier Devers at the finale round of the VPA stakeholders’ meeting on Thursday June 28, 2017 at Cara lodge. This was the first of twelve meetings to be held within the coming months.
Devers related that the field tests carried out by the National Technical Working Groups’ (NTWG) 2017 round of consultations have been quite successful. “Guyana is well on its way” towards ensuring that timber exports are legal and there is a transparent process. Stakeholders (Government agencies, the private sector and indigenous people) have been working to strengthen the VPA annexes to address gaps and opportunities the field testing identified”, Devers added.
Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) Representative Kenny David explained that the consultations have been beneficial to government agencies. He noted, “There is a genuine willingness to work. Stakeholders are now seeing a global approach. It is exciting being part of a process like this.”
Once Guyana begins FLEGT licensing, the products covered by the VPA will only be exported to the EU, accompanied by FLEGT licenses attesting to their legality.
Guyana is building on existing systems to ensure the VPA is easily implementable and achievable, according Deonarine
Ramsaroop, President of The Forest Products Association (FPA).
The European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EU-FLEGT) programme Action Plan was created in 2003 because of growing concern over the illegal logging of forests, particularly in the tropics. Guyana is one of nine countries that are currently in the FLEGT negotiation process, which uses a licensing system to ensure timber exported to the EU has been harvested in accordance with local laws.
According to the EU FLEGT website, the EU’s strategy involves entering into a bilateral trade agreement between the EU and a timber-exporting country, through a voluntary process whereby, “the timber-producing country develops systems to verify that its timber exports are legal, and the EU agrees to accept only licensed imports from that country.” In December 2012, Guyana and the EU began negotiating VPA negotiations, the process includes field testing. Through wide participation, the process aims to foster significant national ownership, stakeholder engagement and a broad consensus that will promote effective VPA implementation.
By: Zanneel Williams