National F0resty Policy review begins with stakeholder consultation
GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The revision of the National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS) was officially launched today, with the first of several NFPS’ and National Forest Plan.
Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman in opening remarks at the first round of consultation at the Umana Yana, Kingston, Georgetown, said the review is timely.
“Against the backdrop of changing circumstances globally and nationally, we are happy that this review is taking place, and out of which, we will have a policy that all of us- by all of us I mean government, civil society, and more importantly or most importantly the citizens of Guyana, can feel happy and comfortable with,” Minister Trotman noted.
Guyana’s National Forestry Policy was last updated in 2011. Since then, new policies like the green economy, a push for more conservation by the President and change in standards including the European Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT) have necessitated the need for a more relevant, useful and responsive policies and plans.
The government in November invited expressions of interests through the Ministry of Natural Resources which has oversight responsibility for the forestry sector. Local Guyanese firm, The Consultancy Group (TCG), won the bid to conduct the review process in January.
Professor Rory Fraser is the lead consultant and assures that his team is competent to undertake the review. “I think we have a complement
of people who can really help to understand the breaths of interests and activities in forest and how maybe we need to coalesce and make something more comprehensive and coherent about this particular patrimony,” Professor Fraser shared with stakeholders.
The team consists of foresters, an economist, social scientist and specialists in governance, information technology and facilitation and engagement.
TCG began work on the review process in February. The purpose of the project is to develop a plan in support of the policy, as well as programmes and activities in support of the plan and some ways of monitoring and evaluating accomplishments.
“What we’re going to try to do is get to put together a policy that is flexible and responsive, provide documents in support of it that will help the agencies involved, the organisations involved and most importantly civil society because we’re talking about the national patrimony,” Professor Fraser explained.
The revision will be carried out in three phases; the first phase will be consultations and this will be facilitated across the country.
Today’s consultation saw stakeholders sharing what is working well with the current Policy and Plan and what new issues should be considered. Stakeholders also shared the challenges encountered and their recommendations to address these challenges.
The consultations will also take into consideration issues like value added processes, mining and agriculture in the drafting of the revised NFPS.
The review process is expected to be completed by the end of August with a finalised updated draft policy pending approval in the National Assembly.
By: Tiffny Rhodius