Norway agreement still on the cards – GFC continues Monitoring Reporting & Verification System

DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The agreement between Guyana and the Kingdom of Norway is still on the cards, and according to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), the regulatory agency continues to be integrally involved in the Monitoring Reporting & Verification System (MRVS).

Pradeepa Bholanath, Head of Planning and Development

GFC’s head of Planning and Development, Pradeepa Bholanath told a news conference on Monday, February 19, that the agreement is in a period of no-cost extension, which sees the continued implementation of key activities.

The GFC has been involved specifically in two areas of work. Those are the annual report on the state of forests, captured under the MRVS. That work saw the completion of six annual assessments for the years 2010 through 2016.

Bholanath said the key drivers of forest change, mining, forest infrastructure and agriculture have all declined.

“We have seen the deforestation drive of mining reduce form where it was at 85 percent to now 73 percent, so that is an important point of note.”

Another role the GFC has been playing is measuring the governance indicators. These include the work of the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT), a key part in the bilateral trade negotiations between the government of Guyana and the EU.

“We are on the cusp of finalising negotiations with the EU and that will see sometime over the course of this year, a trade agreement hopefully being finalised.”

The second part of the governance work program under the Norway agreement includes a program called Independent Forest Monitoring. That program, she explained, is under its third biannual assessment.

Only a week ago, auditors from the United Kingdom (UK) completed the forest legality assessment here and concluded that there are no major or minor corrective actions identified for the sector. Apart from a few recommendations that could aid improvement, everything has been working well.

“So that is a takeaway message for us to keep on going with some of the key guidelines we have been implementing and also to focus on the areas of recommendation which have been pointed.”

By: Alexis Rodney

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