Private forestry operators’ to be more efficient through FAO, EU-FLEGT project
DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Friday, June 16, 2017
Private forestry operators are benefitting from a project that will build their capacity to operate more efficiently in the forestry sector as Guyana continues its preparations for entering the European Union- Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EU-FLEGT) programme. Guyana is in the process of finalising negotiations on the EU-FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) which seeks to certify Guyana’s forest products for export to the EU.
The United Nations(UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in partnership with European Union, Government of Sweden and the UK Aid provided a US 108,000 grant to the forestry producers association. Today this grant was being utilised in the, “Building Awareness and Capacity of Private Sector Operators” project at the Cara Lodge.
Project Coordinator, Mona Bynoe said the project is striving to increase the knowledge of the private forestry operators especially in the terms of the technical context of the annexes of the VPA and what it means for their operations. Bynoe said it is hoped that the project will strengthen forest governance to achieve sustainable forest management. The project is also expected to increase access to market for the operators.
Bynoe further explained that many local operators do not fully understand the annexes and need to be educated. “Together Guyana and EU has started looking at the framework in a four phase road map if we need our producers to get onboard it doesn’t matter if the policy is in place but if the producers are not willing to practice, it doesn’t make sense.”
During execution of the project there will be mentoring with some small operators for them to become compliant with the Guyana timber regulations and field visits and conflict resolution workshops on forest and mining operations across Guyana. This will be done by simplifying the annexes.
The UN FAO is the custodian of the funding for the project which has duration of 15 months. FAO representative to Guyana, Reuben Robertson explained that it is necessary to engage the private sector and civil society to achieve stainable development.
Robertson said “as the custodians for these funds see it necessary and fundamental to be engaging the building capacity among these small loggers and organisations and agencies together with the private sector so that they can work with government to be able to achieve sustainable development.”
He added that the Forestry Product Association which has been in existence since 1944, has made small but significant contributions to the
society and must not be discounted. “They have been directly responsible for efforts aiming at protecting promoting and developing the common interest in the forest of Guyana and to promote best practices conducive to sustainable development and livelihood.”
Agriculture Programme Manager and Delegation of the European Union to Guyana Albert Losseau, spoke of Guyana’s relationship with EU. The EU and Guyana shared an assessment that climate change is a real threat to the planet at large and the forestry sector can play a major role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, Losseau noted.
He explained that it is in this context that the European Union adapted the FLEGT action plan in 2003 as a response to illegal logging which covers both supply and measures.
“I welcome that the FLEGT/VPA process will provide an opportunity to Guyana for further strength in ministering its consultation and engagement process to enhance forest government, improve legal compliance, and build in country capacity for community engagement in forest development and implementation,” Losseau underlined.
By: Ranetta La Fleur