|Posted by haimdatsawh on March 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Guyana to enter forestry p'ship with the EU
Written by Kwesi Isles Friday, 09 March 2012 13:48
The Guyana government has agreed to sign on to the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade programme (EU FLEGT) which will see only legally harvested timber exported to the bloc as one of the key pillars.
Natural Resources and the Environment Minister Robert Persaud told reporters on Friday that the government formally expressed its intention to do so to the EU Delegation in Georgetown on Thursday.
“It’s a voluntary programme but also it is one in which demonstrates Guyana’s commitment in ensuring that we practice in terms of the forestry sector and the utilization our resources we maintain international benchmarks,” the minister said.
“Being committed to this arrangement will not see a disruption to any particular activity, be it forestry, be it mining or any of the natural resources activities that we have.”
The voluntary partnership agreement also promotes better enforcement of forest law and promotes an inclusive approach involving civil society and the private sector.
Persaud noted that joining the programme had also been part of the agreement between Guyana and Norway which is providing this country with US$250M over five years for eco-services.
Consultation with forestry stakeholders was conducted with local forestry stakeholders on several occasions last year, Persaud said and it is hoped that discussions will start immediately on the next step.
He added that joining the programme is also necessary if Guyana is to maintain its forestry market in Europe.
“Last year we exported close to US$7M in forestry products to Europe and Europe has been a growing market and certainly Europe is demanding that countries that export too are compliant and also be part of the EU FLEGT programme so if we want to maintain and even enlarge our forest market share in Europe this is also a necessary requirement.”
According to Persaud, because there has been sound sustainable forest management practice at the national level compliance with the programme would not see Guyana having to invest a large sum or make any radical policy changes.
“It’s more or less honing and tuning what we have to ensure that we’re also compliant to the European partnership … but there will be some outlay, both from the stakeholders and from the government standpoint but our intention is to work very closely with the stakeholders to build capacity,” he said.
A lot of the changes operators would have to make would be in the area of record-keeping and strengthening management systems, Persaud added. He noted there is already some level of compliance in these areas.
Persaud said the government will be talking to the EU and other partners about the provision of assistance to help build local capacity for compliance with EU FLEGT.