On a cool grey day in Belgium last month, a group of visitors from Guyana gathered at Antwerp port and imagined a future in which their country’s timber products flow freely into the EU, bypassing red tape because every item has been verified to be legal.
It’s hard to follow the law when the law doesn’t follow itself, and this has long been a challenge for the timber sector in Guyana. Inconsistencies in the legal framework there have made it difficult for businesses involved in harvesting and processing wood from Guyana’s forests to follow the law. It has also made it difficult for authorities to enforce it. But that all changed this year, when Guyana enacted much-needed reforms.
The EU and Guyana have concluded negotiations on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The agreement will help improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products.
The European Forest Institute has issued a call Facilitation services for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements in Ghana, Liberia, Republic of the Congo, Guyana. The objective of the assignment is that an international service provider will provide a FLEGT facilitation service in four VPA partner countries which are Ghana, Liberia, Republic of the Congo and Guyana in a format of a Facilitation Unit.
FLEGT VPAs are not just about delivering legal timber to the EU, but ensuring greater stakeholder participation in timber sector decision-making in supplier countries to the benefit of ordinary people. Mike Jeffree reports on progress in Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Liberia and Vietnam.
Guyana is a step closer towards concluding a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU), after completing a significant milestone in the negotiation process. Known as field testing, this phase enables stakeholders to evaluate progress and make recommendations for the successful completion of the VPA negotiations.
Guyana needs to ensure that the transition from negotiating to implementing its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU is highly participatory and receives adequate technical, financial and political support.