Guyana and EU test timber legality agreement on the ground
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.
The field test enabled stakeholders to assess the practicality and credibility of the VPA’s legality definition and legality verification procedures, as well as the readiness of government agencies to implement the Guyana timber legality assurance system.
For two weeks in June, representatives from government, the private sector, indigenous peoples’ groups and civil society organisations, travelled to regions across the country and gathered views of some 150 stakeholders, who assessed the main sections of the VPA.
Stakeholders in Guyana are now working to strengthen the VPA annexes to address gaps and opportunities the field testing identified.
Guyana has made substantial progress on its VPA since negotiations began in December 2012. The VPA aims to address the illegal trade of timber. Once ratified, the VPA will commit both parties to trade only legal timber and timber products. The VPA will cover Guyana’s domestic market as well as its exports to the EU.