How timber trade deal talks with EU improved governance in Guyana
The process of negotiating a timber-trade deal with the EU has improved forest governance in Guyana, and more gains are expected as implementation gets underway.
“There is now a greater awareness of forests and greater appreciation for them,” says James Singh, Head of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). “People have realised forests are not only a source of timber, but that they also provide environmental services, are a source of non-timber forest products, have a cultural and spiritual relevance, and are home to biodiversity. The VPA has been crucial in improving public perceptions.”
The VPA to which Singh refers is the Guyana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement, a deal negotiated between 2012 and 2018 to promote legal timber trade and sustainable forest management. Even before Guyana begins to implement the VPA, it is clear that the process has brought benefits.
It has led to important legal reforms and has improved governance in other ways, by fostering consultation in decision-making processes and strengthening coordination among government agencies.