Amerindian Association launches project to monitor illegal logging in hinterland communities

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The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) has officially launched a project that will see communities in the hinterland region being better able to tackle the issue of illegal logging.

A Supporting Priority Action for Amerindian Communities to Participate in the Guyana Voluntary Partnership Agreement Process was launched on Tuesday.

The US$70,000 project is being executed by the APA and will be done within a 15-month time-span.

With support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), it is believed that Amerindian villages will be better equipped to independently monitor the legality compliance in the timber supply chain here.

FAO Representative to Guyana, Reuben Robertson said it is also expected that all activities including the drawing down of funds will be concluded within such period of the project implementation.

“In essence when we speak about good governance ensuring that we do things the legal way for sustainable forestry management…what are we trying to do is ensure that you make a livelihood on a sustainable basis that we ensure that you have sustainable food security and at the same time we address issues related to climate change” Robertson said.

He noted that the expectation is that the monies allocated under the project will be used primarily for the purposes intended to be able to garner the required outcomes of the project.

It is the hope of the FAO that the project to contribute to poverty alleviation, food security, climate change mitigation and improved livelihood.

The Amerindian Peoples Association Forest Policy Officer, Michael McGarrel said community involvement will help better design monitoring systems.

McGarrel said “many times we have systems which are developed on the outside and it comes down to you, so you have to follow that system, what about if we as communities can develop our own systems, what about if we say you know what we would like to monitor these aspects of the whole process…it gives us a little more…scope in terms of what we can look for because we can say we are living there, we’re the ones on the ground we understand the complexities of our environment so wouldn’t it be good if we can design our own thing? This is what we’re going to test”.

Over the next two days, he disclosed that the different representatives from the Regions will look at developing a framework and developing an ethnic protocol which will be taken to the community for tests to determine what is effective.

Illegal logging and its associated trade according to international bodies lead to the loss of revenue, environmental and social damages.

An important aspect of the Action Plan is ensuring that only legally produced timber and timber products are exported to the European Union.

Once Guyana would have completed all the necessary phases of the agreement, it is then it will become law in the EU and the partner country.

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