‘Really impressive’ Guyana can soon be licensed under FLEGT


In 2022, Guyana signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) with the European Union (EU) along with other selected countries from Asia, Africa, and the Americas, committed to the protection of their forests.

One year later and with well-developed forest management practices that counter illegal logging and promote the sustainable use and trade of timber, the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Guyana, Ambassador René Van Nes believes the South American country can soon receive its FLEGT license.

Guyana was the first country in the Amazon region to sign onto FLEGT and with only one country licensed and another on its way, Van Nes is hopeful that Guyana can become the third country to be licensed.

But the clock is ticking for Guyana to meet the range of commitments and conditions that reassert its position as a frontrunner in sustainable forest management, adhering to the highest international standards.

The VPA also includes commitments to improve transparency, accountability, legislative clarity and other aspects of governance.

“Guyana has really well developed forest management practices… the practices are really impressive.

“Guyana is really up there in terms of forest practices,” Van Nes said, while pointing out the country’s very low deforestation rate.

Guyana has one of the largest remaining standing tropical rainforests in the world; for years, the country has managed to keep its deforestation rate at around 0.06 per cent.

European Union Ambassador to Guyana Rene Van Nes (Photo: Delano Williams)

FLEGT Licences will be issued when it is verified by both the European Union (EU) and Guyana that the Guyana Timber Legality Assurance System (GTLAS) works. Once FLEGT Licensing begins, a valid FLEGT Licence must accompany all exports to the EU of Guyanese timber-based products listed in Annex I of the VPA.

“The thing with deforestation you can monitor it from the sky, you can see it on satellite images

“We [the EU] are working with the [Guyana] Forestry Commission using EU forestry systems that works with high level resolution and has special modules to monitor deforestation.

“Guyana has made very good progress in meeting the stringent conditions [of FLEGT],” The Ambassador told local media operatives last week during an engagement.

And to support the progress made, another support programme will be rolled out this year to help communities, dependent on the forest, to build a sustainable livelihoods.

For this purpose, the EU has committed five million euros.

Atta Rainforest Lodge

“So we are not going to build a big fence around the forest and say don’t touch it but we will teach you how to use it in a sustainable way and if people can do that then they will have an interest in protecting it.”

The EU has been supporting Guyana in forest management and protection for over 10 years.

Good governance of Guyana’s forests is crucial to sustainable development. Moreover, it helps  both Guyana and the EU contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including  by mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity.

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