FLEGT facilitation support office to open in Guyana

EU delegation in Guyana. Picture EU FLEGT Facility

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) will set up a FLEGT facilitation support office in Guyana. The office is to back the country in the final stage of the FLEGT VPA negotiation process and subsequent implementation of the agreement.According to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), the office will provide “much needed resources” to support the joint road map that was developed during the negotiation process.

Plans for the support office were unveiled on occasion of a two-day FLEGT seminar themed “Sharing Regional Lessons on VPA Processes: Transitioning from Negotiations to Implementation”. The event took place in Georgetown last week. The seminar drew participants from African and Latin American countries as well as FAO representatives and other stakeholders in the forestry sector, according to GFC.

The seminar examined the challenges and opportunities of transitioning from VPA negotiations to implementation. Several countries, including Indonesia and Liberia, shared their experiences, according to FAO. Participants were also discussing experiences of timber legality assurance systems, the international timber market, and the role of civil society, including indigenous peoples, in the VPA process.

Guyana hopes to start VPA implementation next year

 The GFC is hoping that Guyana will conclude VPA negotiations by the end of this year and then move to the implementation stage. “Guyana sees the FLEGT process as a tool not only to access the EU market, but one that will also improve our governance within the sector and across sectors”, said Commissioner of the GFC James Singh at the launch of the FLEGT seminar.

Guyana has entered into VPA negotiations with the EU in March 2012 to reinforce its efforts to address illegal logging and related deforestation. Guyana and Honduras are the only Latin American VPA countries to date. Both countries are still in the negotiation phase. According to FAO, Guyana has one of the largest unspoiled forests left in South America, covering approximately 75% of its land area. Other estimates put the forest area at as much as 85% of the land area.

For more information on the EU FLEGT VPA Process click here.

Added by: Sarah Storck