Black Immigrant Daily News
At COP 15 in Montreal, Canada today, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, and Guyana Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, signed a legally binding trade agreement to promote sustainable trade of legal timber to the European Union (EU).
Mr. Jan Dusík, Deputy Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic, EU presidency of the Council, co-signed the agreement. The agreement will give EU-based timber buyers assurance that timber products from Guyana are legal. It will help improve forest governance, further curb illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products.
This cooperation takes place in the context of the EU Global Gateway strategy which stands for sustainable and trusted connections. Global Gateway is tackling the most pressing global challenges, including fighting climate change and supporting the security of global supply chains.
Through the Voluntary Partnership Agreement, Guyana will have to improve market access to EU businesses, as well as modernise its forestry sector, create jobs, promote sustainable development, and protect the rights of indigenous peoples.
Under the VPA, Guyana commits to developing a timber legality assurance system to assess that timber products -for all stages of the supply chain- have been produced in accordance with national legislation. When this system is operational, Guyana can issue verified legal timber products with FLEGT licences.
Guyana is the first country in the Amazon region to sign a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on forest law enforcement, governance, and trade (FLEGT) with the European Union.
With the signing of this agreement, Guyana and the EU each needed to ratify the VPA, according to their respective procedures. Forest stakeholders as the private sector, indigenous peoples, local communities, and civil society, have all been closely involved in the negotiation of the agreement, alongside the Government and EU representatives. They will continue to play a key role throughout the implementation phase.
This bilateral agreement will advance the integrated planning and management of Guyana’s forest sector under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030.