The European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, and Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat today signed a legally binding trade agreement at COP 15 in Montreal, Canada.
The signing of the agreement marks the end of a 10-year negotiation process that will consolidate Guyana’s position as a frontrunner in the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of forests.
The agreement will give EU-based timber buyers assurance that timber products from Guyana are legal. It will also help improve forest governance, further curb illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products.
This was a part of the context for the EU Global gateway strategy which stands for sustainable and trusted connections. This tackles the most pressing global changes, including fighting climate change and supporting the security of global supply chains.
Guyana's Minister of Agriculture has signed a similar Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the United States in which it commits to developing a timber legality assurance system. When this system is operational, Guyana can issue verified legal timber products with FLEGT licence.
Guyana has now become the first country in the Amazon region to sign this agreement.
Forest stakeholders along with other sectors have been closely involved in negotiating this agreement which will continue to play a key role throughout the implementation phase.
Guyana already is known to have a robust national legislation on forests, which will help to improve the competitiveness of Guyana’s timber industry by modernising timber operations. This, in turn, will create jobs and ensure that forestry brings employment to the formal economy while expanding trade opportunities as Guyana moves to export guaranteed legal timber products.
In addition, Guyana is also one of the first five countries worldwide that signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a Forest Partnership with the EU at COP 27 a month ago and the second country in Latin America to sign a VPA with the EU under the FLEGT Action Plan, following Honduras.