Guyana, EU sign agreement on sustainable trade of legal timber

At COP 15 in Montreal, Canada on Friday, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevi?ius, and Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat signed a legally-binding trade agreement to promote sustainable trade of legal timber to the European Union (EU).
Deputy Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic, EU presidency of the Council, Jan Dusík, has co-signed the agreement.
The agreement would give EU-based timber buyers assurance that timber products from Guyana are legal. It would 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.

European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevi?ius; and Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat signed the agreement

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 would advance the integrated planning and management of Guyana’s forest sector under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030.
The signature marks the end of a 10-year negotiation process. It consolidates Guyana’s position as a frontrunner in the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of forests. Under the EU Global Gateway Strategy, 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.
Guyana already has robust national legislation on forests, including a Forest Code, and the VPA would ensure this is duly enforced, guaranteeing the sustainable management of the country’s enormous forest area, and thus protecting biodiversity. It would also help to improve the competitiveness of Guyana’s timber industry by modernising timber operations. This, in turn, would 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.
Guyana is the second country in Latin America to sign a VPA with the EU under the FLEGT Action Plan, following Honduras.