- Illegal logging causes social problems, environmental degradation and a loss of economic opportunities
- In December 2012, Guyana and the EU began negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to promote trade in legal timber products and improve forest governance
- Under a VPA Guyana would develop a timber legality assurance system so it can issue FLEGT licences to verified legal timber products
- Once Guyana begins FLEGT licensing, the products covered by the VPA will only be exported to the EU accompanied by FLEGT licences attesting to their legality
- Products not covered by the VPA will remain subject to the exercise of due diligence by EU importers in the context of the EU Timber Regulation
- FLEGT-licensed timber products from Guyana will be able to enter the EU market without undergoing the due diligence checks required by the EU Timber Regulation
- Legal and governance reforms identified by stakeholders through the VPA process are already underway
- There is broad stakeholder support for the aim of achieving a credible VPA. The Guyanese government, the private sector and indigenous peoples are looking for ways to ensure decisions related to a VPA are taken in a participatory way.
Guyana’s forest sector
Forests cover 87% of Guyana and make an important contribution to the economy, providing jobs and livelihoods. The government own 86% of the forests, while indigenous peoples own 14% of the land. In 2014, the annual deforestation rate was estimated to be 0.065%. Most deforestation is attributed to mining for gold and bauxite, which represents 60% of Guyana’s exports. Mining accounted for 87% of deforestation in 2014.
The timber trade between Guyana and the EU accounts for up to 5-8% of Guyana’s timber industry. Most exports of timber from Guyana to the EU are destined for the UK.