Guyana suggests to negotiate a VPA on legal timber

The Government of Guyana has suggested to the European Union to start negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), which will help ensure that only timber verified to be legal under Guyana law can be exported to the European Union.

The government formally expressed its intention to join the FLEGT initiative to the EU delegation in Guyana in Georgetown on Thursday, 8 March, in a statement by Robert Persaud, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment. 

The Government of Guyana said it has already engaged in stakeholder consultations, forest monitoring and legality assessment as part of their broader initiatives in forest governance, as outlined in a media release of 9 March. These activities have been part of ongoing efforts to strengthen forest governance, with the support of the Government of Norway, since December 2009.

"Last year we exported close to US$7M in forestry products to Europe ... so if we want to maintain and even enlarge our forest market share in Europe this is also a necessary requirement," said Minister Persaud, as reported by Demerara News portal. 

The Government of Guyana first expressed interest in FLEGT in December 2009 to the EU. 
Voluntary partnership agreements promote better enforcement of national forest laws and an inclusive approach involving civil society and the private sector.