A workshop to develop the Joint Implementation Framework for the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Guyana and the European Union was held with a range of stakeholders.
Georgetown, Guyana. The Joint Implementation Framework (JIF) provides a framework for monitoring the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) through a Joint Monitoring Review Committee that has oversight of the process under the agreement. The JIF process focusses on actions to be taken for Guyana to be FLEGT licensed and gain access to the European Union (EU) markets for its legal wood products.
The JIF has identified eight strategic tasks and a number of priority actions and will identify responsibilities and potential sources of funding for the proposed actions. It will also seek support for stakeholder engagement in the process. The plan is expected to cover the period from July 2019 to June 2023. This is one of two workshops in the JIF development process and adopts a multi stakeholder engagement approach in order to promote ownership of the framework. The second workshop to validate the draft JIF will be held in July 2019.
Over 30 stakeholders made up of government agencies such as the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the private sector, indigenous and civil society groups, attended the workshop. The Commissioner of Forests, James Singh, highlighted Guyana’s forest potential and the benefits and services provided by forests. He called for a strong partnership with the different stakeholders in the JIF development process and emphasised the need for partner support for JIF implementation, in particular the provision of predictable funding.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is helping to implement the VPA in Guyana through the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme. Funded by the EU, the governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom, the Programme works actively to establish several initiatives that encourage forest sector actors to use forests in a legal and sustainable, facilitating in parallel the negotiation and implementation of the VPA. In this sense, Dr. Gillian Smith, FAO Representative in Guyana, highlighted the importance of the Multi-Year Implementation Plan that is being developed and stressed FAO’s commitment to supporting Guyana in the development process.
For its part, Anna Correia De Sá, Programme Manager of the Delegation of the European Union (DEU) said she was reassured by the level of stakeholder participation and encouraged them to remain engaged through the JIF development process. She also stressed EU’s commitment and continued support for the FLEGT VPA process and JIF development.
The negotiations of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Guyana and the European Union (EU) concluded in November 2018, once ratified, the VPA would commit both parties to trade only legal timber and timber products.