Guyana has made significant progress towards concluding a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU), after completing a key milestone in the FLEGT VPA negotiation process.
Known as Field Testing, this phase enabled stakeholders to evaluate progress and make recommendations for the successful completion of the VPA negotiations.
The Field Testing Working Group (FTWG) included a broad range of stakeholders groups: representatives from the Private Sector, Indigenous Organizations, Civil Society, Community Organizations and Government; this provided a very open and transparent framework for the entire process.
During the period 12-26th June 2017, the FTWG visited Regions across the country, gathering views from approximately 150 stakeholders on their opinions and assessments of the main sections of the VPA Annexes.
The Field Testing allowed for a frank assessment of the practicality and credibility of the VPA’s Legality Definition and legality verification procedures, as well as the readiness of Government Agencies to implement the Guyana Timber Legality Assurance System.
Initial findings from the Field Testing are positive.
Guyana will use the feedback gathered to strengthen the VPA Annexes, addressing gaps and opportunities which the Field Testing identified.
The VPA aims to address the illegal trade of timber. Once ratified, the VPA will commit both parties to trade in only legal timber and timber products and cover Guyana’s domestic market as well as its exports to the EU.
Substantial progress has been made on the VPA since negotiations began in December 2012 and it is hoped that initialing of the VPA will be done in the last quarter of 2017.
June 30, 2017