National Forest Plan/Policy Statement reviewed – to be presented to Cabinet for consideration

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Stakeholders who wish to contribute to the National Forest Plan and Policy undertaken by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), have until Friday, February 23, to do so.

The revised policy addresses the management of forest resources in a visionary way with the development of forest resources across sectors, with a broader goal to maximise more than timber values from the resources.

According to the GFC, the final public engagement was completed on February 16, and the February 23 deadline allows for stakeholders to make any additional comment. Those comments it said will be incorporated after which a final draft will be presented to cabinet for its consideration. It is hoped that throughout 2018, the Policy and Plan will begin formal implementation.

Senior Officers of the Guyana Forestry Commission at a media conference on Monday.

Senior Officers of the Guyana Forestry Commission at a media conference on Monday.

The revised Policy and Plan has an overall objective towards the conservation, protection, and utilisation of the state’s forest. This will be achieved by ensuring its social economic and environmental attributes and benefits are sustained and enhanced for the benefit of current and future generations of Guyanese, while at the same time, fulfilling the country’s commitments under international agreements and conventions.

According to the GFC, the Policy will be guided by six overarching principles of sustainable development including balanced decision making, the precautionary principle, inter-generational equity, protection of the national capital base, policy intervention to correct market failure and local benefit.

Meanwhile, the GFC said that Guyana’s forest products’ access to markets will be strengthened, and existing challenges addressed. According to the entity, ongoing discussions and efforts to regain access to the UK market, Greenheart will be further advanced with an aim to reestablishing these markets.

Additionally, the programme of work on the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) called the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is expected to be finalised by June later this year. That agreement, the GFC said, will create greater access and more lucrative market opportunities for Guyana’s forest products exports to the EU and other markets. At the same time, initiatives to expand local and regional trade of forest products by improving marketing, product development, and quality will be prioritised.

By: Alexis Rodney

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