– towards increasing forest sustainability and global market access
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) recently engaged a diverse group of stakeholders on the proposed establishment of a national forest management standard and certification system for approval by the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification, also known as (PEFC). On the global market, the PEFC is a recognised forest management and chain of custody certification system that can be used to demonstrate sustainability in addition to the legality of timber and timber products.
“The Government of Guyana is convinced that the development of the national certification system is important. It adds to our efforts to showcase our sustainable forest management practices and gain greater acceptance in the globally demanded markets”, said the Minister of Natural Resources, Honourable Vickram Bharrat, M.P.
He added that the Government of Guyana is convinced that a certification system will complement the work done through the Guyana – European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Government and Trade Agreement, and will create more opportunities for operators in promoting and marketing their products, particularly in markets that require verification of both legality and sustainability.
The meeting on Friday included participants from civil society bodies such as the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, Forest Products Association, National Steering Committee for Community Forest Organisations, Guyana Organisation of Indigenous People; private sector: concessionaires, exporters, sawmillers, lumberyard dealers; academia: Guyana School of Agriculture; and Government Ministries and Agencies: Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Legal Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Products Development & Marketing Council and Forestry Training Centre Inc.
The next steps are to seek stakeholders’ endorsement of the process following which a system that meets international sustainability and legality benchmarks, and allows stakeholders to meet its requirements in practical and cost-effective terms will be developed.
The system could be finalised by the end of the year to be used by any exporter at their discretion for market access.
As the PEFC endorsement requires an independent third-party assessment of Guyana’s system, the formal endorsement would be achieved sometime in 2022. All certificates achieved in the interim will gain international PEFC status once the Guyana system has been endorsed formally by the PEFC. The Ministry of Natural Resources urges stakeholders to visit the GFC’s website: www.forestry.gy.com for additional information on the process.