The maintenance of sustainably managed forests, the expansion of protected and conserved forests, increasing restored forests and the number of forest-related jobs, and maintaining the rate of deforestation of natural forests below 0.1 per cent per annum, are the ambitious targets that Guyana and the European Union (EU) have signed a roadmap to strengthen their collaboration and achieve by 2030.
Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, and Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, signed the roadmap in the run-up to the EU Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (EU-CELAC) Summit, which is being held this year on July 17 to 18.
The move is in line with the recently adopted Joint Communication on “New Agenda for Relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean”.
The roadmap will also aid significantly in the implementation of the Guyana-EU Forest Partnership.
According to an article issued by the EU after the signing, Commissioner Urpilainen expressed her strong support for the work jointly carried out with Guyana.
“Guyana wants to protect and use its forests sustainably. I am glad that we will continue to work together as partners on this shared ambition. The Forest Partnership will help us reach our joint climate and biodiversity goals while promoting socio-economic development,” she said.
Further, Minister Bharrat and Commissioner Urpilainen discussed the next steps of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) after its entry into force in June of this year. This agreement on bilateral trade aims to improve forest governance and ensure the harvesting and trade of legal timber. The minister and commissioner agreed on the next steps to implement the VPA towards the licensing system.
The Forest Partnership and the FLEGT VPA will help Guyana to enhance its forest bio-economy and attract public and private investments while contributing to climate and biodiversity objectives and reinforcing the rights of local communities and Indigenous people.
Through these long-term political commitments, Guyana and the EU have agreed to cooperate closely to ensure sustainable forest management by improving forest governance, strengthening capacities and institutions, and enhancing the business environment; stimulating the forest bio-economy that generates jobs and socio-economic development through sustainable forest-based value chains and market access; reduce deforestation through protection and restoration of forests and improved production practices, and facilitate the production of and trade in legal and sustainable forest products.