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KEY BENEFITS FOR GUYANESE STAKEHOLDERS AND WHY IS GUYANA DEVELOPING ITS OWN CERTIFICATION SYSTEM WHEN WE HAVE THE VPA?
- While the VPA will address the core market entry requirement for the EU of demonstrating legality, timber purchasing companies and timber procurement organisations within the EU and elsewhere are also focusing greater attention on the sustainability of products brought to market.
- Unsustainable forest management practices and associated illegal activities result in:
- increased deforestation and forest degradation, which can impact on the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities;
- loss of revenue by national governments from the forest sector, which can limit their ability to fund and implement national socio-economic activities aimed at poverty reduction and alleviation; and
- adverse impacts on ecosystem integrity and resilience leading to consequences such as anthropogenic global warming and climate change.
- Procurement policies are becoming more sophisticated and increasingly looking to third-party certification to verify the sustainability credentials of timber products, in addition to legality.
- Entities involved in the harvesting, processing and exporting of timber products from Guyana therefore, face an increasing need to go beyond the demonstration of legality and show as well that the timber being sold has come from forests that have been sustainably managed.
- Indeed, in recent years, the GFC has encountered a situation where public procurement agencies in the United Kingdom have specifically requested third-party certification to demonstrate the sustainability, in addition to legality, of greenheart products exported to the UK for public-funded works.
- The Guyana National Forest Management and Chain of Custody certification system will therefore complement the VPA.
- Indeed, the development of the Guyana’s national forest management and chain of custody standards will draw on the extensive work already done under the VPA.
- For example, the National Technical Working Group (NTWG) that was used to develop the national legality definition for Guyana, will also play a key role in the development of the new standard.
- Given the work already done in Guyana as part of the VPA negotiations, and the synergies between the VPA and PEFC standard setting and certification requirements, it is expected that a PEFC endorsed national certification scheme could be developed and implemented before the VPA becomes operational and FLEGT licenses can be issued.
- Pending full implementation of the VPA, wood producers in Guyana are looking for cost-effective mechanisms which will improve their competitiveness and market access globally, including the EU market.