A Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) high-level delegation led by the subject Minister Raphael Trotman and including Guyana Forestry Commission’s Chairman of the Board, Joslyn Dow, EU-FLEGT Secretariat Head, Kenny David and GFC Deputy Commissioner, Gavin Agard among others, will be travelling from Guyana to the United Kingdom (UK) from November 19-21, 2018 to facilitate discussions on the complete lifting of a procurement ban on greenheart from Guyana to the UK.
The ban which was introduced by the Environmental Agency (EA) in the UK in 2015, claimed that proof of sustainable sourcing of the forest product was inadequate, this has since resulted in a drastic decrease in export of the product to the UK.
It has also seen several concerns being raised from members of the Forest Producers Association and the public noting that the banned product is vital to Guyana’s history and economy and the long-term effect of the ban can be damaging to Guyana’s export of greenheart as well as its credibility internationally.
Greenheart represents over 18 per cent of Guyana’s logging industry production, of which timber is a major export earner, thus, it was agreed that the Government of Guyana will engage talks at the diplomatic level, among other things to ensure this is sorted.
It must be noted that Guyana’s systems of monitoring and verification to ensure logging is done in a sustainable and legal manner and has been tested and proven overtime; particularly, through our agreement with the Kingdom of Norway.
With this being said, in December 2016, after being advised that a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification was awarded to Iwokrama the EA relaxed the ban on greenheart.
This meant that the UK began to accept Category A FSC 100% Greenheart only from Iwokrama but continued to refuse Category B timber.
In 2017, the UK agreed to reopen dialogue.
In a statement, the Natural Resources Ministry said that Guyana sees this opening as an opportunity to fully ventilate the issue and Guyana’s position with regards to the UK and make a case for completely lifting the ban on greenheart imports.
Guyana will therefore take advantage of the opportunity for dialogue toward the resolution of the matter to restart the smooth export of Greenheart to the UK and strengthen the relationship between Guyana and the UK.
“Guyana believes that it has met and maintained all international standards and criteria for the product and export of timber products of all species. This again is evidenced by the successful implementation of the Partnership Agreement with the Kingdom of Norway, and by the successful conclusion of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union, under the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade regime, which is to be signed in on 23rd November 2018 in Brussels, Belgium” the statement further said.
It was outlined that while in the UK, the delegation will deliver a presentation in support of Guyana’s case for lifting of the ban and hold discussions with Senior Officials in the UK regarding lifting of the ban on Greenheart imports from Guyana.
The Ministry, which will also receive delegation support from Foreign Affairs, is anticipating that the discussions will be “fruitful and rewarding.”