Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat along with a team from the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and other local stakeholders recently attended the First Joint Monitoring and Review Committee (JMRC) meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
Readers would recall that Guyana and the EU entered into a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) in 2012. The primary objectives of the VPA are reducing forest illegality, improving forest governance, transparency, forest trade, and greater inclusion of Forest and other stakeholders in policy making.
The VPA was ratified by both Guyana and the EU in 2023 and entered legally into force on June 1, 2023. Prior to June 1, 2023, a Pre-Joint Monitoring and Review Committee (Pre-JMRC) was established to guide the initial implementation of the Guyana-EU FLEGT VPA in accordance with an agreed work plan. This Pre-JMRC has now transitioned to the Joint Monitoring and Review Committee (JMRC) upon the Guyana- EU FLEGT VPA coming into force.
The main functions of the JMRC include: conducting an independent assessment of the Guyana Timber Legality Assurance System (GTLAS), developing and adopting an Implementation Schedule, establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework to track the progress of the VPA in Guyana, making recommendations to help attain the Agreement’s objectives among others.
The recent meeting forms part of the country’s efforts to protect the integrity of its forest trade with EU markets.