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Guyana’s wood-tracking system to be overhauled, replaced with digital system – EU Ambassador

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– to ensure Guyana can monitor legal compliance in forestry sector

Guyana’s wood tracking system, which is important for ensuring loggers are complying with the law but relies heavily on paper will soon be digitised.
This was according to European Union Ambassador to Guyana, René Van Nes who stated that this will be accomplished very soon.
“The development of a comprehensive digital wood tracking system…will be launched soon. The digital system will replace the (comprehensive) paper-based system currently used,” the envoy explained.
“This completely digitalised system will be used by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) to track wood products in near real-time, thereby allowing it to monitor legal compliance of Forest Sector Operators (FSOs) more effectively and efficiently,” he added.

EU Ambassador to Guyana, René Van Nes

He also underscored the importance of fostering co-operation between the bloc and Guyana while highlighting several initiatives that were being spearheaded in Guyana to focus on increasing joint attention to the environment and climate change, peace, and sustainable development.
He explained that the EU was prepared to further develop other initiatives with the same goals, and this would be facilitated through the provision of financial and technical support, capacity building, and research, among other areas.
Among the agencies paving the way for this charter were the Guyana Forestry Commission, ChildLink Guyana, the Amerindian Peoples Association, and the Guyana Marine Conservation Society.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Retired) Mark Phillips stated during the reception that the European Union was an integral partner for Guyana’s development across the economic, environmental, and security spheres.
According to Phillips, Guyana’s partnership with the European Union is rooted in shared democratic values and co-operation. On this point, he had posited that the EU was one of the world’s foremost integration movements, fostering the goals of cooperation and peace among its member states.
Last year March, the Guyana Government had signed a contract worth more than $1 billion with the EU to increase forest preservation activities in the country, as well as to foster sustainable development within local communities that are dependent on the forest for their livelihoods.
The contract was inked by President Dr Irfaan Ali and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helena KÖNIG. This $1 billion agreement falls under the Forest Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between Guyana and the EU back in November 2022 on the sidelines of COP 27 in Egypt, for the provision of a €5 million grant to advance efforts towards sustainable forest management and preservation here.
In July of last year, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat and European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen had signed a roadmap for the implementation of the Guyana-European Union (EU) Forest Partnership with the aim of managing Guyana’s forests and promoting the forest bioeconomy.
This roadmap established the EU and Guyana’s commitment to reaching a set number of targets by 2030. These include: maintaining 12.5 million hectares of sustainably managed forests; expanding protected and conserved forests to 30 per cent of terrestrial and marine species; increasing restored forest to 200,000 hectares; increasing the number of forest-related decent jobs; and maintaining the rate of deforestation of natural forests below 0.01 per cent per annum.
In 2020 alone, the Ali-led Administration injected $350 million into the then cash-strapped Guyana Forestry Commission to cover operational costs and wages for staff for the remainder of the year.
Strategies aimed at boosting the financial performance and management capabilities of the GFC were undertaken and in 2021, the forestry sector was able to make a positive turnover and manage on its own.
One achievement of the sector in 2021 included getting stakeholders, particularly small-scale loggers back into the business which resulted in the construction boom, and an increase in log production, with over 400,000 cubic feet declared.
Meanwhile, the GFC’s monthly revenue collection was increased from $70 million in 2019 to over $90 million in 2021 while over 100 new concessions were issued to small loggers. (G-3)

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