-UK Environment Agency impressed with presentation by delegation
The Guyana delegation in the United Kingdom (UK) has made Guyana’s case for the lifting of the greenheart import ban which was placed by UK Environment Agency (EA) in 2015.
The delegation which included Guyana Forestry Commission’s Chairman of the Board, Joslyn Dow, EU-FLEGT Secretariat Head, Kenny David, GFC Deputy Commissioner, Andrew Mendez, of McVantahe Inc. among others, made a combined presentation to Andy Powell of the UK EA and Clare Marsden of Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The presentation focused on the many accomplishments of Guyana when it comes to sustainable forest practices, and the key impacts the restrictions have had on the industry and the country as a whole. It also focused on the current code of practice and the maintenance of Guyana’s biodiversity.
From the presentation the delegation then sought clarification from the EA and DEFRA representatives on whether or not the FLEGT certification which will be given to Guyana in about five-six years, will be accepted for Category B timber since the UK only accepts Category A FSC 100% Greenheart from Iwokrama as of 2016.
They also challenged the UK EA’s stance on offering support to the country in getting FSC certification since only this is accepted but is costly. Further, they asked what can be done between now and the time FLEGT certification starts to restore trade between the two countries.
From the presentation the EA and DEFRA representatives clarified that they did not consider the restrictions a ban; though conceding that standards had acted as a barrier to imports. They also shared that more needs to be done in terms of awareness and thus far, they have met with some of their suppliers to clarify their position on this.
Overall the UK EA was very impressed by the presentation and noted that the information was very useful in clarifying the negative perception of timber from Guyana’s forests. Guyana will now have to await feedback from the UK EA on moving forward as they consult superiors and make recommendations.
The greenheart restrictions were introduced by the Environmental Agency (EA) in the UK in 2015. Then it was claimed that proof of sustainable sourcing of the forest product was inadequate, and this has since resulted in a drastic decrease in export of the product to the UK. In December 2016 the EA relaxed the restrictions on greenheart, but only began to accept Category A FSC 100% Greenheart from Iwokrama.
The Guyana delegation is confident that this direct engagement will lead to greater relaxation of the restrictions and lead to increased access to the United Kingdom market for producers and exporters of greenheart forest producers.