Guyana’s Forest Bill 2007 (Bill No. 21 of 2007), which seeks to consolidate and amend the law relating to forests, was unanimously passed by Parliament on 22 January 2009. The Forest Bill 2007 will serve to significantly enhance the quality of environmental management, the contribution of the forest sector to Guyana, and the benefits derived for forest-based communities and surrounding areas.
The Bill was the product of a lengthy public consultation with various stakeholder groups including Amerindian NGOs, the Forest Products Association, Guyana Manufacturing Association, civil society groups, and even a number of international organizations. The Bill takes into account the important contribution and role played by Guyana’s forest resources in climate change mitigation and the provision of environmental services. It also seeks to update existing legislation under which forests are managed with keen regard to international best practices for sustainable forest management and legality. The Forest Bill also recognizes forests’ vital role in poverty alleviation especially in relation to forest dependent communities.
After a review of 156 logging deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the government has cancelled nearly 60% of timber contracts in the country’s rainforests, reported the BBC. The investigations, backed by the World Bank, were conducted with the view to exposing corruption and enforcing environmental standards. The investigations concluded that only 65 of the existing deals were viable. The government notified the relevant companies of the cancelled contracts and indicated new contracts would be issued for 90,000 square kilometers of forest area.