The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) on Friday held a presentation on the reviewed National Forest Policy Statement and Forestry Plan in an effort to fine-tune the revisions before the Natural Resources Minister presents it to Cabinet.The revision of the National Forest Policy Statement and Forestry Plan began in 2017, and the GFC’s consultants, The Consultancy Group headed by Dr Rory Fraser, would have held over 211 consultations with various stakeholders in the sector.Natural Resources Minister Raphael TrotmanAccording to the Natural Resources Minister, he would have received the revised policy and plan some two weeks ago, but he advised that a final review be held so that when he takes it to Cabinet he could say all consultative approaches were exhausted.He noted that completion of the review is another step towards ensuring a well-managed and orderly forestry sector.“This revision fulfills a part of Government’s commitment to maintain an excellent standard in the sector, and (it is) also internationally acceptable. We are happy to see that the process of review was successfully completed,” Minister Trotman stated.The minister explained that the policy and plan was last updated in 2011, and with advancement of the sector it became outdated, hence the reason for the revision.“It is critical that we have an updated Forest Policy and Forest Plan. Guyana has publicly committed to a Green State Economy, as described in the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS). This strategy highlights the importance of forests in combating climate change, and also emphasizes the ecological and environmental services of forests to humanity and the promotion of sustainable energy initiatives within the forestry sector,” Trotman added.“Importantly also, the revised National Forest Policy and Plan have been developed within the framework of the Constitution of Guyana and with regard to relevant international commitments on the environment, particularly as they relate to forests and biodiversity,” he noted.He further related that the revised Forest Policy effectively embraces the Green State Development Strategy and the framework laid out for the advancement of a green economy in Guyana.“Guyana serves as a model of sustainable development and environmental security worldwide, demonstrating the transition to a decarbonized and resource-efficient economy that integrates the multi-ethnicity of our country and enhances quality of life for all Guyanese,” Minister Trotman related.Additionally, GFC Commissioner James Singh outlined the objectives of the Forest Plan and Policy, and discussed the revision with the stakeholders.“A National Forest Plan can be considered as the work programme for the Forest Policy. It contains details and logically ordered programmes, activities, expected outcomes and indicators. It also identifies roles and responsibilities for various stakeholders, and establishes a strong foundation to monitor and evaluate implementation, and make relevant recommendations,” he noted.Singh explained that there would be a collaborative effort between the private sector and various Government agencies for the implementation of the policy. He, like the minister, said the need for updating the 2011 National Forest Policy and Plan was influenced by the significant changes in the sector, coupled with the implementation of the Green State Development Strategy.“It was further noted that we must now increase our efforts to accurately value…there was also a need for national level integration, streamlining of work plans of the relevant agencies,” he noted.The revised policy addresses issues arising from the economic, ecological, social and governance standpoints. The principles that guides the policy include balanced decision-making, inter-generational equity, local benefit, and the protection of the natural capital base.The revised policy and plan reflects moving away from utilizing forests for just wood, and is a cornerstone of the country’s national patrimony.