National Forest Policy Statement. | Land Portal

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The overall objective of the National Forest Policy is the conservation, protection, management and utilisation of the nation’s forest resources, while ensuring that the productive capacity of the forests for both goods and services is maintained or enhanced. Whereas the specific objectives are to: a) promote the sustainable and efficient forest activities which utilise the broad range of forest resources and contribute to national development while allowing fair returns to local and foreign entrepreneurs and investors; b) achieve improved sustainable forest resource yields while ensuring the conservation of ecosystems, biodiversity, and the environment; c) ensure watershed protection and rehabilitation: prevent and arrest the erosion of soils and the degradation of forests, grazing lands, soil and water; promote natural regeneration, afforestation and reforestation ; and protect the forest against fire, pests and other hazards; and d) identify and quantify environmental services to generate forest incentives for national development.Part II on Land Use Policies deals with integrated land use planning as a basis for Forest Policy. At the level of policy, planning and management, several agencies in Guyana have been mandated to play a role in land use planning, natural resources management and implementation. These include the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Ministry of Amerindian Affairs (MOAA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Local Government, and the Guyana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among others. While the Commissioner of Lands and Surveys is the custodian of all public lands, the GFC, GGMC and GLSC administer State land that is utilised for forestry, mining, agriculture, recreational, religious, residential, grazing, industrial, commercial, business, tourism and other uses. Each of these three Government agencies may issue licenses and permits for different purposes for the same plot of land. In recognition of the complexity of the land use issues the government established the National Land Use Committee (NLUC) and the Natural Resources and Environment Advisory Committee (NREAC).Another positive step to improving land use coordination is the promotion of integrated watershed management and overall protection of water resources through the establishment of a National Water Council in Guyana in 2008. One of the key functions of the Council is develop and/or review the national water policy and to oversee its management and coordination. Also, a Special Land Use Committee (SLUC) was established, with the principal term of reference being to make appropriate, realistic and practical recommendations to the Government of Guyana on optimising the mineral and forest reserve utilisation. National Biodiversity Action Plan II focusses on four main thematic areas of forests, agriculture, coastal resources, and marine and freshwater resources.Part II on Land Use Policies establishes that land use plans and policies play a key role in the implementation of forest policy in accordance with the following guidelines: a) The nation’s forest policy shall be an integral part of a comprehensive National Land Use Plan. This Plan shall be based on land use policies that recognise the sometimes conflicting but legitimate interests of different stakeholders, and shall promote a process of developing a consensus on land use; b) Priority shall be given to the preparation of a National Land Use plan which provides: i) guidelines for environmental protection and sustainable resource utilisation; ii) a legal framework for resource management; iii) national programmes for resource management; and iv) an institutional framework for land use implementation; c) National Committees, regional authorities and local communities shall be involved in the formulation and approval of land use plans; d) The Commission shall give consideration to the recommendations and principles emerging from the discussions of the SLUC; e) The Commission shall contribute to the work of the National Water Council and the National Water Policy.Part VII deals with governance in view of forest administration policies and strategies. All administrative arrangements for the development of the forestry sector in Guyana shall be aimed at servicing and supporting the sustainable management of the country’s forest resources and forest industries. The forestry sector shall be governed in accordance with the national objective of promoting sustainable development and especially the principle of sustainable utilisation of our natural resources. Towards this objective, the Guyana Forestry Commission will be guided by the principles set by the National Forest Policy and relevant legislation. The Guyana Forestry Commission shall also work closely with relevant Government agencies and shall participate in National Committees. Additionally, the Guyana Forestry Commission shall work in concert with all international conventions and agreements to which the Government of Guyana is signatory, and primarily in accordance with the guidelines of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. Furthermore, the Guyana Forest Commission shall carry out its functions in accordance with the GFC Act and Forest Act. The Commission shall continue to engage and interact with the Forest Products Association (FPA) which represents the interests of a number of members engaged in business activities in the forest sector.The Commission’s Community Forestry Programme shall be the main mechanism through which this collaboration shall be fostered. Generally, a sustainable mechanism for engagement of the private sector shall be refined and maintained by the GFC and the Government in consultation with stakeholders.In section 6 of the Introduction on Constraints to the Development of the Forest Sector it is announced that the main constraints facing the forest sector post 1997, following the implementation of the National Forest Policy Statement, can be classified in four main areas: unavailability of skilled personnel, insufficient added value forest activities, financing, and limited research capability.The text consists of 8 Parts as follows: Objectives (I); Land Use Policies (II); Forest Management Policies (III); Forest Industry Policies (IV); Research and Information Policies and Strategies (V); Forest Training and Education Policies and Strategies (VI); Forest Administration and Governance Policies and Strategies (VII); International Conventions and Collaborations (VIII).

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Vanessa Benn

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