FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Guatemala to boost its forest governance and the legal timber trade


The country will establish its road map up to the year 2020 in order to boost forest governance and income generation on the basis of the sustainable use of more than 3.7 million hectares of forest.

Representatives of Guatemala’s forest sector will prioritize actions spurring the country toward a sustainable use of its forests, which cover 34 percent of the country’s land area, or more than 3.7 million hectares.

Under an initiative of the National Forest Institute (INAB) and with the support of the European Union and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 40 representatives of various forest sectors will meet in a national workshop of interested parties from 28 February to 1 March.

The meeting is taking place in the framework of the FAO-EU Programme for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), financed by the European Union, the governments of Sweden and Great Britain, and FAO.

On the basis of the situational analysis of forest governance in Guatemala carried out by the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, at least seven lines of action will be analysed. The participants will then take this reflection as the basis for prioritizing the strategic areas that will guide the country up to 2020 with regard to forest governance and the legal timber trade.

The main lines of action on which participants will reflect include: the revision and updating of legal frameworks concerning forests; the coordination of multiple stakeholders; training; the promotion of legal forest activities; the prevention and control of illegal activities; and the National Forest Extension Programme. These lines of action are in keeping with the PROBOSQUE law, which is part of the Interinstitutional Action Plan for the Prevention and Reduction of Illegal Logging in Guatemala (PIPRTIG).

“In order to contribute to forest governance and, within it, to the reduction and prevention of illegal felling, INAB, with support from FAO, has promoted an updating of the National Plan for the Reduction of Illegal Logging. In this context, it has developed various measures facilitating sustainable forest management,” said the representative of INAB, Adelso Revolorio, during the opening session.

The FAO Representative in Guatemala, Diego Recalde, pointed out that “Guatemala is a privileged country in terms of natural resources. However, although it has a clear forest vocation, it is suffering a net annual loss of forest cover of 38 500 hectares, equivalent to 1 percent of its total forest cover. Action is needed to achieve appropriate governance of the forest sector.”

Recalde added that sustainable management of forest resources leads to increased income for countries and helps to improve their inhabitants’ food security, while maintaining the capacity of forests to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate fluctuations and change.

Beatriz Bussi, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the European Union, stated that “as a consumer of wood, the European Union is concerned that such material should come from legal sources and be obtained, processed and marketed within a framework of good governance in producing and/or processing countries.” The agreements reached at this meeting will be actively supported by the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme.

“The results the country will receive are the product of the union of national technical resources and international cooperation. This will help to build a culture of legality that will only be possible with the active participation of civil society, the private sector and the institutions of the state” said Robert Simpson, Manager of the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme.

The public sector will participate actively in the workshop days through the National Forest Institute (INAB), the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), the private sector, forest associations and grassroots organizations such as the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP), indigenous peoples and the Indigenous Authorities Network, the National Association of Municipalities (ANAM), the Intersectoral Platform for Land and the Environment (MITA) and the Regional Forest Consultation Bureaus, together with NGOs, academic and environmental research centres and international bodies.

In its first two phases, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported more than 200 projects in some 40 timber-producing countries since 2008. In 2016 it started the third phase in priority Latin American countries – Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Guyana and Ecuador, with Panama and Belize as complementary countries.

Guatemala and its forest vocational land

It is estimated that 51 percent of Guatemala’s total area is forest vocational land, or land suitable for forest cover. However, statistics indicate that up to 2010 only 34.2 percent of its area, or some 3 722 595 hectares, was actually under forest cover. According to data from the Integrated Forest Account, illegal logging represented an approximate annual cost to the country of US$23 million in the 2001–2006 period of analysis. The same source indicates that 95 percent of the flow of forest products is extracted in a totally uncontrolled manner, in other words outside the established legal framework, and that fuelwood accounts for 76 percent of this volume and timber for 24 percent.

Originally published at http://www.fao.org/guatemala/noticias/detail-events/es/c/472302/