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Ghana, EU make strides to improve forest governance

Ghana and the European Union on Tuesday met to review achievements chalked under the Ghana-EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).

The agreement aims to improve forest governance and verify the legality of Ghana’s timber trade.

The Ghana-EU VPA Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM) oversees the implementation of the Agreement and includes representatives of all stakeholder groups.

The JMRM reviewed the status of development of Ghana’s timber legality assurance system and discussed outstanding issues to be addressed before FLEGT licensing can begin. When issued, the FLEGT licence will enable Ghana’s timber products to enter the EU market without importers having to do further due diligence to meet their obligations under the EU Timber Regulation.

On 15 November 2016, Indonesia became the first country in the world to issue FLEGT licences. Ghana is advancing rapidly towards the same goal, which will establish it as a leader in the fight against illegal timber trade.

“Today, we presented the Legislative Instrument which we will submit to Ghana’s Parliament for enactment,” said Musah Abu-Juam, Technical Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

“This Instrument has strong civil society and private sector involvement and support. It strengthens the Legality Definition which underpins the Agreement.”

The Legislative Instrument enhances forest governance in Ghana and helps Ghana to meet the terms of the VPA by enhancing transparency, generating benefits for communities and clarifying the allocation of all timber rights.

· in addition to these advances, Ghana is also addressing illegal logging in its domestic market, as well as regional trade. Ghana is rolling out a new system for tracking timber on the domestic market that involves both suppliers and traders and requires proof of legality through the chain of custody.

· “These major achievements show that Ghana continues to strengthen forest governance through the VPA and is advancing toward FLEGT licensing,’ said Benoist Bazin, Team Leader for Infrastructure and Development at the Delegation of the European Union to Ghana. ‘Good governance of Ghana’s forests is crucial to sustainable development. Moreover, it helps both Ghana and the EU contribute to achieving the world’s Sustainable Development Goals, mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity.’

·Through the VPA, Ghana is controlling illegal timber trade, modernising timber operations and ensuring forestry brings employment in the formal economy and social benefits such as payments to communities through Social Responsibility Agreements. For the EU, the VPA contributes to achieving the goals of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan which aims to improve forest governance and combat illegal logging.

 

Source: Joy Business

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