By Florence Afriyie
Kumasi, Jan. 21, GNA – Ghana will soon be the first country in Africa and the second in the world to receive a licence and certification from the European Union (EU) to export timber products to its member countries, under the Ghana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).
This follows the successful assessment of the country’s forest governance structure, laws and active participation of the local communities and civil society organizations in forest governance, under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme.
Ms Diana Acconcia, EU Ambassador to Ghana, who made this known, said the partnership agreement would soon be signed between the EU and Ghana to allow timber products from Ghana have easy access to the European markets.
Speaking during a courtesy call on Mr Simon Osei Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister at his office in Kumasi, Ms Acconcia, said the agreement would ensure that timber products exported from the shores of Ghana to the EU market, were obtained from sustainable and legal sources.
The visit to the region was to afford the ambassador an opportunity to participate in a joint inspection on the progress of work in some forest reserves in the region and seal deliberations on the ten-year forest governance agreement.
Ms Acconcia urged Ghanaians to participate in the green economy which was going to open the way for the Ghanaian youth to have access to employment in the forestry sector.
Mr Simon Osei Mensah, on his part, praised the efforts of Ghana-EU team for the work done and pledged the support of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to the assessment programme since the region had vast forest reserves.
He requested for more tree seedlings of different species to help Kumasi, the regional capital, to compete its “clean and green” city project which aimed at reversing the city to its historical status as the garden city of West Africa.