Morkporkpor Anku, GNA
Accra, Nov. 30, GNA – Ghana is at the final stages to issuing the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) license in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).
Mr Chris Beeko, the Director of Timber Validation Department of the Forestry Commission, said Ghana and the European Union must commission a joint assessment to ascertain the readiness to issue the license.
Mr Beeko said this in Accra at a two-day FLEGT VPA lessons learning workshop and experience from Ghana.
The workshop brought together stakeholders involved in the implementation of the VPA process from Ghana, Lao People’s Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is to discuss progress on VPA implementation, identify the major opportunities, successes, challenges of the VPA process and share experiences and lessons learned.
The FLEGT is a Legality Assurance System that Ghana joined 10 years ago as part of the signing of the VPA with the EU.
On the other hand the VPA is a legally binding agreement to ensure that timber and timber products exported to the EU market come from legal sources.
These systems are to reduce illegal logging by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance and promoting trade in legally produced timber.
Mr Beeko said initially, Ghana thought she could finish the processes in two years to issue the license but that did not happen.
He said as part of the processes that led to the issuance of the license, Forestry Commission had been able to initiate some deep reforms, which were required in the agreement.
The Director said in view of that the Commission had implemented an electronic wood tracking system, which would enable foresters to follow materials from the forest to the export point and back.
He said alongside the tracking system, there had been some governance reforms including the enactment of a legislative instrument to govern the forest sector.
Mr Beeko said apart from entering the EU market, the processes have also strengthened the country’s forest management regulations to improve on the sector.
“This will also help the country to capture and mobilise more revenue from the sector for national development,” he added.