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Ghana, EU launch assessment of Ghana Timber Legality Assurance System

Ghana, EU launch assessment of Ghana Timber Legality Assurance System

Ghana and the European Union (EU) have launched an independent review of the legality assurance system that is outlined in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on FLEGT between Ghana and the EU. The system tracks wood throughout the supply chain and verifies that products conform to national laws. 

‘This is an important milestone in the partnership between the EU and Ghana to promote responsible trade in timber’, said Chris Beeko, Director of the Timber Validation Department of the Forestry Commission of Ghana, who welcomed the start of the process. ‘Ghana is in line to become the first country in Africa and only the second in the world — after Indonesia — with the right to issue FLEGT licences.’

FLEGT-licensed products automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation and so are expected to bring significant benefits to Ghana and its forestry sector.

‘The assessment is a crucial step in the VPA process, as it will inform Ghana and the EU in their decision when to start FLEGT licensing’, said Roberto Schiliro, Team Leader and Head of Section, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development of the EU Delegation to Ghana. 

The consultants carrying out the assessment have recently been in Ghana. They met with the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon Benito Owusu Bio, and with representatives of the various divisions of the Government that play a role in the operation of the legality assurance system. 

One of the two consultants, Abraham Baffoe, Africa Regional Director of Proforest, said that ‘based on these meetings and a review of documentation and records related to the legality assurance system, we are developing an evaluation methodology, including criteria, schedules and reporting requirements.’ 

Ghana and the EU will agree upon the methodology before the assessment on the ground begins.