TTF visits Ghana to monitor VPA and FLEGT processes
As the date for FLEGT licensed timber draws ever closer, the UK Timber Trade Federation visited Ghana to learn and understand how the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and FLEGT licensing process are being implemented in country. This was the first time that the Federation was able to take a close look at what lies behind a FLEGT license and as a result, Mike Worrell, Head of Policy and Sustainability, spent four days in country learning about the process, meeting with key stakeholders, attending multiple field visits and gaining valuable insights, regarding the size and scale of what has been achieved and the reforms made to the forestry sector.
Starting in Accra, meetings were held with the Forestry Commission (FC), including the Chief Executive, who outlined the VPA process, the different divisions and departments within the FC and their roles. A meeting was then held with the General Manager of Samartex at their processing plant in Samreboi in the Western Region, to discuss the impacts of the VPA, licensing and EUTR, followed by a tour of the mill. In Kumasi, Mike then met with the management of the FCs, Resource Management Support Centre, who presented the framework for licensing. This was followed by a field visit to the Tano Offin forest reserve with staff of the district office, who described compartment mapping & allocation, demonstrated the log marking processes, and their new electronic wood tracking system. The day was rounded off by a meeting with the Ghana Timber Millers Organisation (GTMO), discussing trade responses and VPA impacts.
The trip ended in Accra, with meetings with the FC’s Timber Validation Department, the EU Delegation, and lastly a representative of a civil society group, Client Earth, who explained the role of civil society in the VPA and licensing process.
From the week, the TTF gained significant insight and exposure to the VPA and the FLEGT licensing process in particular (more details in the link below). This trip demonstrated to Ghana that there is market interest in FLEGT and that the UK Timber Trade are at the forefront of wanting to build capacity and understanding of what lies behind a licence, to establish market trust and confidence in the process.
Mr Worrell would like to thank all those involved in making the trip a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting one and the warm welcome and hospitality I received throughout.
To read more about the VPA process, the system in operation and how licensing will be managed and implemented in Ghana please click here.