The Forestry Commission has asked to stop the issuance of permits in forest reserves
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has asked the Forestry Commission to stop issuing mining permits and all permits in forest reserves in order to reduce compartment fragmentation in reserves.
Mr. Musah Abu-Juam, technical director in charge of forests at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, speaking on behalf of the minister, said the decision was necessary as the issuance of all permits continued to fragment compartments.
He made this known during a validation workshop for monitoring the impact of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) organized by Civic Response, a non-governmental organization in Accra.
The project, with the support of the European Union (EU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), was on the theme; “To assess the impact of the implementation of the VPA in Ghana.”
Abu-Juam said the move, once successful, would end permit applications as they “were coming in gradually.”
He said that the change of ministers and administrators over the years had brought some challenges in the implementation of the VPA, however, data collection was very necessary, so the ministry would support all aspects of the process to ensure success.
Mr. Abu-Juam noted that the ministry had started working with the procurement authority to enable the use of legal timber for government projects and called on the Forestry Commission to support smallholders in this regard for their allow legal timber to be placed on the market.
The technical director urged stakeholders to explore other ways to fund the project’s data collection process in the future, as the EU and FAO will not always be there to provide such support.
The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is a bilateral agreement on timber trade between the European Union and Ghana, a timber-exporting country.
Signed in 2009, the VPA urges Ghana to improve forest governance and law enforcement, which aims to combat illegal logging.
Its objective is to collect data on the deliberative process of VPA stakeholders, living conditions and forest conditions to feed the framework for monitoring the impact of the VPA in Ghana.
Under the VPA, the partner country commits to export only legal timber products to the EU.
Mr Roberto Schiliro, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Team Leader, European Union, expressed the EU’s commitment to the agreement, hence the high expectations of the EU market for licensed timber Ghana FLEGT.
He said the EU had moved closer to FLEGT licensing for far too long and that a concerted tripartite dialogue between civil society organizations, industry and government was needed to resolve all outstanding issues. leading to authorization.
Mr. Schiliro encouraged sector stakeholders to continue to work closely together to improve the lives of communities whose livelihoods depended on biodiversity conservation.
Mr. Benjamin M. Adjei, Deputy FAO Representative in Ghana, speaking at the event, urged stakeholders to find ways to get their messages across to the political hierarchy.
He noted that the political will was there, but how to craft it and make it binding on politicians was what was needed, saying, “We should come forward and deliberate on how this can be achieved.
Mr. Albert Katako, Program Manager, Civic Response, asked that while the active participation of civil society organizations is to be encouraged, traditional authorities, custodians of Ottoman lands should have a role to play in the implementation. and monitoring of the VPA.
He said there was a need to improve and enforce laws on timber extraction to reduce illegality.