Ghana is set to become the first country in the world to issue the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licences, under a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EU).
The Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU are aimed at helping to improve forest governance and promote trade in legal timber products.
The FLEGT licences may only be issued to timber traceable to legal forest operations in line with the Legality Assurance System (LAS). The LAS combines field audits against a legality standard with an innovative wood tracking system capable of identifying the precise forest harvesting area of all timber exported from Ghana.
Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Serwaa Asamoah, announced this at the closing session of the 7th Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanisms meeting between the representatives of Ghana and the EU here over the weekend.
“We see the development and implementation of this framework as a means to enhance understanding of the changes in livelihoods, markets and forest governance resulting from the implementation of the FLEGT VPA,” she added.
Ghana and the EU signed the VPA in November 2009 to address the problem of illegal logging and trade in associated timber products.
Barbara Asamoah concluded by saying “Pilot operation of the LAS is already demonstrating that it provides a powerful mechanism to improve the transparency and efficiency of forest operations and regulation in Ghana.”