Ghana was one of the first countries to have signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU) in 2009. Thirteen years later, Ghana is poised to become the first country in Africa to issue Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) timber licenses, thereby enabling all its licensed timber products to automatically meet EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) legality requirements, facilitating their entry into the EU market. While Ghana has made significant efforts to develop a national system to track and verify legality and control illegal timber imported into the country, a December 2020 independent assessment of all aspects of Ghana’s licensing system concluded that the system was not ready for FLEGT licensing, and some corrective actions were required.
Ghana will begin issuing FLEGT licenses when the timber legality assurance system has been successfully tested, and when Ghana and the EU are satisfied that it functions as described in the VPA. In Europe, a FLEGT licence denotes complete compliance with the EUTR for European importers, however, a FLEGT licence may not in and of itself guarantee compliance with timber import regulations in other jurisdictions, such as the U.S. Lacey Act in the United States. This dashboard summarizes currently available information on the legality risks associated with sourcing timber from Ghana.
- Ghana is in the process of developing a mandatory system to verify the legality of timber production and trade and is expected to become the first African nation to issue Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licenses.
- Illegal logging is reportedly declining but the illegal harvest and trade, particularly of high value species, continues to be reported.
- NGO reports have also documented concerns related to the illegal harvest and trade in kosso mainly destined for China and Southeast Asian markets even though there is a government directive banning the harvest of kosso.
- The illegal trade in high value species is reportedly facilitated by hierarchical corruption and weak enforcement of forest laws.
- Enforcement is improving with on the ground audits suggesting high levels of legal compliance by logging companies.
Read more by downloading the Ghana Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.
The world’s largest agriculture producers are pushing back against new European Union rules that require proof that crops weren’t grown on deforested land, which producers say will add to the cost of making food.
Examples and quotes from government and industry players in Brazil, Vietnam, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana cited.
Cocoa farmers in Ghana are improving yields and mitigating climate change by adopting climate-smart cocoa practices while curbing deforestation.
Ghana has earned $4.8 million for reducing nearly 1 million tons of carbon emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation—with up to $45 million expected by the end of 2024.
Ghana and other countries are generating high-quality, high-integrity jurisdictional carbon credits to realize their climate goals and gain access to international carbon markets.
The government of Ghana has since 2019 completely banned the export of rosewood from the country to China.
A Ghenvironment.com investigation in April 2023 revealed how rosewood is still harvested and is transported to Tema port.
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Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II says he is unhappy with the spate of illegal mining that has ravaged lands in the Amansie area of the Ashanti Region.
“It is very sad that despite the several measures government has been putting in place to curb this menace, illegal logging and illegal mining continue to pose a threat to our forest, which means that government cannot do it alone, we must all get involved and support government.”
“I’m not happy with chiefs in the Amansie area where galamsey has taken over the land, and I say to them that if you sit there and you claim that you don’t know what is happening, then you’re not fit to be a chief over there.”
Justice Camilus Mensah from ‘Hen Mpoano’ (Our Coast) a Non-Governmental Organisation has proposed the setting up of an environmental court to deal with environmental issues such as illegal mining in the county’s forests. Mr. Mensah disclosed this at a two-day workshop organised for police prosecutors and other security agencies on forest and environmental laws. He revealed that the development of laws on illegal logging and mining has been sporadic and ineffective and enforcement has failed mainly because of inadequate budgets and poor training of staff. See: https://newsghana.com.gh/ngo-advocates-the-creation-ofan-environment-court/
Ghana’s widespread illegal mining activities are destroying the gold-rich West African country’s forests, the government’s forestry agency warned Tuesday at a news conference in Accra.
Drawing from Center fro Africa Strategic Stiudies recent report, which is based on recent research and programmatic work at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, we have analyzed three ways that illegal logging affects national security and what that means for current measures to counter it.
MOLE NATIONAL PARK, Ghana—Mbaaba Kaper stood in the middle of the illegal timber trafficking warehouse where he’d worked as a watchman for nearly six years. Grasping the edge of a graying trunk that reached his shoulders, Kaper said with a smile, “This one is rosewood.”
He was accomplished at identifying rosewood—the world’s most threatened hardwood. Rosewood exports have been banned in Ghana since 2019, but the vast Chinese-run trafficking network in which Kaper worked in Yipala, northern Ghana, was shut down by Ghanaian police only nine months before we visited in June. The immense trees logged during its operation remained on the ground as far as the eye could see.
Some residents of the Savannah Region have expressed worry and disappointment in the traditional authorities and government for allowing commercial charcoal business in the region despite the ban. The canker has resurfaced in the region after a ban was placed on the activities illegal logging, charcoal burning, fuelwood harvesting and small scale mining activities as part of measures geared toward preserving forest reserves as well as prevent economically viable trees from being destroyed.
Illegal chainsaw operators engaged in felling of trees and extraction of natural resources are threatening the landscape and forest reserves of the Western Wildlife Corridor and the Northern Savannah Forest Zone.
Thursday, March 31, 2022 will be recorded in the annals of Ghana’s forestry sector as one of its most remarkable days. On this day, the current Cabinet, at its 26th meeting, approved the conversion of 156 timber concessions and permits into Timber Utilisation Contracts (TUCs), introduced as a major policy reform in the forestry sector to provide for a competitive system of allocating timber resources.
The Forestry Commission, through its surveillance task force, has arrested 55 illegal miners in the Atewa Forest Reserve over the last six months. Madam Joyce Ofori Kwafo, Head, Corporate Affairs and Media Relations, Forestry Commission, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said a total of 15 different operations carried out between October 2021 and March 2022 led to the arrest of the culprits.
The Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape have called for a full investigation into the negligence and connivance of Forestry Commission staff at the Kyebi District Office in protecting the Atewa Forest. The Group, at a press conference, said illegal activities in the Atewa Forest had escalated in the past six months without any measures to protect and preserve the forest and its biodiversity.
Ghana has for years remained a key exporter of timber. However, stakeholders have been struggling to deal with illegal felling of trees, which made timber exports from Ghana fall short of the European Union’s guidelines. In a bid to address the worrying situation and also improve revenue mobilization, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Forestry Commission have launched the digitalized property mark registration and renewal process and the Ghana electronic wood tracking system.
The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission has described illegal logging in forest reserves as a national security issue that calls for a holistic approach. John Allotey says the rampant issue, especially in Bono, Ahafo, and Western North corridors, threaten rich forest reserves and commission staff, especially forest guards.
Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.
Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.