Ghana is in the final stages of becoming the first African country to award a Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) license for its timber and wood products traded on the European market.
This makes Ghana the second country in the world to begin trading legally in certified wood and wood products with the European Union under the FLEGT framework.
The feat was accomplished during the 11th Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism conference between Ghana and the EU, which took place in Brussels from September 20th to September 26th, 2023.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, stated that Ghana has seen significant improvements in forest governance with the implementation and operation of the timber legality assurance system.
He said that the impending issuance of FLEGT licenses to the EU market and licenses to other international destinations would be undergirded with the same legal standards.
According to him, this would be the next logical step in consolidating the gains towards sustainable forest management and forest governance.
“Ghana’s commitment to the VPA, as well as halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030 remains absolute,” he added.
The Director-General for International Partnerships of the European Commission, Koen Doens, stated that the Government of Ghana with the support and cooperation of European partners, have remarkably dedicated itself to sustainable forest management and the fight against illegal logging over the years.
He noted that Ghana’s move to achieving FLEGT licensing highlights the potential of international cooperation in addressing crucial global challenges like deforestation and illegal logging.
He added that the EU anticipates the positive impact that FLEGT licensing would bring to Ghana’s timber industry and the broader environment, illustrating how partnerships and persistent efforts can drive meaningful change.
A FLEGT license is an export license issued by a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) partner country for timber or timber-related products destined for the EU market which certifies that the timber or timber-related products exported under that license are legal.
Under the FLEGT license, timber and timber-related products covered by a valid FLEGT license automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and prohibit the placing onto the EU market illegally harvested timber and timber-related products derived from such timber.