Forest Services Division urged to lighten licence

Mr. Katako

Mr. Katako

The head of programmes of Civic Response (CR), Mr. Albert Katako, has called on Forest Services Division of the Forestry Commission to ensure that all forestry agencies in the country obtain the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licence.

According to him this would minimise illegal logging of timber and tighten the weak forest law to improve the governance of forest resources and enhance the management practices to sustain Ghana’s forest.

He made this appeal at the workshop of the Civil Society-led Independent Forest Monitoring in Ghana (CSIM-Ghana), a project implemented by CR in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nation and European Union (EU).

Dubbed, ‘Working towards a transparent, credible and acceptable FLEGT licence’, the programme which is aimed at ensuring that civil society actively monitor the issuance of a credible acceptable FLEGT licence, was organised in Accra on Wednesday.

Mr. Katako indicated that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) and the Forestry Commission led Ghana into a voluntary partnership agreement with the EU to address the underlying governance challenges in the forest sector to better the regulation of timber trade in the nation.

He stated that illegal logging was a canker bedeviling the forest industry which over the years had retarded economic development adding that, “Forest governance reform will preserve the forest and ensure the legality of timber trade in Ghana.”

Mr. Magnus Grylle, Forestry Officer of FAO lamented that due to the weak law Ghana’s timber in Europe had become legal than buying it in Ghana.

Speaking on the benefit of FLEGT-VPA, he said that the agreement signed by the country would halt the illegal trade of timber and would ensure that culprits were punished for violating the law.

“If anyone commits an illegality in the production of timber in Ghana, the person should not be allowed to sell his/her timber and timber products on the local market or export the timber to foreign countries, the person must face the law,” he said.

The Technical Director of MLNR, Mr. Musa Abu Juam, who threw more light on the Timber Validation Department said the department was new under the Forestry Commission, and work of the department was to ensure that timber was produced in a way that complied with all the laws of Ghana.

He lauded CR for creating awareness of the FLEGT-VPA and advancing the rights of communities that depend on natural resources for their livelihood.

By Joyceline Natally Cudjoe

 

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