GHANA LAUNCHES TIMBER TRANSPARENCY PORTAL
Ghana has launched the Ghana Timber Transparency Portal, a public portal that provides access to information on logging in Ghana. The portal can be accessed by all stakeholders both in and beyond Ghana in real time via the url: www.ghanatimbertransparency.info. This is part of governance reforms in the forest sector happening as a result of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) signed between Ghana and the European Union in 2009.
The Ghana Timber Transparency Portal was developed as a result of collaboration between Civic Response (a leading natural resource and environmental governance policy advocacy organisation in Ghana) and the FC under the auspices of the former’s Civil Society-led Independent Forest Monitoring (CSIFM) Project with funding from the EU, Swedish International Cooperation Agency and UKAid under the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme.
The Ghana Rosewood Mess: Fast-Tracking Ghana VPA Implementation as a Solution
“Rosewood logging and trade under salvage permit is undermining significant strides made over the last decade at addressing illegal logging; and reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in Ghana.
As rosewood and other trees in the northern regions are logged, the area fast becomes a desert, making agriculture difficult, compounding their increasing poverty levels.
CSOs have sighted a letter from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources authorizing the Forestry Commission to grant to Messrs Attakey Limited, salvage permit for the removal of 5000 cubic meters (250 units of 40ft containers) of Rosewood from Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions (combined is 57% of the total landmass of Ghana).
This permit gives us the impression that the company has been granted a blank “cheque” to remove as much Rosewood as the company can.”
THE CONTROVERSY BETWEEN MINISTERS OVER EXTON CUBIC’S MINING LEASE IS EMBARRASSING
“The current controversy surrounding Exton Cubic Group Limited’s mineral licence in the Tano Offin Forest Reserve is a big embarrassment to government and completely exposes the loopholes in the mineral rights allocation. This needless confusion does not bode well with natural resources governance and sustainable development of the country….
Forest Watch Ghana challenges the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to be consistent with the 2012 Forest and Wildlife Policy (and the Forest Development Master Plan; the vehicle for implementing the 2012 FWP).”
PRESS RELEASE: DISTRICT ASSEMBLIES NEED TO USE TIMBER ROYALTIES MORE RESPONSIBLY!
Royalties from timber do not have much development impact on Ghana. This is because there are no guidelines to provide the needed framework for district assemblies to use timber royalties. Civic Response commissioned a survey in 2016 to find out how 14 districts and municipal assemblies use timber royalties. This press release highlights the results of the study and makes recommendations.
INDEPENDENT FOREST MONITORING: A CHANCE FOR IMPROVED GOVERNANCE IN VPA COUNTRIES?
The forest sector is particularly vulnerable to poor governance including corruption, fraud, and organised crime.1 Illegality in the sector generates vast sums of money and has helped fuel long and bloody conflicts. Even in countries that have good forest laws, implementation is weak and can be bypassed by powerful corporate and political interests that facilitate illegal production of timber. Since early 2000, Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) has been championed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as a way to document illegalities and promote stronger law enforcement in the forest sector. This document highlights on lessons learned from Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, and the Republic of the Congo.
CIVIC RESPONSE’S 2016 ANNUAL REPORT
The year 2016, an election year in Ghana, began on a fairly good note for forest governance when Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the forestry sector, the Timber Industry and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) chalked a landmark breakthrough by overcoming nearly two decades long of political hurdles that were the
main reasons for illegal logging in Ghana.
FOREST GOVERNANCE MONITORING SYSTEM – GHANA
Civic Response in Ghana and partners in Liberia, Cameroon and Republic of Congo, developed monitoring systems in the respective countries for forest governance. The objective was to generate evidence on selected governance indicators (Participation,Transparency and Benefit Sharing) to inform the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT–VPA) processes. This document outlines the context, objectives and expected outputs for the Ghana work.
ASSESSING COMMUNITY CONSENT IN LARGE SCALE LAND INVESTMENTS IN GHANA
One of the crucial elements during land acquisition process is the role of tenant farmers, community members, and landowners. The Free Prior Informed Consent concept provides an avenue to address concerns of local communities and indigenous peoples in land acquisitions in implemented right. Civic Response, with funding support from the EU sought to interrogate the application of elements of this principle in selected areas of large land acquisitions for forest-related projects. The study revealed that large scale land acquisitions in the country, especially within the frame of Customary tenure, do not meet the FPIC guidelines and the requirements of most of the laws and policies of the country.
ASSESSING ACCESSIBILITY & AVAILABILITY OF LOGGING INFORMATION TO COMMUNITIES
This study is part of the actions implementing the Tackling Deforestation Programme through linking the REDD+ and FLEGT Projects, which is being implemented Civic Response in Ghana. Among the outcomes of the Tackling Deforestation Programme is the establishment of governance monitoring systems to track developments in the forest and land sectors, particularly initiatives related to the FLEGT process, land acquisition and REDD+.