Civic Response has commenced training on TVD legality verification audits for selected civil society representatives.

The training which comes in two-fold – classroom-based training, and field-based training – is aimed at building the capacity of selected CSO representatives to be able to effectively participate as observers in TVD legality verification audits.

One critical element of Ghana’s Legality Assurance System (GhLAS) is verification as it contributes greatly to international opinion of the transparency, integrity and credibility or otherwise of Ghana’s FLEGT licensing system. The TVD verification protocols recognise the participation of non-state actors including CSOs as observers on TVD legality verification audits. However, this opportunity only exists on paper and no measures have been put in place to operationalise the idea. The excuse has always been that resources available are inadequate and that potential observers may not be sufficiently conversant with TVD legality verification standards to effectively participate as observers.

It is in order to address these concerns that Civic Response mobilised resources to provide the logistical support to build the capacity of selected representatives of CSOs. The objective is to institutionalise the participation of CSO actors as observers in TVD legality verification audits with a view to enhancing transparency, integrity and credibility of the GhLAS, as well as the respect for community rights enshrined in the VPA legality definition.

The first part of the training, which is the classroom-based training, took place in Accra on 8th and 9th June, 2017. In all, 20 representatives were trained. Trainees expressed enthusiasm for being part of this training.

“This is good training! It addresses inadequate capacity challenge for CSOs to play effective role in legality verification,” a participant said.

The second part of the training, which is the field-based training, will be at a later date.

At the end of the two-fold training, it is expected that at least 15 well-trained and committed non-state actors will be at hand to participate in all TVD legality verification audits in the next two-years.

The two-day training workshop was held under the Civil Society-led Independent Forest Monitoring (CSIFM) in Ghana Project, which is being implemented by Civic Response through the FAO FLEGT Programme with funding from European Union, the Swedish International Cooperation Agency and the United Kingdom Department of International Development. The training was also supported by Proforest through its Africa Practitioners Network (APN) Programme.

By: Jemima Opare-Henaku│Civic Response

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