Civil Response has deepen its further approach towards the promotion of forest sector governance through the implementation of its Civil Society-led Independent Forest Monitoring in Ghana (CSIFM-Ghana) project.
They trained community representatives and equipped them with smartphones to undertake community level forest real time monitoring.
The training aimed at equipping monitors to use a mobile application to collect data on forest infringements. Civic Response has since received alerts on infringements and has resolved verified alerts.
Civil Response, with the aim of ensuring CSOs actively monitor the issuance of credible, transparent and acceptable FLEGT licence in Ghana build the capacity of some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to enable them effectively participate as observers in the TVD legality verifications audits.
This provided CSOs the view to enhancing transparency, integrity and credibility of the GhLAS, as well as the respect for community rights enshrined in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) legality definition.
Civil Response, under the 2year project build and 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.
The portal was built as 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.
This interactive public portal provides information on the various valid logging permits, timber logging companies and their areas of operation; information on exports of timber from Ghana and other periodic reports that are generated from time to time.
This public portal also links to the electronic Ghana Wood Tracking System (GWTS), which is a complete database of information on timber production process in Ghana.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Technical Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Musah Abu-Juam underscored the need for a balance between social and physical monitoring of the forest sector for greater outcomes.
He indicated that while efforts have been made in the social monitoring of the forest sector, similar strength should be channeled to the physical monitoring to improve governance.
According to him, stakeholders in the sector must deepen further approaches in their collaboration efforts to address the weaknesses in the sector.
Chris Beeko, Timber Validation Department, Forestry Commission urged the stakeholders to apply lessons from the coffee, cocoa and oil palm to the extractive sector.
He further urged stakeholders to improve in their objectivity and professionalism in the audit verification to breathe a new air of governance.
The Head of Programme, Civil Response, Albert Katako stressed that stakeholders must strengthen collaboration between CSOs and government in the area of policy formulation in the sector.
“The significant achievement of this is that we now have a FLEGT licence both for the domestic and export market. So any timber company that is exporting timber must have a FLEGT licence issued by the Forest Commission attesting to the fact the company had complied with all the laws in the sector concerning logging as well as the domestic market,” he stated.
Mr. Katako added that as a result of the FLEGT VPA, a lot of transformation has taken place in the sector in the area of policy direction, stakeholder processes and many more.