Comment from the EFI FLEGT-Facility: A quiet revolution has transformed Ghana’s forestry sector, laying the foundations for sustainable development, greater benefits for communities and improved access to international markets. One recent development is the Ghana Timber Transparency Portal, the result of a collaboration between the Forestry Commission and civil society organisation Civic Response.
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has conducted an analysis of Ghana’s FLEGT VPA requirements compared to requirements of Ghana’s National Forest Certification System, which is expected to obtain PEFC-endorsement in early 2019. The study identified significant synergies and complementarity between FLEGT and certification requirements and concluded that, while “working at different levels in many regards”, the ultimate outcomes would be complementary: “improving forest management and combating illegal logging and associated trade”.
Ghana demonstrated its Wood Tracking System and other elements of its Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) to stakeholders from Republic of Congo (RoC) and Laos in a five-day event at the end of November. The multi-country information exchange included two conference days and a three-day field trip to the forest and timber processing companies in the Sefwi-Wiawso forest district in western Ghana.
The establishment of FLEGT VPAs with Central African timber producers has been a welcome and positive development, with longer term potential for facilitating trade with EU customers. However, to date the fact that African countries have signed VPAs and are hopefully progressing towards their full implementation and ultimately FLEGT licensing, has not impacted on day-to-day business. Currently EU operators still feel they are having to put suppliers in VPA-engaged African countries through as searching due diligence as ever to comply with the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, and this can be a time-consuming, arduous business. If the VPA process prior to FLEGT licensing can in anyway simplify or streamline EUTR due diligence procedure, it is not sufficiently explained or understood in the marketplace.
With further support, development and communication FLEGT and FLEGT licensing can play a role in underpinning tropical timber product market share in the highly competitive European furniture sector, according to the latest IMM survey.The core aim of the IMM study of procurement in the EU furniture industry is to gauge the sector’s perceptions of the value, impacts and process of sourcing from FLEGT VPA engaged supplier countries.