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 website, launched in March, provides real-time access to information on logging permits, companies and areas, and on timber exports to different markets. It will help foreign importers perform due diligence on Ghanaian supplies while giving independent monitors in Ghana the information they need to scrutinise the sector.
“Without credible information, it is not possible for local communities or civil society to work to address illegalities in the forest sector,” says Samuel Mawutor, coordinator of Forest Watch Ghana. “The development of the portal comes as good news to civil society, and also demonstrates the commitment of the Forestry Commission to be open about forest management.”
New regulations adopted last year commit the Forestry Commission to unprecedented transparency. The new online portal is intended to help with this by providing public access to information on forest management. It links to a new tracking system, which checks whether the law is being followed all the way from when a tree is cut down, to when it is turned into a product such as a piece of furniture.
“The forest sector is leading the way in transparency and accountability for other sectors to emulate,” says Albert Katako, head of Civic Response.