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Ghana and European Union advance in joint effort to improve forest governance and combat trade in illegal timber


Representatives of Ghana and the European Union met 18 November 2016 in Accra to review progress on the implementation of the Ghana-EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), which aims to improve forest governance and verify the legality of Ghana’s timber trade. The Ghana-EU VPA Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM) oversees the implementation of the Agreement and includes representatives of all stakeholder groups.


The JMRM reviewed the status of development of Ghana’s timber legality assurance system and discussed outstanding issues to be addressed before FLEGT licensing can begin. When issued, the FLEGT licence will enable Ghana’s timber products to enter the EU market without importers having to do further due diligence to meet their obligations under the EU Timber Regulation. 

On 15 November, Indonesia became the first country in the world to issue FLEGT licences. Ghana is advancing rapidly towards the same goal, which will establish it as a leader in the fight against illegal timber trade.

“Today, we presented the Legislative Instrument which we will submit to Ghana’s Parliament for enactment,’ said Musah Abu-Juam, Technical Director of Ghana Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources. ‘This Instrument has strong civil society and private sector involvement and support. It strengthens the Legality Definition which underpins the Agreement.’

The Legislative Instrument enhances forest governance in Ghana and helps Ghana to meet the terms of the VPA by enhancing transparency, generating beneffits for communities and clarifying the allocation of all timber rights.

In addition to these advances, Ghana is also addressing illegal logging in its domestic market, as well as regional trade. Ghana is rolling out a new system for tracking timber on the domestic market that involves both suppliers and traders, and requires proof of legality through the chain of custody.

“These major achievements show that Ghana continues to strengthen forest governance through the VPA and is advancing toward FLEGT licensing,’ said Benoist Bazin, Team Leader for Infrastructure and Development at the Delegation of the European Union to Ghana. ‘Good governance of Ghana’s forests is crucial to sustainable development. Moreover, it helps both Ghana and the EU contribute to achieving the world’s Sustainable Development Goals, mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity.’

Through the VPA, Ghana is controlling illegal timber trade, modernising timber operations and ensuring forestry brings employment in the formal economy and social benefits such as payments to communities through Social Responsibility Agreements. For the EU, the VPA contributes to achieving the goals of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan which aims to improve forest governance and combat illegal logging.


·         Joyce Ofori Kwafo

Corporate Affairs & Media Relations Manager

+233 (0) 24 464 3780


·         Christopher Ackon

Programme Officer, Delegation of the European Union to Ghana

(+233) 30 2 774 094 ext 6145


Notes to editors


Ghana and the EU negotiated the VPA between 2007 and 2008. The EU and Ghana signed the VPA on 19 November 2009 and it entered into force on 1 December 2009. Ghana and the EU are now implementing the commitments they made in the agreement.

Under the VPA, Ghana commits to developing a timber legality assurance system so it can issue verified legal timber products with FLEGT licences.

A FLEGT licence is an export licence issued by a VPA partner country for timber or timber products destined for the EU market. The licence certifies that the timber or timber products exported under that licence are legal. Timber and timber products covered by valid FLEGT licences automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). The EUTR prohibits the placing onto the EU market of illegally harvested timber and timber products derived from such timber. It requires operators who place timber or timber products on the market for the first time to exercise due diligence to make sure that timber and timber products are legal. FLEGT licensed timber will not be subject to due diligence checks.

Once Ghana’s timber legality assurance system is operational, Ghana commits to export to the EU only FLEGT-licensed timber products. The EU commits to allow imports of FLEGT-licensed timber from Ghana to enter the EU market without due diligence checks.

Ghana’s representatives on the Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism are drawn from government institutions as well as from the private sector and civil society.  The European Union is represented by the EU Delegation to Ghana and officials from the European Commission in Brussels.

More details of the JMRM discussions can be found in the meeting’s summary (aide memoire), which will be published on the website of the Forestry Commission of Ghana.

More information on the Ghana–EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement


For more information on the Ghana-EU VPA visit:

Forestry Commission of Ghana

Delegation of the European Union to Ghana

EU FLEGT Facility: Ghana country page

EU FLEGT Facility: Ghana media room

Implementing the Ghana–EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement. Annual Report 2012





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