Ghana, EU Progress on Implementation of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement

The aide memoire of the ninth session of the Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM), which took place on 27 and 28 February 2018, in Accra, Ghana, has been released.

by Christopher Ackon

A key item on the JMRM’s agenda was the joint assessment of the Ghana Legality Assurance System (GhLAS) – an important step on the road to FLEGT licensing. A team of independent experts from the EU and Ghana will begin joint assessments of the GhLAS in May 2018, to help determine when it can be considered fully operational under the terms of the VPA. It is designed as an iterative assessment, which should conclude on Ghana’s readiness for FLEGT licensing. 

Proposed amendments to the annexes of the VPA were discussed. One of the amendments introduced by Ghana was the inclusion of furniture in the scope of products to be covered by the FLEGT licensing scheme. 

The report from the FLEGT licence shipment test conducted in selected EU countries in 2017 was reviewed and endorsed. The report contains a series of recommendations that Ghana committed to implement according to an action plan that will be developed by mid-March 2018.

In addition, the Forestry Commission of Ghana advised that they are consulting with the private sector on terms and procedures to ensure the conversion of extant leases to one of the new permit types defined in the 2017 Timber Resources Management and Legality Licensing Regulations. Companies that need to make this conversion will have until 3 May 2018 to apply to the Forestry Commission. 

For details on the decisions adopted by the JMRM, see the aide-memoire adopted by the Parties. 

For more information on the VPA process in Ghana, visit the EU FLEGT facility webpage on Ghana.