The European Union and the Government of Ghana have met recently to discuss the terms and progress for implementing the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), according to Ghana Web.
Representatives of stakeholders groups which form part of the Ghana-EU VPA Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM) will meet to discuss the implementation of the agreement. The VPA sustains the legal selling of timber products exported to the EU and the domestic market.
Nii Osa Mills, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said that the JMRM also met to inspect the progress of the legality assurance system in Ghana, regarding the timber products in the country, before the licensing could take action. They decided that the next joint assessment on the timber legality assurance system in Ghana to be scheduled in August 2016.
This licensing would allow timber products from Ghana to access the EU market without importers, because Ghana would be obliged to respect the European Timber Regulation (EUTR).
“We made progress in clarifying our forest management plans, transparency, commitment and other outstanding issues. Each of these steps for improvements in forest governance brings Ghana closer to licensing and easier access to the EU market. The further development of our timber legality assurance system is also helping Ghana resolve legality issues with our domestic market and regional trade,” Mills added.
As Ghana Web reported, Mr William Hanna, European Union Ambassador to Ghana and Co-Chair of the JMRM, stated that Ghana’s forest is very important for the right development of the country, alongside with its good governing, things which will contribute as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Also, the JMRM discussed about permits for logging issued under the provisions of the Timber Resource Management Act (Act 617) and about the conversion of leases to Timber Utilisation Contracts in line with the provision of Act 547.