Promoting sustainable forestry through forest certification


Covering about 23% of the total area of Ghana, it is no wonder forests play a crucial role in defining the cultural identity and traditional beliefs of Ghanaians in most forest fringed communities. The forestry sector contributes about 6% to Ghana’s GDP, employing 120,000 people directly. It also forms part of the Guinean Moist Forest and provides a home for endangered species such as Chimpanzees, Bare-headed rockfowl and forest elephants. Unfortunately, at deforestation rate of 65,000ha – 128,000ha per annum, the remaining forest in Ghana is concentrated in the South-Western part of the country.

Illegal logging and trade in illegally logged timber is a major problem for Ghana causing environmental damage and retards sustainable development. Contributing to these problems are emerging consumer countries patronising timber and wood products without ensuring that they are legally sourced.

In light of these problems GFTN-Ghana, a local version of WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) supported by USAID, DFID and EC was established in August 2003 aimed at driving improvement in forest management and to eliminate illegal logging through credible and independently verified certification.


The project has already generated awareness and interest in certification in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. GFTN-Ghana provides technical support and guidance on forest and chain of custody certification and sustainable forest management; facilitates timber trade links between companies and individuals committed to responsible forest management and forest product trade, and builds local capacity on forest certification and auditing techniques.

Given the important roles that state institutions play in forest management in West Africa, WWF has been in consultations with state institutions (SODEFOR and Forestry Commission of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana respectively) and has involved them actively in implementing the elements of the project. Already the Ghana government endorses and supports the GFTN programme in Ghana as a means of improving forest management.
	© Mustapha SEIDU / WWF WAFPO
Suhuma Forest Reserve, Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana
© Mustapha SEIDU / WWF WAFPO

Promoting Active Involvement of Civil Society in Forest Management

Illegal logging and the trade in illegally logged timber is a major problem for many timber-producing countries in the developing world. Aside causing environmental damage, it costs governments huge loss of revenue, promotes corruption, undermines the rule of law and good governance and in some places has financed armed conflict.

In recent years, however, producer and consumer countries alike have paid increasing attention to illegal logging. In 2003 the EU adopted an Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to address these problems. The Action Plan combines measures in producer and consumer countries to facilitate trade in legal timber, and eliminate illegal timber from trade with the European Union (EU).

WWF-WAFPO’s FLEGT/VPA project sought to provide technical support to Government of Ghana’s negotiating team in the VPA negotiating process with the European Union. It also created and continues to create an enabling environment for active involvement of civil society players in the process by providing a platform for which players could share ideas and contribute to the process. Ghana’s VPA has since September 2008 been signed. With the signing of the VPA in Ghana, the project seeks to contribute to forest management by monitoring and reporting on the processes and disseminating information to stakeholders.

WWF-WAFPO’s FLEGT/VPA project will continue to provide avenues for civil society groups in the forestry sector to continually make inputs into forest governance in particular and the sustainable management of forest resources in Ghana in general.

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