EU calls for passage of Forest Law Enforcement Bill
(EU) – The Head of delegation of the European Union (EU) to Ghana, Mr William Hanna, has urged the government to push for the passage of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Bill to reduce illegal logging and trade in the country.
The FLEGT is an action plan initiated by the EU in 2003 to ensure sustenance in the timber trade between Ghana and the EU.
According to him, the action plan would strengthen the sustainable and legal forest management by improving governance and promoting trade of legally produced timber.
“Ghana, over the years, had been the lead in the production of timber to the EU and had provided a very high value. Though a lot of work has been done to improve the relationship, but in a way, the trade between Ghana and the EU did not get to completion as there is an absence of licence to govern the forest in the country,” he said.
Mr Hanna made the call when four members of the EU delegation paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, in Accra.
He was accompanied by the Head of Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Section of EU, Ghana, Mr Benoist Bazin; the Head of Programming of EU, Ghana, Mr Christopher Ackon and the Director of the Timber Validation Department of the Forestry Commission.
Mr Hanna noted that the sustenance in the production and consumption of timber was important as it would go a long way to create jobs for the youth in the country, and added that the EU’s market in timber continued to flourish and it was a call on the country to participate in additional trade, particularly in the agricultural sector, such as fishery.
Making reference to Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he urged the government to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, as well as ensure that forests were managed to combat desertification and degradation of the lands.
Mr Amewu lauded the EU for its support in empowering the forestry sector, adding that the implementation of the FLEGT Bill would impact positively on addressing issues of climate change.
“Climate change is a metric issue and the ministry will live up to the expectation of taking advantage of the voluntary partnership with the EU,” he said.
He said though the technical component of the passage of the law was started by the past administration of President John Dramani Mahama in 2009, the ministry had a keen interest to continue to ensure that whatever the previous government gathered was used to guarantee its passage.
Mr Amewu said the ministry looked forward to reviewing and aligning its forest laws and regulations by studying the Legislative Instrument (LI) to make amendments.
EU calls for passage of Forest Law Enforcement Bill by Theresah Esson. Available from <http://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/eu-calls-for-passage-of-forest-law-enforcement-bill.html> [March 06, 2017]