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GHANA : Western, Eastern, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions-Training of FFCs and Timber Firms on their responsibilities and Rights with regards to Sustainable Forest Management.
ICCO Programmatic area: Sustainable Forest Management (Promoting Forest Governance and Certification)
Project completed or ongoing:
Context: The Forest Governance and Certification Clusters of the SFMP-G is aimed at enhancing community participation in forest management through communities combating forest crime.

Governance challenges :Forest crime thrives well on weak forest governance and poor law enforcement. Both factors also contribute to undermine transparency, probity and institutional accountability.

Generally, forest policy and its derived legislation endeavour to regulate the different interests converging on the forest to promote enabling environment for sustainable utilisation, management and development of forest resources.

Notwithstanding these good intentions, inherent policy and legislation constraints frequently pose problems in forest governance. One example in pursuance of the export oriented policy of the sector is the refusal of timber industries to retain 20% of lumber products for the domestic market. In absence of any sanctions to deter non-compliance and also, regulate supplies, a serious domestic wood demand has been invariably created to encourage wood supplies from illegal sources. Since punishments meted out to illegal chainsaw operators are not deterrent enough and lumber demand on the local market continues to grow, chainsaw operators will find no disincentive to sustain illegal logging.

Until recently legislation governing tree ownership had discouraged communities from protecting and nurturing timber trees on farms following vesting of tree tenure rights to the state. This implied that apart from timber, farmers rights with respect to protection of farm produce remained inadequately protected, resulting in rampant destruction. It is therefore not surprising that community collaboration has not been forthcoming under the new legislation recognizing tree ownership and benefit sharing to the farmers.

Though mining in forest reserves contravenes the principles underlining the establishment of forest reserves in Ghana, the mining policies has been silent allowing encroachment of mining industries and illegal miners into the forest reserves with adverse environmental consequences. This contravenes with the 1994 forest and wildlife policy of Ghana, which aims at conservation and sustainable development of the nation`s forest and wildlife resources for the maintenance of environmental quality and perpetual flow of optimum benefits to all segments of society.

Another issue of concern is the frequent government interference in the implementation of policies which has rendered the forest institutions ineffective in exercising their function fully in forest governance and law enforcement.

The low capacity and sense of empowerment of FFC's in particular vulnerable groups such as women, youth, etc also hampers their access to their rightful royalties and benefits from SRA development. In many instances, FFC's have become on-lookers in the management of the forests in their communities. They have little or no information or say in the negotiations, contracts and activities of Forest Commission agencies and timber companies. They have largely a low sense of ownership and control over how the forest resources in their communities are managed.

These activities are undertaken following the 'Programmatic Approach' strategy being encouraged by ICCO

Results: This initiative is a partnership between the ICCO and SFMP-Ghana. The Sustainable Forest Management Partnership (SFMP)-Ghana is a partnership of six civil society organizations and one traditional council seeking to promote sustainable management of Ghana's forests resources. This partnership process which was initiated by the Inter Church Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) in 2007, seeks to building synergies to contribute to sustainable income generation, social and economic empowerment of forest fringe communities, poverty reduction and the maintenance of environmental quality. Currently, the organizations making up the partnership are: Friends of the Earth-Ghana (FOE-Gh); Rural Development and Youth.

The 'Programmatic Approach' is a multi stake holder process that leads to organisations working together ,based a joint analysis, shared vision and objectives and clear perspective on the results of the cooperation. In such a situation, all actors can do different things, work at various levels and use specific strengths for the common purpose and objectives, as well as shared activities, and in particular participate in the mutual linking and learning processes. The' Programmatic Approach' aims at change in systems, rather than addressing single problems.( Hettie Walters- Guidance Notes on the Programmatic Approach of the ICCO alliance, 2011)

Association (RUDEYA); Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP); National Working Group (NWG) Kumasi Wood Cluster (KWC) Association and Wassa Amenfi Traditional Council (WATC).

Partners: ICCO- Funding

SFMP-G- Training and facilitating the identification, collection and Marketing through its partners (RUDEYA,NWG,FoE-Ghana, KWC)- forming the Certification and Governance

Forest Fringe Communities(FFCs)- Identifying and ollecting NTFP's for the market.

Forestry Commission Ghana(FC)- Giving permission for community members to enter forest Timber Companies- Paying their SRA and VPA


  1. Development and printing of toolkit on VPA and other training and awareness creation materials

  2. Inception and sensitization workshops for leaders, stakeholders/community forest policy forums

  3. encounter and editors forum

  4. Monitoring, review and coordination of forest governance activities

  5. Communication/Facilitation training for staff for delivery of toolkit

  6. Monitoring and review of forest governance and certification activities

  7. Mobilization/sensitization of CBOs

  8. Follow up on sensitization of CBOs/formation & inauguration

  9. Training of communities, CBOs, radio stations and chiefs

  10. Follow up on training of Timber firms

Governance Activities

In the areas where NWG has been working, sustained interest of timber companies in fulfilling the requirements of Forest Certification in Ghana has contributed to an increase in the number of timber companies which held FSC Controlled Wood and Chain of Custody Certificates at the end of June 2012. Four companies were holding that certificate before 2012 but the number of such companies increased to five by the end of June 2012. The five companies which have acquired that certificate are Logs and Lumber Limited (LLL), Suhuma Company, John Bitar Company, Samartex and Ayum Forest Products Limited. NWG has observed that the large-scale timber companies are willing to invest in efforts aimed at certification in order to sustain their business.

Suhuma Company and Logs & Lumber Limited have pledged to pay a total of US$10,500 to support the extension of educational outreach on social obligations of forest fringe communities in their forest operational areas. As at June, 2012, NWG had received US $ 5,250 and other educational logistics to facilitate consultation and sensitization for the purpose of strengthening collaboration amongst the forest fringe communities and timber companies.

In the areas where RUDEYA has been working, the number of the Local SRA Committees has increased from 15 to 25. With their capacity adequately built through the SFMPG program, CBOs are able to engage with the timber firms in SRA negotiation. Two negotiation processes have been successfully concluded and the SRAs have been signed already. Some Timber firms are promoting conflict-free SRA negotiation processes.

Certification Activities

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For more information contact:
Kpebesaan Delle - SC Chair
Email: Kpebesaan _delle@hotmail.com