This report assesses the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of Ghana entering into a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU), governing the trade in timber between Ghana and the EU. Timber resources from Ghana’s forests are currently being exploited unsustainably, with a possible 70% of the estimated 3.3 million m3 national timber harvested being illegal, and ecosystems are at risk of irreversible degradation.
The report considers the potential impacts of three main scenarios in the development of Ghana’s forest sector: A baseline of the current situation projected into the future; a legality assurance for export and domestic markets; and sector reform to improve forest governance. The assessment uses reviews of information sources, consultations with a range of stakeholders, and modelling of industry, institutional and economic data.
Forest policies have historically shaped action in Ghana’s forests, though improving governance in practice has been more challenging. The IIED assessment team concludes that developing a legitimate timber regime through a VPA would be a positive stepping stone, enabling more forest sector reform. The VPA alone, however, is not enough to prevent substantial forest degradation and this report recommends more fundamental policy changes and stronger pilot programmes will be needed to bring about long-needed reform of the sector towards more local benefit and sustainability.
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