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Ghana : Indicators

2012 > 20 Key Indicators 2012 > Codified Forest Law and Supporting Norms

There is no single forest law but a range of legislation governs the sector. The main laws and instruments were passed in 1997-98 and amended in 2002-03, which are available on the Forestry Commission (FC) website. There is a general knowledge of the forestry related laws among most stakeholders, even though hard copies of the laws are not readily available in the districts. The law and norms have not been translated into local languages, but have been summarised by FC and Friends of the Earth into a 20 page document which is used in workshops, community meetings and stakeholder engagements. This summary has also been translated into posters in some local languages (but neither the summary document nor posters are available on any website for others to make use of). Hard copies are available at the offices of Friends of the Earth.

Important provisions of the amended legal and regulatory framework have not been applied. Since 2003, it has been necessary for all large-scale logging operations to be managed under Timber Utilisation Contracts. A conversion process was intended to review older contracts, but this has not taken place. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union was ratified in 2010, which includes a legality definition that all older contracts are inconsistent with.

As part of the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union, there has been a two-stage legislative revision process. The first part is completed, with the passing of LI 2184. This creates the Timber Validation Council, a multi-stakeholder group that oversees the Timber Validation Department (TVD) of the Forestry Commission, to “ensure that the TVD functions in a transparent and independent manner” (according to the VPA). This important LI was passed in July 2012, and although it not yet published there is information that the two civil society representatives in the Council will be from the Trades Unions and the Traditional Authorities. These groups have not traditionally been at the heart of discussion on forest governance, so they will have to work closely with others to ensure that they represent the breadth of civil society concerns about the sector.

The second stage is a consolidation process of all the forest laws, not least to address community management of forests. An inclusive review process was led by a consultant. At the time of this assessment, the revised document was said to be with the Attorney General, but it had not yet been laid before Parliament. It remains to be seen how this process is taken forward after the elections in December 2012.

Title a. Act 547, Timber Resource Management Act, 1997 (amended by Act 617 2002)
b. Legislative Instrument 1649, 1998 (amended by LI 1721 (2003)
c. Timber Resource Management Act, 1998 (amended by Act 617 2002)
d. Legislative Instrument 1649, 1998 (amended by LI 1721 (2003).
e. Forest Protection Decree 1974 NRCD 243 As Amended by The Protection Amendment Act 2002, Act 624
f. Wildlife Preservation Act 1961, Act 43
Legislative Instrument 2184, 2012, Subsidiary Legislation on the Timber Resources (Legality Licensing) Regulations
Organisation Forestry Commission
Source www.fcghana.com/library.php?id=15 (LI 2184 has not yet been published on the FC website)
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