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Ghana : Indicators

2012 > 20 Key Indicators 2012 > Recognition of Customary Rights in Forest Laws and Norms

In the Constitution, stool lands are vested in accordance with customary law and usage and the institution of chieftaincy together with its traditional councils is guaranteed. Customary law is respected and even where rights are not fully documented (as it is in most instances), orally transmitted rules and traditions are respected by citizens, forest authorities and timber operators. However, the state exercises control over all forest resources and few people in local communities are aware of their rights in practice. The 1994 Forest Policy included a commitment to enable community rights to manage trees or forests, but implementing legislation has not been formulated. The new Forest Policy places a firmer obligation on the authorities to pass such norms.

The Forestry Commission and its partners are expected to respect the taboos and sacred forest norms in their operations and there are terms governing that in the regulations. When timber is felled in those sacred areas, usually the responsible chiefs are involved. Their consent is sought before any activity is carried out. However, in some cases, there are clashes between companies and community members over the authenticity of their permits and rights to exploit resources from the forest.

Through the Making The Forest Sector Transparent Project, the Wassa Amenfi East District Assembly has been supported to develop bye laws on natural resources management. These bylaws include provisions that support community interest and concerns on how natural resources should be managed at the district level. It is hoped that other districts will follow soon and gazette bylaws that regard and respect community and traditional protocols.

Title a. The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
Timber Resource Management Regulation LI 1649 and Amendment LI 1721
Date a. 1992
b 2003
Source a. www.ghanareview.com/Gconst.html
Copies of the constitution, published by Assembly Press, can be obtained in all accredited bookshops in the country as well as the bookshops of the country’s universities
b. http://www.fcghana.org/library.php?id=15
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