By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Ghana has been accredited the Forest Management Certification Standard (FMCS) by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international organization that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests.
The accreditation provided the country with an internationally recognized and credible tool kit for assessing sustainable forest management.
The accreditation of the FMCS also means that under the FSC system all forest management practices shall be carried out and measured by these standard requirements to enhance environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of Ghana’s forests.
In addition, independent forest certification bodies undertaking Forest Stewardship Council’s forest certification in Ghana shall be required to use the FMCS for assessment and evaluation.
This was announced at workshop in Accra by the Working Group on Forest Certification-Ghana. The workshop was use as Policy briefing meeting on Ghana Forest Management Certification Standard.
In an interview with Mr. Elijah Yaw Danso, a member of the working group, he stated that Ghana started the process of developing Standards or Certifications way back 1997, but it only got the approval from FSC just last year.
‘This implies that people who are forest managers for instance (the companies) can put their concessions under the certification, and when they are certified, it means that it give them premier on the market when they are going to sell their products. This will show that their timbers are coming from a forest that are sustainable managed, and this will includes legally produced timbers,’ he explained.
According to him, this gives the Ghanaian companies the better opportunity to sell their timbers on the international market.
Daily Express gathered that the certification also indicates that generally, Ghana is sustainable managing it forest.
Currently, there are 10 companies which have come on board going through the process of certification. However, these companies are using the standards FSC. ‘The more companies that are certified, the more we can say that our forest are sustainable managed,’ said Mr. Danso.
However, he added that Ghana could have a different standard that is if different companies decided to belong to a different international certified body.
As to whether this certification will have any conflict with the Volunteer Partnership Agreement (VPA) Ghana is yet to sign with the European Union (EU), Mr. Danso told Daily Express that the VPA is looking at ensuring that Ghana has legal timber imported to the EU.
‘And the legal definition Ghana gave includes a lot of the criteria that actually includes in the FSC standards. So in a broader sense sustainable management is much better than legality. So VPA will therefore become like a subset of the certification process. But the VPA is government initiative and government partnership with the EU, which has become mandatory. When you want to export you need VPA certification,’ Mr. emphasized.
Mr. reiterated that the certification is not mandatory. ‘It is a voluntary initiative a company will take, because it gives visibility and bigger opportunity in the international market. Companies that want to trade under the FSC are better off when they are certified.’