Early August 2017, James Parker, BVRio’s Regional Director, participated in a Ghanaian learning & sharing mission to Indonesia to prepare for the issuance of FLEGT license for Ghanaian timber. The mission was organized and facilitated by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources of Ghana and Civic Response, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia.
Ghana is preparing to start issuing FLEGT licensing for timber exports into the European Union (EU), under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The development of Ghana’s Wood Tracking System (GWTS) is now completed and ready for a final joint auditing with the EU. As part of the preparation towards issuing the FLEGT license, a delegation from Ghana undertook a learning and sharing mission to Indonesia from 6th-11th August 2017.
Indonesia started addressing illegal timber logging in 2001 and developed its Legality Assurance System (SVLK) in 2009 before signing the FLEGT-VPA. This enabled the country to fulfil its obligation under FLEGT-VPA and to become the first country to export FLEGT licensed timber to the EU.
The main goals of the learning & sharing mission were to exchange views on how the Indonesians have addressed challenges faced during the deployment of the Legality Assurance System (SVLK), especially how red flags raised were addressed and how they have related to the EU Competent Authorities; expose the Ghanaian team to effective ways of deploying the GWTS public portal to benefit international private sector as achieved by the Indonesians through their SVLK and SILK portal; learn at first hand the potential impact of FLEGT license on exporting companies; engage with Civil Society and share lessons on how to improve forest governance and transparency; and share thoughts and lessons at the ministerial level on FLEGT licensing.
Joint action by Ghana and Indonesia
Ghana and Indonesia agreed to:
- Send a strong request to the EU to fulfil article 13 of the FLEGT-VPA Agreement by promoting a favourable position in the EU market for timber products covered by FLEGT license particularly measures to support public and private procurement policies that recognizes FLEGT licensed timber and create awareness amongst consumers about FLEGT licensed timber products.
- Once Ghana is also able to issue FLEGT license, together with Indonesia will establish FLEGT licensed timber block to market and give premium to FLEGT licensed timber
Potential for BVRio Responsible Timber Exchange
BVRio Responsible Timber Exchange was designed to facilitate compliance with the requirements of export markets of the US (Lacey Act) and the European Union, and to promote the FLEGT Action Plan. In this, BVRio could play a key role in supporting marketing FLEGT licensed timber from Ghana and Indonesia and other countries who will join through the RTE Platform and other promotions. There is the need to think through this, discuss with government authorities in both countries and work with them, as well as timber producing companies and with the consumers in the EU.