Advancing forest certification in Ghana
National system development
Forest certification in Ghana has long been recognized as a tool to ensure that forests are well managed, with the development process for Ghanaian forest management certification initiated by the Government of Ghana back in 1997.
A big step forward came in 2003 with the establishment of the National Working Group to serve as the technical wing for the development of a credible forest certification standard in the country. Formed during a national stakeholders’ workshop, the working group was structured in such a way as to ensure the active participation and representation of all the stakeholders in the country.
Four years later, and in collaboration with local and international stakeholders, the working group finalized the national standard for forest management certification.
With many of their trading partners on the international market (both EU and US) continuing to put pressure on the country to place certified products on the market, a next step is to achieve PEFC’s international recognition of their national standard.
Ghana moves towards PEFC
In view of gaining this international acceptance, the working group developed a Ghanaian National Forest Certification System in line with PEFC’s requirements. In order to help the stakeholders move closer to this endorsement, the 2015 PEFC Collaboration Fund supported a project to get the system through some of the key stages of development.
While there was already a Ghanaian national standard for sustainable forest management, other aspects of the certification system still required development, such as the Group Certification requirements, a Chain of Custody Standard and many procedural documents to ultimately support governance and administration of the national system.
The Working Group on Forest Certification becoming a PEFC member in June 2016, and thanks to the hard work and dedication of all stakeholders, the national system was finalized and submitted to PEFC for assessment in 2018. The national system is expected to achieve PEFC endorsement in 2019.
In addition to the work done to develop a Ghanaian National Forest Certification System ready for PEFC endorsement, the project also embarked on an outreach program with the private sector, media and other stakeholders to increase the knowledge of PEFC, sustainable forest management and forest certification within the country.