Drawing lessons from five years multi-stakeholder dialogue process to find alternatives for illegal chainsaw milling practices in Ghana.
Deforestation is a serious problem in Ghana. Illegal logging by chainsaw millers who supply the domestic market is a key factor in this deforestation. Illegal logging has many causes and is further complicated by the different perceptions among a great range of stakeholders on how to resolve it. To effectively address the issues, stakeholders need to be involved and must feel that they own the solutions.
The Chainsaw Milling Project, funded by the EU, aims to reduce the level of conflict and illegality related to chainsaw milling. It does this through a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (MSD), which increases the understanding of the causes of these problems and develops options to address them. This paper documents the MSD both as a multi-stakeholder process and a policy development process.
Applying the principles of a multi-stakeholder process in the MSD design and facilitation has led to a significant reduction in conflict in the domestic timber market. The MSD has been pivotal in allowing stakeholders to review and renew relevant policies. This paper documents the various stages of policy development: analyzing policies and chainsaw milling practices; formulating policy; using MSD platforms at various levels for intensive consultation; implementing policy by piloting new forms of forest management, business practices and alternative rural development options; and monitoring and evaluating policy initiatives.
It is important to institutionalize multi-stakeholder process principles in Ghana forest policy development since the policy context is continually changing. The Chainsaw Milling Project — and more specifically the MSD Steering Committee — are working to establish the conditions for sustaining a multi-stakeholder process approach to policy-making rather than leaving that work solely to government.