Knowledge on VPA shared with three west African countries

Knowledge on VPA shared with three west African countries

Ghana - 05 August, 2016

Master craftsmen and organisational leaders of Small and Medium Forest Enterprises from Senegal, Mali and Gambia have received training from Mr Erasmus Philip Ahorlu a craftsman and enterpreneur from Ghana on the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) and the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and their environmental benefits.

Mr. Ahorlu, who benefited from training programmes conducted nationwide by the Timber Legality Compliance and Advocacy Project (TILCAP) was invited to train his counterparts in these three West African countries by the Gambian Tourist Board. The one month training programme which begun on May 24 and ended on June 18 took place at the Mansea Hotel in Banjul, Gambia. It was funded by the Organisation of Islamic States (OIC) and implemented by Ace Executive located in the Gambia.

While these three countries have not yet signed onto the VPA agreement with the European Union, the training was meant to prepare them in readiness for the agreement in the future and also help exporters of timber products to meet current standards for the exportation of their products.

Mr Ahorlu who is also a member of the Peer Guidance Teams set up by TILCAP as a conduit for continuous training of employees of SMFEs took the participants through topics such as International Wood legalities (TLAS, VPA, and The Lacey Act), Global Warming: Causes and Prevention, Safety Precautions within the Craft Industry, and Tools Selection.

Other topics were Strategic Material Sourcing, Product Planning and Adaptation, Product Development, Product Designing, Creative Finishing, Export Marketing, Leadership and Cluster Facilitation and Business Commuting.

Due to the training he received under TILCAP, Mr Ahorlu who is the immediate past President of the Aburi Craft Village in the Eastern Region of Ghana was a key supporter for the extension of the VPA to cover the work of woodcarvers and engaged with the Forestry Commission (FC) in meetings brokered by TILCAP together with his counterparts to push for reforms that would capture handicrafts under Chana’s TLAS.

The project “Supporting Intermediaries with Information and Guidance to Comply with the Timber Legality Assurance System and Engage in Advocacy on the Domestic Market Reforms”, otherwise known as TILCAP was implemented by Tropenbos International (TBI) Ghana over a two year period to provide information and guidance to intermediaries in the timber industry made up of representatives of trade associations of Small and Medium Forest Enterprises (SMFEs) and Civil Society Organisations on Ghana’s TLAS as enshrined under the VPA. The project ended on May 5, 2016.