Many forest enterprises operating in Ghana are of the small and medium type and most do not function along any formalised system of production. Their ad hoc nature of operation means that there is no inbuilt system within these organisations that offers in-service training and knowledge pertaining to their trade to both employers and employees alike. Hence, most of them are not well informed on issues such as the Forest law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), its action plan: the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) and other legal issues governing the forestry industry.
Yet, these Small and Medium Scale Forest Enterprise (SMFEs) need to be conversant with the demands of these laws in order to comply with the reforms necessary for considerably reducing illegal lumber within the system and ensuring that more legal lumber is put on the domestic market.
In addition, many Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in the Forestry Sector who have a role to monitor the implementation of the VPA also do not have access to the information and training they need to carry out their work effectively.
These two scenarios call for an outside intervention to fill up the gap in knowledge and training to ensure that SMFEs comply with the new and emerging initiatives governing the forestry sector and make inputs into the reforms while CSOs are empowered to monitor the implementation of these reforms.
It is against this background that Tropenbos International Ghana is implementing the project “Supporting Intermediaries with Information and Guidance to Comply with the Timber Legality Assurance System and Engage in Advocacy on the Domestic Market Reform”, otherwise known as the Timber Legality Compliance and Advocacy Project (TILCAP) in Ghana”.
The project is expected to enhance SMFEs compliance with Ghana’s TLAS and effective monitoring of the VPA implementation process by Ghanaian CSO’s, who together constitute the intermediaries. The project aims at enhancing coordination and good working relations among these intermediaries by building up their skills and capacities in policy advocacy for effective participation in the domestic market policy reform processes and providing them with appropriate information and guidance to comply with TLAS as enshrined in Ghana’s VPA.
TILCAP also aims to establish peer guidance teams to serve as master trainers who would be trained on TLAS compliance technicalities for onward transmission to their colleagues while selected small and medium scale operators would be assisted to comply with TLAS as outlined in Ghana’s VPA.
In order to achieve the above aims, TILCAP would be collaborating with the Timber Validation Department (TVD) of the Forestry Commission and other stakeholders to acquire information on TLAS for compilation into training materials in addition to undertaking a number of activities. These include creating a platform for intermediaries to engage with each other and build networks, facilitating match making among intermediaries with similar purposes and stimulating their interest in teamwork and synergy building.
Other activities would include conducting advocacy training and capacity building for intermediaries to sharpen their advocacy skills, facilitating a dialoguing process between intermediaries and policy makers, conducting information needs assessments for various intermediaries to identify knowledge gaps on TLAS and developing information materials on TLAS tailored to their needs.
This project was funded by the European Union
The project was developed in association with the Domestic Lumber Traders Association and Ghana Timber Association.