Implementing timber legality assurance regime in Ghana: a review of stakeholders concerns and current institutional constraints
Illegal logging has contributed significantly to slowing the march towards sustainable forest management in Ghana. Illegal logging has been found to thrive in environment where regulatory controls are not adequate. Stakeholders are concerned about the verification of legal compliance for timber harvesting and processing in Ghana. The Government of Ghana initiated the Validation of Legal Timber Programme (VLTP) to enhance the Forestry Commission’s capacity to control illegal logging and ensure production of legal timber. This paper reviews the scope of stakeholders concern and current institutional constraints for legal timber verification in Ghana. The aim is to provide background information as input for a new institutional framework under the VLTP. The review has shown that the current institutional set-up is not suitable for implementing timber legality assurance regime and therefore necessary to instigate a programme of institutional changes. A key element in institutional change is acquiring stakeholder support, which may not be easy when there are employment issues and vested interests at stake. It is essential that a participatory, open and inclusive approach is taken involving all the stakeholders.