Accra, March 24, GNA - A workshop on the harmonization of Ghana's Forest Management Certification and Checklist was held in Accra on Thursday to assist in drafting legislation to enhance sustainable forest management.
Organised by the Forestry Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Forestry, it would ensure that the African Timber Organisation and International Tropical Timber Organisation's Principles, Criteria and Indicators (PCI) were enshrined in legislation.
Mr Paul Tweneboah, Technical Director of the Ministry of Lands and Forestry, who read a speech on behalf of the Minister, Professor Dominic Fobih, said there was the need for the integration of the National Certification System and the Timber Utilization Contract (TUC) for effective implementation.
He said the Government was pursuing a vigorous plantation development programme aimed at encouraging the development of a sustainable resource base to satisfy future demands for industrial timber.
This, he said, was to enhance environmental quality, help reduce poverty and make the industry better able to contribute towards growth in the forestry.
Mr Tweneboah said approximately 455,000 cubic metres of timber exported in 2004 earned the country 170 million dollars in export revenue. The sector provided formal employment for more than 100,000 people and about 2.5 million for the informal sector. He said forest management certification was one of the key tools for measuring all the policies for the achievement of sustainable forest management adding that the Government would support the process and ensure its implementation.
Mr Tweneboah said policy reforms to address the constraint included the transparent and efficient allocation of timber resources and control of over cutting of timber.
He said in order to fully support the timber industry the Government had waived the Export Duty (National Reconstruction Levy) on the timber industry in this year's Budget.
Dr Victor Kwame Agyeman, Senior Research Scientist, called on participants to ensure that biodiversity, economic and fiscal policy directives were included in the Quality Forest Management Standards. He said the Forestry Commission would establish a reliable verification and monitoring system to ensure that all timber exported from Ghana was sourced and produced legally.