World Conservation Union launches new project to prevent illegal forest activities in Ghana

13 June 2006 | Project description

To contribute to the prevention of illegal activities in the forest sector, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) launches new ‘Strengthening Voices for Better Voices’ Project in Ghana.

Kumasi, Ghana, 13 June 2006 (IUCN) – The World Conservation Union (IUCN) today officially launched an on-going, four year project designed to complement the Government and people of Ghana’s efforts in forest law enforcement and governance. In the year 2000 alone, the annual revenue lost through informal payments in Ghana ’s forestry sector was within the range of 1.5 million USD. Moreover, illegal logging remains a serious problem: forests continue to experience a net loss of 65, 000 hectares per year.

To prevent illegal logging and the revenue loss, the new project aims to complement the efforts of the government and the people of Ghana in law enforcement and governance in the forest sector, through the exchange of forest governance information and capacity development.

“The breaking of laws on exploitation, processing and transportation of timber and wood products, is often the result of power imbalance and the lure of quick profits,” said Stewart Maginnis, Head of the Union’s Forest Programme.

“The removal of forest resources without consent from local communities and/or government has dramatic and far reaching consequences – it often leads to vast environmental damages such as soil erosion and biodiversity loss. This can impoverish local communities that depend on the forests for food, shelter and medicine. In addition it costs governments and people around the world billions of dollars in lost revenue annually, said Martin Nganje, the IUCN West Africa Regional Programme Forest Officer .

The ‘Strengthening Voices for Better Voices’ project aims to actively engage the government, civil society and the private sector in Ghana to address the problems related to illegal logging, eventually aiming at a new way of governing Ghana’s forests and forest resources.

“Only through this ‘tripartite’ approach all sectors of society will support the more sustainable management of Ghana ’s forests that we aim for. We are particularly looking at involving local communities in forest management and getting their support in the prevention of illegal logging, ” said Maginnis.

“This is a welcome development” says Mr. Yakubu Mohammed, Ghana Forestry Commission’s Takwa District Manager in the Western Region. “The policy of community forestry has been with us for ages, the advent of this project will complement our implementation efforts and enhance the practices.”

The project is concretely conceived to catalyse the implementation of Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) related actions that have been prioritised by the government, civil society and the private sector in Ghana . They include strengthening institutional reforms, supporting operational capacity building, promoting the production and dissemination of transparent information, recognition of the legitimate interest of all stakeholder groups, to mention but a few. The AFLEG Ministerial Conference took place in Yaounde , Cameroon from 13-16 October 2003. More than 300 participants from 39 countries attended the conference representing governments, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector. Ghana endorsed the AFLEG Ministerial Declaration.

The Ghana component of the Strengthening Voices projects is part of a global project involving five other countries world-wide. The other countries involved are – Brazil , Democratic Republic of the Congo , Sri Lanka , Vietnam and Tanzania . The project is financially supported by the European Commission.

Notes to editors

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
 

  •  Wale Adeleke, IUCN–FLEG Project Facilitator, c/o Forest Services Division, Accra. Ghana     
    Tel: +233 21 776 145/6 Ext: 241 Mobile: +233 24 224 9678, adewale.adeleke@iucn.org    
    Web: www.iucn.org/forest
  • Michelle Laurie, IUCN Forest Conservation Programme, Communications Officer, Gland, Switzerland.    
    Mobile: +233 24 278 1254 (Ghana), michelle.laurie@iucn.org; Web: www.iucn.org/forest
  • Martin Nganje, Regional Forest Officer, IUCN West Africa Regional Office, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
    Tel: + 226 50 328 500, martin.nganje@iucn.org.
  • Guido Broekhoven, Strengthening Voices for Better Choices Project Team Leader, IUCN Regional Office for Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, Tel: +66 2 262 0529, Ext. 120, gbroekhoven@iucnt.org.


Photos available upon request from carolin.wahnbaeck@iucn.org.

Links:

    * The World Conservation Union’s work on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) www.iucn.org/themes/fcp/experience_lessons/governance_fleg_activities.htm

    * AFLEG Ministerial Conference
      www.iisd.ca/sd/sdyao/

About the World Conservation Union (IUCN)

Created in 1948, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) brings together 81 States, 120 government agencies, 800 plus NGOs, and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

The Union is the world's largest environmental knowledge network and has helped over 75 countries to prepare and implement national conservation and biodiversity strategies. The Union is a multicultural, multilingual organization with 1,000 staff located in 62 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.

More information can be found at www.iucn.org


View of logging road in the Cameroon Forests