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Championing rights and truthful compensation for forest communities in Ghana | FAO

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Ghana’s work to advertise the authorized timber commerce in partnership with the European Union (EU) locations a robust emphasis on involving native communities who dwell in or close to forests. But farmers and communities don’t all the time perceive their rights, which signifies that criminality by loggers has gone unchecked in Ghana’s off-reserve forests.  The FAO-EU Forest Legislation Enforcement, Governance and Commerce (FLEGT) Programme supported a non-profit affiliation, Sustainable Forest Administration Partnership-Ghana, to extend consciousness amongst farmers of their proper to barter compensation when logging damages crops on their land. The mission efficiently fostered understanding amongst farmers and native communities of their entitlements, and likewise helped loggers higher grasp their very own tasks beneath the regulation. The mission contributed to the Sustainable Improvement Targets (SDGs) by enhancing native livelihoods and strengthening forest governance by growing transparency.

For farmers and forest communities residing within the 500 000 hectares of forested land outdoors Ghana’s nationwide forest reserves, authorized loggers eager to fell bushes on their land generally is a blended blessing. The arrival of loggers could imply a fine addition to family earnings. However with falling bushes, highway building and heavy gear and automobiles, logging can significantly harm farmers’ meals and money crops, compact their soil and even pollute valuable water sources.

Recognizing the rights of communities affected by logging is likely one of the cornerstones of the Voluntary Partnership Settlement (VPA) signed by Ghana and the European Union (EU) in 2009 as a part of the EU’s Forest Legislation Enforcement, Governance and Commerce (FLEGT) Motion Plan. Below the VPA, Ghana’s loggers should show the legality of their timber with a purpose to commerce on the home or worldwide market. That features signing social duty agreements with forest communities affected by logging and paying truthful compensation for any harm triggered to their land. The regulation is very related for Ghana’s off-reserve forests, a significant contributor of wooden and wooden merchandise to the home market, that are often farmland or devoted neighborhood forests the place livelihoods can simply be disrupted.

Regardless of the regulation, a examine carried out throughout a number of forest districts discovered that many farmers and forest communities have been unaware of their rights, and recommended that loggers may be utilizing this to their benefit. Farmers claimed that though loggers had permits, they typically delayed funds, didn’t ship on their guarantees, and even felled bushes with out the farmers’ consent. Ninety % of farmers interviewed mentioned they have been sad with any compensation paid to them, which got here from verbal agreements made with the loggers.

“I accepted any quantity as compensation for my broken crops,” mentioned farmer Barima Agyarkwa Bekoe of the Nkawie Forest District. “Fifty of my cocoa bushes have been broken and I accepted simply 100 cedis (USD 27).”

Dos and don’ts
To assist rectify the state of affairs, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme supplied assist to non-profit affiliation Sustainable Forest Administration Partnership-Ghana to foster larger consciousness of the regulation in 5 forest areas.

The mission workforce created and distributed a concise booklet of ‘dos and don’ts’ for Ghana Forestry Fee employees, loggers and farmers, clearly setting out the processes required for off-reserve logging and negotiating compensation.

The mission supplied face-to-face coaching for farmers on negotiating with loggers, and developed a framework for estimating how a lot farmers must be compensated in numerous eventualities. Loggers acquired coaching on the necessity to show the legality of the wooden they place in the marketplace with written information of logging and compensation agreements.

Enhancing forest governance
The mission efficiently boosted consciousness of loggers, farmers and neighborhood representatives within the 5 areas on their entitlements in addition to their tasks to handle forest sustainably. Civil society organizations proceed to make use of the compensation framework to make farmers conscious of their rights to compensation, fee and verification. Ghana’s Forestry Fee has additionally skilled its employees to make use of templates developed by the mission to information loggers in negotiating and documenting funds.

“I can now confidently negotiate compensation, taking totally different parts into consideration in the course of the negotiation course of with a logger,” mentioned Bekoe. Whereas enhancing farmers’ livelihoods and decreasing unlawful logging, the mission has enhanced forest governance by growing transparency in addition to contributing to the Sustainable Improvement Targets 2 (zero starvation), 15 (life on land) and 16 (peace, justice and robust establishments). The mission has additionally helped Ghana fulfil its VPA. The nation is on monitor to be the second nation on this planet – and the primary in Africa – to situation FLEGT licences, which can certify that timber exported to the EU has been harvested, transported, processed and traded in response to Ghanaian regulation.


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