The Chairman of the Governing Council of the Forest Industries Association of Ghana (FIAG), Mr. Richard Nsenkyire, has reiterated the need for the West Africa sub-region to coordinate to conserve the forests in their various countries.
Mr Nsenkyire, who made this call in Kumasi, during a visit of a six-member delegation from Ivory Coast, made up of leaders of various wood users, artisans and manufacturers’ associations, noted that the similarities of the situations in the two countries and the consequences of actions in one area or another, called for loser collaboration for the conservation of our forests.
“We have a lot in common and what happens in one country affects another country, so we need a stronger partnership to overcome our challenges by sharing experiences and learning from each other,” Mr Nsenkyire told the delegation.
At a working session where representatives of FIAG met with the delegation, Mr. Gustav Adu, who is the Director of Operations, recounted how the deliberations of 10 trade associations culminated in the formation of FIAG.
Mr Nsenkyire noted that the association had come a long way to become a strong voice for industry in the sector, calling on their Ivorian counterparts to unite all forest-dependent stakeholders and operate with a unified interest since they all converged around the same resource.
“Our doors are always open to you; don’t hesitate to call on us at any time because deforestation in your country is deforestation here. The world is a global village, so we need to build synergies to promote our common good,” Mr. Adu stated.
The leader of the delegation and Project Director of AVSI, a civil society organisation that covers many sectors in Ivory Coast, Mr Cyrille Komguep, expressed his country’s gratitude to FIAG and all facilitators of the five-day ‘revealing experience’ trip.
The delegation visited the Ashaiman and Accra wood markets, the Artisans’ Village in Aburi, and the Sokoban Wood Village in Kumasi to learn about how they source the raw materials and their good practices.
They also visited a group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), in the sector, comprising the Civic Response, Nature and Development Foundation (NDF), Legal Working Group, in Accra and the Ghana Timber Millers Organization (GTMO) in Kumasi.
The visit was part of Ivory Coast’s quest to learn about how Ghana was preparing for the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Trade (FLEGT) licence under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU), aimed at conserving the forests by ensuring only legal wood was procured and exported or sold on the domestic market.
Ghana has taken a giant step in the process and become the shining light and other countries are trying to emulate it.
Countries such as Liberia, Gabon and Cameroon have been in partnership with Ghana in the quest to manage their forests sustainably and trade regionally to extract benefits from their natural resources.
BY TIMES REPORTER
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