Alhaji Inusah Fuseni ? Minister for Lands and Natural Resources

Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources on Friday stated that Ghana would co-operate with its partners to address the problem of illegal logging and trade in timber products.

He said the government would ensure that the country?s natural resources are used for the benefit of all.

Alhaji Fuseini made the remarks at the signing of an Aide Memoire on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Ghana and the European Union (EU) in Accra.

The VPA is a policy framework adopted by Ghana and the EU in November 2009 to articulate the mutual commitment of the two bodies in addressing the difficulties of illicit logging and trade in timber products.

Before the signing ceremony the fifth meeting of the Joint Monitoring Review Mechanism (JMRM) of the VPA was held in Accra from May 28- May 31, to facilitate the supervision and review of the implementation of the Agreement.

Alhaji Fuseini who initialled the agreement for Ghana said the signing of the VPA comes with important benefits for the country and the EU as well as its citizens.

He said the agreement is an attempt to reduce or control the amount of illegal logging and timber that enter the EU market, which are not accompanied by licenses attesting to their origin.

He said the VPA remains the cornerstone to promote good governance in the forest sector and efforts against illegal timber products.

Alhaji Fuseini said the parties agreed on the development of a joint framework to monitor the impact of the VPA implementation and finalised the rules of arbitration and procedure.

He said matters that required further discussions prior to the next JMRM include the list of codes per annex one of the agreement, transparency measures and dealing with timber in transit in the context of the VPA implementation.

He also commended civil society groups for raising pertinent concerns relating to the legal provisions in granting certain timber permits.

Mr Claude Maerten, EU Ambassador, commended Ghana for the good work done and its commitment towards the implementation of the VPA.

He said the EU would continue to work with Ghana to ensure that timber products that enter the EU market are covered by the appropriate documents.

He said the EU would work to ensure that VPA is accelerated and strengthen the partnership between the two nations.

Source: GNA

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