The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, has assured of the EU’s commitment to collaborating with the Forestry Commission in the area of sustainably exploiting forest resources.
According to him, this has become necessary as the country is currently facing the highest deforestation rate of its rain forest in the world.
“As a key partner to the EU, it has become necessary for this collaboration to sustain the reserves; especially when the country is on the path to being the second world-wide partner to sign a forestry law enforcement and trade agreement with the EU,” he said.
Mr. Razaaly added: “I have seen a very solid system of trust which is based on the identification of even individual trees and specific plants. This is quite a solid system. However, as we know, Ghana is the country facing the highest rate of rain forest deforestation worldwide. So, we have a common interest with Ghana to work together on ensuring suitable and more sustainable exploitation of the forest. And I am sure we will reach something that is agreeable to everyone in order to preserve these riches and benefit the country’s entire population”.
The EU ambassador made these comments during a one-day visit to Bobiri Forest in the Ashanti Region.
The working visit was to help Mr. Razaaly and his team verify and go through the process the Forestry Commission undertakes when harvesting trees in the forest reserve – to also ensure they meet conditions of the voluntary partnership agreement signed with the EU, which is the action plan for law enforcement, governance and trade.
As part of his visit, the EU ambassador was briefed on the processes of felling trees and what the country has done so far with regard to felling licence issuances.
From the Bobiri Forest, Ambassador Razaaly and his team – and leadership of the Forestry Commission led by its Chief Executive Officer, John Allotey – proceeded to a community engagement with chiefs and elders of Kubease and Nobewam, which is home to the Bobiri Forest Reserve.
During this engagement, the Gyaasehene of Kubease, Nana Kwame Sentuo, and the Chief of Nobewam, Yaw Kyere III, requested an increase in the five percent social responsibility agreement. According to the chiefs, this has been their portion since the agreement was signed several years ago.
The team then moved to Logs and Lumber Ltd. (LLL) Kumasi, a key exporter of timber to the EU market, to get first-hand information on activities that go on at the site before they are exported.