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Forest policies in Ghana can reinforce each other

Gepubliceerd op
7 december 2012

In Ghana, different policies are being developed to protect forests, like REDD+ and FLEGT. When policy makers manage these policies well and pay attention to their possible interaction, they could reinforce each other, shows a recent publication.

Deforestation and forest degradation remain high worldwide. Numerous international policies have been developed aimed at addressing these issues. In a recent article in Forest Policy and Economics, researchers analysed the interaction of two of these in Ghana. One is the European Union's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan and its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with Ghana, a policy aiming at stopping illegal logging. The other one is climate mitigation policy of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), a new policy form that gains more and more attention, also in Ghana.

Researcher Ingrid Visseren, Assistant Professor Forest and Nature Conservation Policy at Wageningen University, explains that the interaction between the two policies appeared mainly positive. 'REDD+ could in future deliver financial means to implement FLEGT policy. Also, both policies share many needs, such as expert knowledge and a Secretariat. When policy makers involved in both policies manage to cooperate, many gains can be won.' In order to implement both policies, the same essential conditions need to be met, for example alternative livelihoods for the poor who depend on illegal logging.

There are differences between both policies however, for example in the way progress is monitored. There is a risk that the increased attention for REDD+ takes away time and energy of professionals for FLEGT policy.

The article concludes with recommendations on how to make the most of the interaction of both policies, improving the synergies and enhancing effectiveness. These include emphasis on close cooperation among the professionals and policy makers involved, if possible in a joint secretariat, thereby institutionalizing information sharing and learning. Moreover, activities under REDD+ policy could be aimed at preventing illegal logging, in order to fit with FLEGT policy. Also, REDD+ financial benefits in Ghana could be used to implement FLEGT activities.


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