Implementation of VPA/Flegt in Ghana: Legality, traceability and transparency in the timber production chain

Bas Heukels

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Deforestation and illegal logging are generally considered the two key problems of the tropical timber sector around the world. Weak governance structures have often been indicated as the underlying driver. Since 2008, Ghana has entered a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union on the adoption of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan to stop illegal logging activities. The agreement comes with the set-up of a traceability system called the Wood Tracking System (WTS) to monitor and ensure that harvested logs come from legal sources and go through the entire documentation process before entering the domestic or international market. Once this tracing system is established and logs are proven to be correctly felled and processed, these receive a FLEGT license.
The objective of this research is to elucidate how this WTS is being implemented, and how the concepts of legality, traceability and transparency are shaping this implementation. Due to the explorative nature of this study, it will use a semi-inductive approach through grounded theory. For data collection, several interviews were conducted in Ghana, with stakeholders from various backgrounds, throughout the timber production chain. The traceability system works through control points, where documentation on the legality of the product is assessed. The custodians responsible for these control points have been the main subjects for interviews, as well as NGOs closely involved in VPA implementation. It is expected that there will be a strong link between legality and traceability for realizing FLEGT timber. Only if the source and documentation can be traced for the final product, its legality can be assured. Transparency of the VPA implementation by the industry and forestry sector is also crucial in increasing credibility.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventSecond International Forest Policy Meeting (2IFPM) - Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 11 Apr 201813 Apr 2018


ConferenceSecond International Forest Policy Meeting (2IFPM)


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