CSO’s DEVELOP COMMUNICATION STRATEGY FOR GHANA’S FLEGT VPA
EcoCare Ghana organized a communication working group meeting to discuss the communication strategy to be adopted by civil society when communicating Ghana’s FLEGT VPA. EcoCare launched the ATUMPAN project which seeks to effectively communicate the FLEGT VPA process, milestone and outcomes towards EU market actors and other stakeholders in preparation towards FLEFT license issuance.
As part of the ATUMPAN project, a communication working group must be convened to discuss the communication strategy civil society will use in communicating Ghana’s FLEGT VPA process.
A few selected civil society representatives participated in the meeting to discuss the agenda for the meeting. The meeting commenced around 9:30am prompt with a prayer and round the table self-introduction of participants.
Mr. Samuel Mawutor started the meeting with an opening remarks and set the context for the meeting. He gave a brief presentation of the FLEGT-VPA process, how and where it started and where it is currently. He also stated that FLEGT was in its late stages for the license to be issued.
Rossa from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) which is the funding partner for the ATUMPAN project gave a short presentation at the meeting. She encouraged participants to come up with messages and information that helps communicate the FLEGT processes better and also gave some recommendations that could help with the process
• Discourage comparing FLEGT and other certifications
• Not to FLEGT as a brand (FLEGT as a process not brand)
• Issues of sustainability and legality
KEY EMERGING ISSUES FROM THE EUROPEAN TOUR
Mrs. Doreen Asuman from Tropenbos Ghana presented on issues that emerged at the European tour organized by EcoCare Ghana which had participants from government sector, private sector and the civil society.
The Ghanaian group met with the various competent authorities in Spain, Belgium, France, Germany and London to discuss Ghana’s FLEGT VPA process.
Some of the emerging issues includes;
• Only 2 out of 28 the EU member countries recognize FLEGT license in their public procurement policies.
• FLEGT is about legality and not meeting up the standards of sustainability.
• FLEGT is secondary to FSC and PFC
• EU not backing Ghana up and also they are not the ones to market the FLEGT license.
Mrs. Asuman asked participants as representatives for civil society how Ghana can market the FLEGT License. She encouraged all participants to come on board with messages to be communicated to the EU about the FLEGT processes and license.
After the presentation some issues were raised if whether sustainability was a factor to why just 2 out of 28 EU member state countries recognize FLEGT license in the public procurement policies.
The perception of Timber laundering legalizing illegal logs whether it’s for the entire FLEGT process or only the timber entering the EU market.
How can Ghana communicate sustainability and legality of FLEGT?
Mr. Obed Addai from EcoCare Ghana facilitated the segment and called on all participants to brainstorm and share ideas as to what message should be communicated to EU audience. The discussion brought out a lot of ideas and messages to be considered when drafting key communication topics to the EU. Some of the ideas and messages incudes;
The three thematic areas that the CFI seeks to address are:
- FOREST PROTECTION AND RESTORATIONs
Actions to be taken under the Forest protection and restoration
- Up to date maps
- Indebt study of Cocoa farms in on and off reserves
- Restoration of degraded cocoa landscapes caused by small scale mining
- Review management plans for forest reserves
- SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AND FARMERS LIVELIHOOD
Actions under Sustainable production and farmers livelihood
- Promotion of investment in long-term productivity of high quality cocoa
- Development of implementation plan for cocoa intensification
- Promotion of financial inclusion and innovation
- Improving cocoa supply chain and traceability
- COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND SOCIAL INCLUSION
Actions under Community engagement and social inclusion
- Promote information sharing, consultation and participation of cocoa farmers and their communities
- Establish and strengthen community structures
- Develop gender and youth action plans
- Assess and mitigate social impacts and risks
- Develop operational guidelines for resettlement and livelihood restoration