Working Group on Forest Certification

Working Profile

The Working Group (WG) on Forest Certification is a registered non-governmental organization charged with the responsibility of advancing the process of Forest Certification in Ghana. It was created at a National Stakeholders Forum in January, 2003. The WG comprises nine (9) members each representing one key stakeholder groups, viz., Training and Research Institutions, Landowners, Wood Industry, Independent Bodies, Civil Society, Tree Growers Association, Women Groups, Trade Union and Government. The WG meets monthly to review the implementation of programmes and activities. WG has a Secretariat which is managed by an Executive Secretary.
The WG is the technical wing of the National Governing Council (NGC). The NGC is an advisory board and exercises oversight functions over the activities of the WG. The NGC has 21 members representing key stakeholder groups in the forestry sector. The NGC meets twice yearly.
1.1 Vision
i. Be a leading autonomous and transparent organization on forest certification in Ghana.
ii. Provide professional services to ensure effective functioning of Forest Certification in Ghana .
1.2 Mission
Guarantee the functioning of forest and chain of custody certification in Ghana through setting and promoting internationally acceptable standards, facilitation of certification processes and monitoring the implementation of the standards with recognized arbitration procedures for forest, industry and community sectors operators.
1.3 Goal
The goals of WG are:
i. Develop forest standards and ensure accreditation of standards
ii. Promote the adoption of forest certification and sustainable forest management in Ghana
iii. Improve communication and information sharing between stakeholders and the public at large
iv. Act as a focal point for capacity-building on forest certification and sustainable forest management in Ghana as well as in West Africa
1.4 Strategies
i. Education and awareness creation on Forest Certification and responsible forest management.
ii. Communication and information sharing among key stakeholders and the general public on Forest Certification.
iii. Development of local capacities and expertise for certification and audits through training, coaching and field exposures
iv. Provision of forest management and certification services to stakeholders.
•    Awareness and understanding on Forest Certification enhanced among the key stakeholder groups in Ghana. The awareness has been created to the degree that 12 companies are currently pursuing certification in Ghana. This awareness and achievement has been recognized by government to the degree that relevant sections of the Ghana’s forest standards have been included in the VPA Legality definition document. This has also led to companies pursuing certification employing Forest Certification Officers.
•    Forest Standards for undertaking certification, developed, field tested and finalized.
•    Plantation Standards for Ghana developed and field-tested.
•    Forest certification standards for Ghana endorsed by stakeholders at a National Forum and authorized for accreditation by international certification bodies.
•    Research and studies on the perception of stakeholders on forest certification has been carried out in Ghana: findings indicate high level of awareness within government and NGOs but moderate awareness within the industry.
•    Provides services to organizations undergoing certification. The training is usually provided in collaboration with WG partners including WWF and KWC to companies pursuing certification.
•    Carried out training and coaching towards developing local expertise. Training and capacity-building are usually carried out with partner organizations on the ground with WG providing technical expertise.