The European Union Non-State Actors (EU-NSA) Project teams in Ghana have concluded a meeting and shared perspectives on project implementation with emphasis on progress, lesson learned and way forward in the two countries.
The meeting was held in Monrovia recently when the Ghanaian team comprising of representatives from Nature and Development Foundation (NDF) and Tropenbos International Ghana paid a week working visit to its Liberian counterpart, Volunteers To Support International Efforts In Developing Africa (VOSIEDA).
The EU-NSA project, "Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors (NSA) to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa", is being implemented since 2016 in Liberia, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, with funding support from the European Union.
The overarching goal of the Ghanaian team visit, according the head of team was to share with their Liberian counterparts the establishment of an independent forest monitoring framework in Ghana using a "real time" online portal that tracks issues from the forest with their Liberian counterparts, and as well as take notes on the establishment of "Forest Hour", a radio advocacy program launched by the Liberian EU NSA team for use by the Liberian CSOs. The Ghanaian team also wanted to have knowledge on progress made by Liberia in the establishment and management of community forests.
During the meeting, the Liberian team hailed their Ghanaian counterparts for developing a proactive internet platform use in forest monitoring, and promised to replicate same for Liberia's forest sector monitoring. The team was also acknowledged to have taken lead on national level engagements ahead of Liberia.
For their part, the Ghanaian team praised their Liberian counterparts for taking lead on advocacy and community level engagements, and also promised to replicate same in Ghana, especially the 'forest hour'.
While in Monrovia, the team met and interacted with members of the NGO Coalition, Civil Society Independent Forest Monitor (CS-IFM), the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee (NUCFDC), and National Union of Community Forest Management Body (NUCFMB) as well as the Liberia Timber Association (LibTA).
As part of their visit, the Ghanaian team appeared on the Forest Hour, a radio advocacy platform to share their perspectives on forest governance as it relates to process leading to acquiring forest contract; compliance to legal agreements by contract holders, performance of forest contract and benefit sharing mechanisms, penalty for violations of forest laws and other legal agreements, level of community involvement in managing forest contracts and IFM to ensure accountability and transparency in forest contract management, etc.
The team also met and briefed the EU Delegation to Liberia on progress made thus far in Ghana, and also shared differences and similarities between the two countries. In response, the EU-Delegation focal person on natural resource governance, David Palacios urged the two teams to see collaboration as a major vehicle for success on the EU-NSA project.