The EU chainsaw project implemented by TBI Ghana and partners has organised a three-day training workshop on ‘Institutionalising multi-stakeholder engagement in the forestry sector of Ghana’ for project staff and partners. Since its inception, a key strategy for implementing the EU Chainsaw project has been the establishment of a multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD) to share information, reduce conflict between stakeholders and generate jointly agreed solutions for addressing illegal chainsaw milling in Ghana.
This approach has yielded tremendous results including a policy recommendation made jointly with the Timber Industry Development Division of the Forestry Commission that artisanal millers should be allowed to join sawmillers in supplying legal lumber for the domestic market in a sustainable manner. This recommendation has since been taken up by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for consideration.
Over the years, the MSD has emerged as a useful national platform for soliciting and incorporating varied views of stakeholders in decision making and implementation of jointly agreed solutions. However, it has not been formally embedded in national institutions within the forest sector. Even though the platform comprises actors from state institutions, civil society organisations and the timber industry, its operation beyond the EU Chainsaw project is at the moment not guaranteed. If the potential that the MSD offers in fostering multiple views for joint solution is not harnessed and institutionalized, the forest sector risks losing it altogether with the expiration of the EU Chainsaw project in 2015. The need to institutionalize and profit from the prospects of the MSD is especially crucial now as Ghana is exploring and implementing several multi-stakeholder processes in support of initiatives like FLEGT/VPA, REDD+ and the FAO’s National Forest Programme.
To proactively respond to this need, the EU Chainsaw project mobilized project staff and partners and other relevant forest actors in a brainstorming and capacity building workshop towards institutionalising the MSD within the forest sector. The workshop which took place on the 11th-13th July 2012 in Koforidua was facilitated by the Wageningen University Centre for Development Innovation in the Netherlands. Participants provided requisite guidance for supporting and receiving legitimacy to the embedding process and its eventual implementation.
Following from the workshop outcome and other related issues, the Technical Committee and the MSD Steering Committee of the project would be meeting in August to further discuss and make recommendations to move forward the process of institutionalising the MSD in Ghana’s forest sector.