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Tackling illegal logging in Ghana: Why civil society is generating pressure to deliver a VPA

by Samuel Mawutor


 

I have just returned from a two-week policy tour of Europe, visiting decision makers working on the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands. I was hoping to whip up interest in and support for FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) by showing Member States the successes and impacts that the Ghana VPA is already having. I also wanted to raise the challenges that civil society are having with the process. Together with my colleagues from Liberia and Cameroon, we also sought to highlight the fact that FLEGT is a transformational approach to developmental aid, which may be slow but could have far-reaching effects.

Where are forests in Europe’s plans to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality?

by Indra Van Gisbergen

In September 2015, after the largest consultation in the history of the United Nations, more than 150 world leaders agreed on a new agenda to “free the human race from the tyranny of poverty”.

The Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) lay out 17 universal goals, targets and indicators to frame the agendas and policies of UN member states for the next 15 years.

Launched amid great fanfare with the support of celebrities from Beyoncé to Usain Bolt and Stephen Hawking, the SDG’s aims include ending “poverty in all its forms everywhere”; achieving “food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture”, and taking “urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”.

But between outlining these lofty ambitions and realising them, lies an enormous gulf: the daunting and fiendishly complex task of agreeing on the policies required.