African Rosewood is on the brink of extinction in many regions of West Africa. The fault is the trade in tropical timber. Ghana is a center of destruction, although it is strictly forbidden to fell trees of the species. This forest crime has to stop.
Not a single Rosewood tribe is allowed to leave Ghana anymore.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has undercover research into “how corruption and collusion fuel the illegal trading of rosewood in Ghana”.
The extent of the crisis is huge. More than 540,000 tons of wood – equivalent to 23,500 standard containers or around 6 million trees – have been illegally felled in Ghana since 2012 and exported to China.
According to EIA, Ghanaian and Chinese traders are forging official documents, misclassifying wood species, and engaging “escorts” to pass checkpoints. Corrupt officials sell seized wood at bogus auctions, grant fraudulent “recovery permits” and issue retroactively and thus ineffective export licenses.
The wood is intended for China and is processed there to semi-antique luxury furniture. The trade is no secret. The Chinese government even publishes official statistics on Rosewood imports.
However, the timber trade violates not only against the Washington Convention on the protection of species, but also against a national ban in Ghana.
Ghana is rich in biodiversity, including 681 bird species, 694 fish species and 257 mammal species.
16 percent of the country’s surface is covered with forest (2018).
But the forests are disappearing: The destruction of primary forests has increased by 60 percent between 2017 and 2018 – the biggest increase in the tropical countries of the world.
Protected areas are particularly affected. Causes are the cocoa cultivation and mining, also illegal logging, spread of industrial agriculture and fire.
Currently, the EU is negotiating with many countries. In nine of them, the talks are still in an early stage; In Ghana, Liberia, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo, the negotiations have come a long way. Indonesia is the only country to issue so-called FLEGT* licenses, with Ghana expected to follow in 2020.
In the eyes of environmentalists, the FLEGT Action Plan carries significant risks.
– Basically, “legal” is not necessarily “legitimate.” “Legal” logging often results in devastating destruction of the rainforest, destruction of the animal habitat and violation of the rights of indigenous people.
– FLEGT always regulates trade with the EU, not with third countries. While many countries, such as the US, Canada, Australia and China, fight illegal logging and trade, criminals find loopholes in the network. And EU knows it.
This forest crime has to stop. Please sign our petition.
*FLEGT stands for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade. The EU’s FLEGT Action Plan was established in 2003. It aims to reduce illegal logging by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance and promoting trade in legally produced timber.
Countries around the world are acting to combat illegal logging and foster good forest governance. In FLEGT.org you will find information about the approaches that countries are taking, as well as about initiatives that cross national borders.
Petition`s text, To: EU Commission
Dear Commission President Ursula von der Leyen,
Ladies and Gentlemen EU Commissioners,
The European Union and Ghana are finalizing a timber trade agreement under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan. Ghana is expected to issue FLEGT licenses in 2020 under a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).
Ghana is seen as a role model for Africa’s FLEGT Action Plan – but much of the timber sector remains highly illegal and corrupt: African rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) trade. It can lead to the extinction of the species in the region.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), in its BAN-BOOZLED report, analyzes in detail “how corruption and collusion fuel the illegal trading of rosewood in Ghana”.
The illegal export of valuable wood not only violates the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but also a national ban. It undermines Ghana’s efforts to establish a transparent and legal trading system.
We urge you to: Urge the government of Ghana to end the illegal trade in African rosewood. The EU and Ghana must ensure that the CITES rules are respected. Not a single rosewood tribe is allowed to leave Ghana.
My comment: The EU has its fingers in exploiting Africa for a long time.
The so-called Economic Partnership Agreements, or EPA for short, have closed the EU with some African countries, including Ghana.
The EPAs state that these countries need to open their markets up to 83 percent to European imports and gradually eliminate tariffs and fees.
In return, they will continue to receive duty-free access to European markets, as has been customary for decades.
But the whole thing is unfair, and as always in favor of the EU.
Because the EU can (as well) export to Ghana what it wants, while markets of the country there are just too weak to sell great products in Europe.
That means: Once you have signed, you have to open your market to everything. That’s scam, because in a partnership it should be fair. If it does not, and that’s unfortunately the case with EPA, then it’s dumping because one side has nothing to determine.
In three things only, the EU is developing very fast: corruption, exploitation of the weaker countries and profit from the business of animal life.
My best regards to all, Venus