South-South exchange between Ghana and Uganda seeks to promote timber traceability


26-30 July 2021: Accra, Ghana

A delegation of representatives from Uganda has arrived in Accra, Ghana, for a five-day exchange visit to inform Uganda's development of a timber traceability system. The delegation, composed of representatives from Uganda forestry authorities and line ministries, as well as representatives from the Uganda Timber Growers Association (UTGA), will meet with government stakeholders from the Ghana Forestry Commission (GFC) and Ghanaian private sector, including Forest Industries Association of Ghana (FIAG), the Private Afforestation Development Organization (PADO) and Kumasi Wood Cluster (KWC).

The Ugandan government and the UTGA have been working closely since 2019 to explore technical options for the development of a national timber traceability system.  This visit will inform the Ugandan stakeholders about the difficulties, opportunities, and technicalities of such an endeavour, drawing on the successful example of the Ghana Wood Tracking System (GWTS), which allows Ghanaian authorities to control timber flows from source to the market.


First-hand learning on timber traceability systems

The visiting party will meet with the Timber Validation Department of the Ghana Forestry Commission to learn from their experience establishing the GWTS. Through a week-long series of meetings, they will have the opportunity to ask questions and delve deeper into the pre-requisites for creating a timber traceability system, as well as to understand the roles played by different actors in the system and get a practical demonstration of how the traceability system works.

Understanding the impacts that the traceability system has  on private sector is a critical step to ensure uptake and scalability at the national level. As such, the delegation will meet with the Forest Services Division of the Ghana Forestry Commission that has been spearheading the application of the wood tracking system among private plantation owners, both large and small-scale.

The Ugandan delegation will travel to the timber-producing region of Kumasi, where they will hear from members of the Forest Industries Association of Ghana (FIAG), as well as the Private Afforestation Development Organization (PADO), first-hand experiences of challenges and issues confronting timber operators when complying with the Ghana Timber Legality Assurance System (GhLAS) and the Wood Tracking System.

In Kumasi, representatives of KWC will offer insights into supporting Ghana's private sector to build capacity for legality compliance. KWC will accompany the visiting team to a timber processing facility for a practical demonstration of how the wood tracking system operates.

South-South cooperation for long term impact  

Programme-supported South-South cooperation through exchange visits and other opportunities for experience sharing have witnessed growing success across Africa, particularly relating to transparency and legality objectives in the region.

The exchange is expected to increase the knowledge of Ugandan stakeholders regarding the challenges and opportunities of conceiving and deploying a national system for tracking timber. To this extent, lessons learned from the exchange will be made available to all involved stakeholders and will enable informed decision-making regarding timber traceability systems in Uganda. The resulting traceability system will contribute to the overarching Chain of Custody system currently under development in the country. Together, these systems will ensure full traceability of timber and timber products from the forest to the market.


Since 2016 the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported three projects in Uganda, amounting to approximately USD 294  000, primarily focusing on transparency, developing policy, legal and regulatory frameworks, and capacity building and institutional strengthening.

The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme is a global demand-driven initiative that provides technical support and resources for activities that further the goals of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan. The Programme is funded by the European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom.


Find out more:

Uganda Timber Growers Association

Ghana Forestry Commission

FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Regional: South-South cooperation advances transparency objectives in West and Central Africa