In recent years, ClientEarth’s Climate and forests Africa team has provided legal support to civil society organisations in Ghana, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville. This support specially targeted the negotiations and implementation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs).
VPAs are agreements between the EU and timber producing countries which aim to ensure the legality of timber exported to the EU. Building on this experience, and thanks to funding from the UK Government, ClientEarth has now expanded its legal support capacity beyond forests to include other natural resource sectors and related civil society organisations.
As part of this process, a small team from ClientEarth recently held a meeting in Accra, Ghana. This provided an opportunity to discuss with representatives from civil society organisations, platforms and networks how we can support their legal capacity and networking in order to reinforce and complement their work. With the assistance of Well-Grounded, a UK based organisation reinforcing civil society organisational development, the consultative meeting was a success.
Civil society organisations in Ghana are interested and active in many natural resources and community rights-related areas. They now have a better understanding of ClientEarth and how we work. More importantly, they gave input concerning the major issues that are (and/or will be) on the table, the projects they are working on, challenges they face and legal needs they may have.
Together we can now move forward to further refine the focus of our work and empower civil society as well as local communities to achieve legal, sustainable and equitable use of forest lands and natural resources.Ghanaian civil society organisations sharing ideas, by Jozef Weyns
We would like to thank all those who participated in the meeting, freely providing their time and expertise. We would also like to thank Cath and Natalia from Well-Grounded who helped facilitating the meeting and provided us with useful feedback.