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EIA looks forward to the release of an uncensored rosewood investigative report by the Ghanaian government

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Washington D.C. —The committee tasked by the Ghanaian government to investigate evidence on illegal rosewood reportedly presented its findings to the Ghanaian Minister for Lands and Natural Resources on January 6th of this year. EIA invites the government to share publicly the long-awaited report, uncensored, and including all supporting evidence gathered by the committee. This release and the immediate implementation of decisive actions against traffickers, are the first steps toward ending the illegality, corruption and violence endemic to the illegal trade in rosewood from Ghana.

Following the July 2019 release of EIA’s report BAN-boozled: How Corruption and Collusion Fuel the Illegal Rosewood Trade in Ghana, Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Ghanaian Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, announced the creation of the Committee to Investigate Allegation of Corruption in Rosewood Trade in Ghana on August 26th, 2019. According to the official communique, the committee was supposed to propose remedial actions to solve the rosewood crisis within five weeks.

On January 6, 2020, the seven members of the investigation committee reportedly presented their findings to Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh. The completion of the investigation marked an important step in beginning to address the deepening rosewood crisis in Ghana.

Since the adoption of the latest ban on the harvest, transport and export of rosewood, in place in Ghana since March 2019, over 139,000 tons of rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) have been imported into China from Ghana, for a total value of US$ 82 million1. Ghana remains the top exporter of rosewood in terms of value in Africa. Recent data reveal that the illegal rosewood trade is still thriving in Ghana; nearly US$8 million worth of rosewood, equivalent to over 12,000 tons, was exported from Ghana to China in November 2019 alone. This level of trade, despite the national ban, is alarming. The announcement by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources that no export permit under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will be issued appears to have had no effect in practice.

Alerted by a worsening social, economic and environmental rosewood crisis, Rainforest Rescue, an international forest protection organization, collected more than 117,000 signatures from around the world from people asking the European Commission to work with Ghana to ensure the rare rosewood species does not become extinct.

Press reports bolster information EIA has received from sources in the field showing that communities and activists are routinely harassed and threatened by traffickers. Additionally, tensions are mounting inside communities where some members are suspected of colluding with traffickers. The minister himself appears to have been involved in a troubling incident when a truck loaded with rosewood logs crashed into his personal vehicle. In short, the ongoing and unabated traffic is upending delicate socio-cultural equilibriums and destabilizing communities.

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Contact:
Lindsay Moran, Head of Communications, EIA-US - lmoran@eia-global.org

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