The European Union's FLEGT initiative aims at eliminating illegal timber from its market. An important instrument to achieve this is the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to install, amongst others, wood tracking systems in timber exporting countries. Ghana was the first to conclude VPA negotiations with the EU. Using the Policy Arrangement Approach (PAA), this paper presents a critical policy analysis of the consensus building and negotiation process and outcome (so far). It shows that the national forest discourse of Ghana has been reshaped by the VPA process, that the traditional forest sector has been opened up, that new forest rules have been designed and that power relations have changed in favour of so-called fringe actors. Theses developments seem in line with the wider shift from government to governance in politics. Yet the question is whether these observable changes will be sustained in the implementation phase of the VPA.
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Vol. 12 • No. 3