The concept of Independent Monitoring was conceived as a sub-component of the Ghana Timber Legality Assurance System (GhLAS) under the Ghana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement. Article 10 of the VPA therefore provides for its establishment as follows;
- Ghana shall engage the services of an Independent Monitor (IM) in consultation with the Community for the purposes of the functions listed in Annex VI.
- The Independent Monitor shall be an entity that has no conflict of interest arising from any organisational or commercial relationship with the Community, or Ghana’s forest sector regulatory authorities, its licensing authority, any bodies engaged by its licensing authority to verify legal timber production, or any commercial operators in its forest sector.
- The Independent Monitor shall operate in accordance with a documented management structure and with published policies and procedures that meet internationally-accepted best practices defined by ISO 17021 (requirements for conformity assessment bodies) and ISO 19011 (guidelines for auditing procedures) or equivalent standards.
- The Independent Monitor shall refer complaints arising from its work to the Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism.
- The Independent Monitor will regularly prepare full and summary reports as outlined in Annex VI.
- The Parties will facilitate the work of the Independent Monitor including by ensuring that the Monitor has access to information as required in territories of both Parties in order to carry out its functions. However, the Parties, in accordance with their national legislation on data protection, may withhold any information which they are not permitted to communicate.