A new draft law has been submitted to Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament: “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine to Guarantee the Rights of Citizens for the Common Use of Forest Resources”.
In particular, it significantly reduces the term of forest use for cultural, health, recreational, athletic, tourist, educational, and research purposes, from 49 to 1-3 years.
This will help improve the control over forest users. Now, when they breach the conditions of the contract, it is very difficult to terminate the contract, and the authorities often have to wait till the end of the 49-year-long term in order to reject to re-contract. Forest users often abuse this situation, and use the forest for purposes not specified in the contract, surround the territory with fences, don't allow local communities to use the forest to collect berries and mushrooms, build permanent structures, etc. If the term becomes shorter, they will be interested in the extension of the contract, and will treat the contract limits.
According to the draft law, the information on all the contracts for long-term temporary use of forests will be published on the official government websites within 10 days after the registration, and with all the details, including the location of the forest, its area, purpose and term of use, etc.
The author of the draft, member of Parliament Ostap Ednak, researched long-term studies conducted by FLEG I http://fleg1.fleg.org.ua/index.php?id=6&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=80, which were followed by discussions on multiple levels http://fleg1.fleg.org.ua/index.php?id=6&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=93.
Part of the draft is dedicated to the ownership of forests and was prepared with the help of other, non-FLEG experts.
To obtain a wider range of views and comments after the first reading of the draf law, FLEG II will organize a round table with all interested parties.
FLEG II hopes that the Program's recommendations that helped develop the draft law, will allow improving the legal basis for ensuring the right of people for common use of forest resources.