10 years ago, the Europe and North Asia Ministerial Conference on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance in St. Petersburg, Russia, brought together nearly 300 participants from 48 countries representing governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations.
The Conference yielded the St. Petersburg Declaration (English/Russian), an expression of commitment by 44 governments from the Europe and North Asia region and other participating countries to take action to address illegal logging and associated forest crimes. The participating governments also identified an Indicative List of Actions for the implementation of the Declaration, which are included as an annex to the Declaration.
The Ministerial forest law enforcement and governance initiative created the political “space” at national and regional levels to address the complex and politically sensitive issues related to illegal logging. This ministerial-level political process helped to mobilize international commitment from producer, consumer and donor governments to increase efforts to combat illegal logging as well as the associated trade and corruption in the forest sector.
Momentum towards strengthening forest law enforcement and governance in the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) region grew when, in 2008, the EC, the World Bank, WWF and IUCN teamed up to implement the first ENPI FLEG Program (2008-2012, 6 million EUR).
The ENPI Forest Law Enforcement and Governance II (FLEG II) Program (2012-2016, 9 million EUR) builds on the first ENPI FLEG I Program to support good forest governance, sustainable forest management and forest protection in the region.