Tuukka Castren, World Bank senior forestry specialist, presented FLEG process and achievements of the FLEG Program at the meeting.
The 15th session of the Council took place in Yerevan, Armenia, on October 13-14, 2015. The goal of the meeting was to discuss issues of cross-border cooperation, such as: implementation of the agreement on preventing and combatting fires in borderline territories of CIS countries; development of cooperation between CIS countries on forest science and joint scientific and technical projects; exchange of information on illegal activities; professional forest education.
FLEG II Program participated in the session as an observer on the invitation of Martun Matevosyan, Director of “Hayantar” State Non-Commercial Organization of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia.
Tuukka Castren introduced the history and goals of the FLEG process to the participants, as well as FLEG I and FLEG II programs, and their achievements in 2014-2015. In particular, he mentioned the 1st young forester summer camp “Let's protect the forests!” organized in Azerbaijan in 2015, promotion of FSC principles in the Caucasus countries, and a traceability tool launched in Moldova to combat illegal logging. Forest Dependency Studies in 36 communities in all participating countries underscored that quantifiable information helps support improving forest governance. Among other things, Mr. Castren also mentioned the cooperation between Georgia and Armenia, which recently held two round table discussions, where they shared experience and agreed on joint activities. The two countries are planning to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which is under preparation at the moment.
“The role of forests in national economy is basically about resource management: sustainable forest management and good governance”, said Mr. Castren. “However, governance is not only about legality; different levels of engagement are needed”. He also noted that investments in forests help forests to develop, but can help other sectors of the economy to develop as well.
Anatoly Petrov, Rector of the Russian Institute of Continuous Education in Forestry highlighted the work being done by FLEG II Program in Russia in his presentation about professional education and extension programs and invited other countries to participate in the preparation of a new manual for forestry school units.
The Intergovernmental Council for the Timber Industry and Forestry of the Commonwealth of Independent states was founded in September 1998 by 7 CIS countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Tajikistan. Its main objectives include developing recommendations on improving the forestry legislation, the efficiency of forest management, creating favorable conditions for attracting investments in the forest sector, implementing joint scientific projects, creating all-regional information systems, developing mutual approaches to environmental issues, and improving professional forestry education.
The 16th Session will be hosted in Kazakhstan in 2016.