December 17, 2013, Rovaniemi (Finland) – On 12th December, as part of the European Forest Week, the ENPI (European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument) East Countries FLEG (Forest Law Enforcement and Governance) II hosted an open panel discussion on the process of tackling forest governance challenges and supporting sustainable forest management practices through national and regional experiences. The event was co-chaired with the Russian Federal Forest Agency (FFA).
The EU funded ENPI East FLEG Program Phase II is being implemented in the 7 ENPI East countries. National and regional experiences, lessons learnt and success stories from Phase I were presented.
The open panel discussion allowed ENPI FLEG Program country participants and guests to share their experiences and to create opportunities for enhancing cooperation between the countries. The following questions were discussed: the role of regional and interregional dialog in the FLEG II process; how to make progress implementing the 2005 St. Petersburg Europe and North Asia (ENA) FLEG Ministerial Declaration; and the role of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification in sustainable forest management.
Among the many outcomes of the lively discussions, the conclusions and agreement included:
Mr. Alexander V. Panfilov, the Deputy Head of the Russian FFA and Co-Chair of the event, underlined the importance of regional events during FLEG II: "We are all pioneers in trying to address FLEG issues within transition economies and I think that we don’t want to fall into the same traps as before. We should learn from what has already been done by our neighbors. We are therefore happy to listen to the experiences of other countries during FLEG II, to learn from both positive and negative experiences, and also to share ours.”
The event brought together FLEG National Focal Points (or their designated representatives) from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation.
The second European Forest Week was held on 9-13 December 2013 in Rovaniemi. This event ran in parallel to “Metsä 2013”, the joint session of the FAO Forestry Committee and the FAO European Forestry Commission. The main aim of the event was to increase the visibility of forests and the forest sector, and to raise awareness of their important contribution to the protection of the environment and the development of economies and society in Europe.
 “Metsä” means “forest” in Finnish