Baku (Azerbaijan), November 3, 2013 – The first meeting of the Azerbaijan National Program Advisory Committee (NPAC) of the EU financed program ENPI/East-2 FLEG II (“European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument East Countries Forest Law Enforcement and Governance II Program”) took place in Baku, in the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) office.
The discussions were facilitated by a representative of the Azerbaijani Parliament (Milli Majlis), the Chairman of the NPAC, Shamil Huseynov. Extensive discussions on the country working plan, time-line and stakeholders for the current year were held.
As a participant of the seminar on SESAF (Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment Framework) procedures carried out in Chisinau in June, Mr. Huseynov stressed the importance of applying high ecological standards to social issues and the development of the law on ecological evaluation. The proposed changes and amendments to the country’s Forest Code inspired active debate. The participants agreed that there is a need to start drafting the new version of the Code and to develop the necessary changes to legal acts.
Encouragingly appreciative remarks were delivered by the head of the Centre of Ecological Education and Practice of the Ministry of Education, Ali Shukurov. He spoke of the successful progression of the Young Foresters’ movement in Azerbaijan, with the growing interest of the regional youth towards this initiative. Mr. Shukurov stressed the importance of the participation of the in-country young foresters’ contests winners in the Russian Federation’s forest juniors contest, which “will catalyse international cooperation in this area.”
The NPAC consists of representatives of key government ministries (The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, The Centre of Ecological Education and Practice of the Ministry of Education, cooperating NGOs, and Implementing Organisations (IOs). After extensive dialogues regarding the country activities for the current year, it was decided that the next meeting be held in May 2014.
The second phase of ENPI FLEG II was officially launched in Azerbaijan in October 2013. The Program’s Steering Committee meeting, held in Minsk, Belarus, in October, meanwhile approved national, regional and sub-regional activities for the current year.