ENPI FLEG II contributes to improving Moldsilva’s website to make it more user-friendly and transparent
Source of life, wealth, and revenue: forests are a public good and have to be accessible to everybody. It is therefore a basic right to know how forest resources are managed by the public authorities, but sometimes poor communication and lack of transparency hinder the smooth flow of information between administrators and citizens.
For the past four years, Moldsilva, the central public authority for forestry and hunting in the Republic of Moldova, has adopted a process of improving its communication and transparency procedures, and FLEG, the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Program, plays an active role in it.
“In 2011, we were asked by the Director-General of Moldsilva, Mr. Ion Lupu, to collaborate in devising and implementing a more effective and comprehensive communications strategy for the Agency” said Aurel Lozan, FLEG II Country Program Coordinator for IUCN Moldova, “One of the most urgent needs to address was to ensure better dissemination of forest-related information to the relevant stakeholders, as well as to the general public. Our ultimate goal is to erect a solid bridge between Moldsilva and the citizens”.
Since 2013, FLEG II and Antis Media have cooperated to develop an improved version of Moldsilva’s “Forest Communication and Knowledge Plan”. This strategy entails a number of various activities organised by the Department of Information and Public Communication of the Agency, in collaboration with local forest authorities, educational institutions, and local media.
“During the past few years, the activities undertaken by the ENPI FLEG Program, in collaboration with Moldsilva, have enriched and stimulated the debate about forest-related issues in Moldovan media. FLEG studies on topics such as wood consumption, illegal logging, and timber traceability, constitute the primary source of most journal articles in the sector” said Viorica Caciuc, Moldsilva Press Officer, “As a result of FLEG’s inputs, public awareness on these subjects has increased significantly. The new version of Moldsilva’s communications strategy represents a necessary step towards the improvement of our communication and transparency procedures, as this is the most important communication-related document of our Agency”.
Festivals, art contests for students, workshops for children, creation of educational materials for schools, and public events to celebrate special days such as “The International Children’s Day” are examples of initiatives conceived in the framework of the new communications strategy, aiming to involve a wide range of persons, especially youth.
A considerable part of Moldsilva’s plan is dedicated to the renewal its website, from both stylistic and content perspectives. “Websites are valuable tools to inform and engage the public” explained Mr. Lozan, “Because of this fact, they must be up-to-date, user-friendly, and interactive. Therefore, we decided to assist Moldsilva in redesigning its website”.
Since 2012, numerous actions have been taken to make www.moldsilva.gov.md the most reliable and comprehensive source of information on the Moldovan forest sector: the layout was completely restyled, new sections and widgets were inserted, more recent news articles and studies were uploaded, and most pages were translated from Romanian into English and Russian.
A crucial factor that was taken into consideration in the website’s renovation was the fact that information had to be communicated not only more effectively, but also in a more transparent way. Accordingly, the structure now includes new sections dedicated to information about timber auctions, public procurements, new legislation and polices, job positions in the forest sector, and best practices.
These measures introduced with the new “Forest Communication and Knowledge Plan” have already borne fruit: the number of visitors to the website have nearly tripled, and all events and initiatives organized in the framework of the strategy succeeded in involving a considerable number of participants, particularly children and young students.
For more information, contact Aurel Lozan, Country Program Coordinator for IUCN Moldova firstname.lastname@example.org.
The improvement of the communications strategy and of the transparency level represents fundamental steps in making people more aware of the issues related to forest resources and their governance. As stated in the Saint Petersburg Declaration, in order to make forest law enforcement more effective, it is essential that information on forest management and policies is made readily available to the public. Communication tools like websites are therefore important bridges to bring the citizens closer to public authorities.