Baku, October 24, 2016 – Members of FLEG II National Program Advisory Committee in Azerbaijan met for a concluding meeting to discuss the progress and report about the outcomes.
The Program’s signature achievement, initiation and development of the school-based young forester movement, has been described by the stakeholders as a unique phenomenon in the history of environmental education in the country. The Focal Point, representatives of implementing organizations and other participants wished to see more support for the activities initiated by the Program after its conclusion.
The last National Program Advisory Committee (NPAC) meeting was held in the premises of the World Bank office in Baku and featured presentations by both the implementing organizations and the stakeholders. For the first time, the Regional Program Coordinator for the World Bank Tuukka Castren attended the meeting. “The success of the school-based young forester movement, efforts to support the forest-oriented sustainable recreation and the promotion of energy efficient technologies in construction works constitute an important part of FLEG II activities in Azerbaijan”, said Castren. “From what we have heard from the stakeholders, the Program is a huge success and we feel proud and satisfied”.
“FLEG II has initiated activities that are of enormous importance to the country’s forestry sector”, said Rahim Ibrahimov from the Forest Development Department of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan. “The research on the tugay forest rehabilitation techniques, the study on the forest functionality, the research on the energy saving and energy consuming technology in the civil construction in the forest-dependent communities – these are just the most outstanding ones. The amount and quality of information are very important to us and 6 years of cooperation with FLEG have changed a lot in our perceptions and knowledge”, added Ibrahimov. He is resolved to continue further with the application of Information and Communication Technologies in the forest management as well as rehabilitation of the forest landscapes with the involvement of the local population and business.
“One cannot possibly imagine how critical was the contribution of the Program to the development of the environmental education in the country”, said Firuza Sultan-zadeh, head of the Ecological Education and Practice Center under the Ministry of Education. In her opinion, the growing school-based young forester movement has already contributed to better understanding of forestry issues in forest-dependent communities; the publications developed with the support of FLEG II experts are widely used in secondary schools. “We expect more support for the development of the environmental education and are ready to cooperate in the future”, said Sultan-zadeh. Experts from two key ministries, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and Ministry of Education, highlighted the FLEG II-fostered intra-sectoral cooperation as an unprecedented and a highly successful one.
“The experience and knowledge of the unique team of experts and specialists, which have worked on both country and regional levels, are priceless”, concluded Rahim Ibrahimov. The inclusion of FLEG II-inspired proposals into the National Forest Program till 2020 is an evidence of a longer impact of FLEG II Program on the country’s forestry sector.