CHISINAU, July 13, 2010 - The World Bank is hosting a regional conference in Chișinău as part of the EU funded ENPI FLEG Program, to address issues of Forest Law Enforcement and Governance. The event brings together 13 countries from the Europe and North Asia region, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Moldova.
The objective of this conference is to identify policy and institutional roles that can be strengthened across the region to tackle key issues impacting law enforcement and governance in forestry management. According to World Bank estimates the annual global market value of losses from illegal cutting of forests exceed US $10 billion, a reality which calls for resolute action to strengthen national and regional mechanisms of forestry management.
"The World Bank is pleased to be hosting this important regional event in Moldova," said Melanie Marlett, World Bank Country Manager for Moldova. "The efficient and effective management of forest resources is not only critical for the economies and people in the region, it is a vital element of global efforts to address climate change and has proven to be, in countries like Moldova, a solid source of revenues from carbon sequestration."
The issues affecting illegal cutting of forests comprise a general failure of governance and prevalence of corruption, including unclear, controversial or simply non-existent policies and legislation governing the use of forest resources; weak institutional structures responsible for forestry management; and inability to monitor and enforce the regulations applicable to the use and conservation of forest resources.
The Forest Law Enforcement and Governance regional conference represents an important platform to exchange information on regional progress in tackling corruption and governance in the forestry sector, as well as discuss progress in the implementation of National Action Plans on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance.
In Moldova, afforestation of degraded lands is a priority for the Government, which is working to increase afforested areas in the country from 10.3% in 2002 to 13.2% by 2015. The World Bank has provided the Government of Moldova with assistance in implementing a number of forestry-related projects, including Soil Conservation and Community Forestry projects, which aim to restore degraded lands and sustainably enhance supplies of forest products to local communities.
The ENPI FLEG program has been implemented in response to the growing problem of illegal forest activities in the participating countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine). Illegal forest activities include illegal logging, timber theft and smuggling, trade of illegal wood, unauthorised forest conversion, unclear legislation, unclear tenure arrangements and lack of enforcement of forest regulations due to corruption.
The effects of unsustainable forest management and illegal forest activities include: loss of revenue to governments, the private sector and local livelihoods (especially forest-dependent communities); degradation of forest ecosystems and loss of biodiversity; loss of carbon stocks and climate change (deforestation accounts for 20% of global CO2 emissions); and creating a negative image for the sector and the producing countries.
The overall objective of this three year (2008-2011) program is to contribute to establishing legal and sustainable forest management and utilisation practices, strengthening the rule of law, and enhancing local livelihoods. More specifically, the program aims to put improved forest governance arrangements in place through the effective implementation of the main priorities set out in the St. Petersburg Ministerial Declaration on the Europe and Northern Asia Forest Law Enforcement and Governance process. These priorities relate to a strengthening and reform of the institutions responsible for forest management, reviewing and updating the policy, legal and institutional frameworks, as well as increasing the countries’ capacities to enforce existing laws and policies.
A €6 million European Commission grant was provided to the World Bank through a multi-donor trust fund. The program’s implementing partners are the Bank, IUCN (The International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and WWF. The collective experience and networks of these partners will ensure that the public and private sectors as well as civil society are consistently included in the program’s activities.
The program activities cover: development of national action plans, capacity building and training, awareness raising, assistance in enhancing regional and sub regional collaboration, and support for the implementation of the priority actions on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance. Alongside this, the program will carry out analytical work on illegal forest activities and government responses to such crime, as well as monitoring or related developments. Central Asian countries may also be invited to participate in the regional and sub-regional events where there is clear added value in cooperation across the European Neighbourhood / Central Asian border.
About ENPI FLEG
The ENPI FLEG program supports governments of participating countries, civil society and the private sector in the development of sound and sustainable forest management practices, including the prevention of illegal forestry activities. Participating countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. This program is funded by the European Union.
About the World Bank
The World Bank is one of the world’s largest sources of funding for the developing world. Its primary focus is on helping the poorest people and the poorest countries. It uses its financial resources, its staff, and extensive experience to help developing countries reduce poverty, increase economic growth, and improve their quality of life.
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.
IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.
IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.