Moscow, July 8, 2013 – In accordance with a Government of the Russian Federation Directive, instructing the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to ensure jointly with the Federal Forestry Agency the implementation of the Forest Fire Response Project co-financed by a World Bank loan, the Loan Agreement was signed by Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, and Michal Rutkowski, World Bank Country Director and Resident Representative in Russia.
On September 20, 2012, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$40 million loan to co-finance with the Russian Federation the Forest Fire Response Project. The total Project cost is US$121.26 million, including the US$40 million World Bank loan. The remaining US$81.26 million has been earmarked in the Russian Federation’s Foreign Borrowing Program.
The Project’s main objectives are to enhance forest management in pilot regions, improve forest fire prevention and suppression in select forest ecosystems, including targeted protected areas, as well as create enabling conditions for continuous, sound and non-depleting forest use. The Project’s activities will be implemented from 2013 to 2018.
“I would like to stress that the first pilot project - Sustainable Forestry - was implemented from 2001 to 2010. It covered seven regions, including Buryatia, Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk Krays, Arkhangelsk Irkutsk, Leningrad and Chita Oblasts. During the nine years of the project’s implementation, the total forest income in the above-mentioned regions has increased 3.5 times. These outcomes suggest that the measures that had been selected proved to be highly effective for reforming the forest management system. Today we deem it necessary to continue the project in other regions of the Russian Federation,” said Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.
The second Pilot Project covers Moscow and Voronezh Oblasts, Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk Krays, and the Republic of Komi. In addition, various project components will be implemented in in the following 13 nature reserves and national parks: Meschera National Park, Okskiy Nature Biosphere Reserve, Meshcherskiy National Park; Kerzhensky Nature Reserve, Buzuluskiy Bor National Park, Zhigulevskiy Nature Reserve, Bastak Nature Reserve, Samarkskaya Luka National Park; Sayano-Shushenskiy Nature Reserve, Stolby Nature Reserve, Bureinkiy Nature Reserve, Shushkenskiy Bor National Park, and Komsomolskiy Nature Reserve.
The Forest Fire Response Project will support efforts to improve the regulatory and legal framework for forestry management, carry out targeted investments to improve forest regeneration and restoration, develop an integrated forest management information system, strengthen human resource capacity, and introduce innovative practices of forest management.
A number of Project activities are universal in nature and will be implemented jointly by the Federal Forestry Agency and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Project management will be performed by a Project Implementation Unit competitively selected by a Project Selection Committee. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development participated in the Selection Committee.
“By supporting the Government in its forest fire prevention and management efforts, the Bank continues its long-standing and comprehensive engagement with the Russian Federation on sustainable forest management,” said Michal Rutkowski, World Bank Country Director and Resident Representative in Russia.