The Europe and Northern Asia (ENA) FLEG Ministerial Conference was held in November 2005 in St. Petersburg. The St. Petersburg Ministerial Declaration adopted at the Conference expresses profound concern that criminal actions and corruption are having significant negative impacts including a general weakening of the rule of law, loss of revenue to governments, the private sector and local livelihoods, and a reduction in the contribution of forests to the fulfilment of internationally agreed development goals aimed at reducing poverty. As noted in the Declaration, the development of market economies, changes in energy supply arrangements and the changing role of the public and private sectors in many countries are creating a need for strengthening and reform of the institutions responsible for forest management, reviewing and updating policy, legal and institutional frameworks and increased capacity to enforce existing laws and policies. These problems are made worse by the lack of credible information and analysis and inadequate participation in decision-making. In article 26 of the Ministerial Declaration, the Partner Governments requested that “the World Bank continue its important role by facilitating the implementation of the St. Petersburg Declaration and its indicative list of actions”. This project will be implemented through the World Bank, to be helped in its tasks by IUCN and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) which both have a strong track record of facilitating work by civil society and the private sector in various regional FLEG and other forest-related processes, as well as useful contacts in the region concerned.
The development of this project has been based on the World Bank’s active involvement in the ongoing ENA-FLEG process, as well as its experience with implementation of the earlier regional FLEG processes in East Asia and in Africa. The World Bank has, during the different phases of this process in the ENA-FLEG region (and earlier in Africa FLEG), collaborated extensively with IUCN, with a particular focus on civil society self-selection and mobilization processes and the convening of civil society and industry dialogue. WWF has provided important inputs throughout the process, especially regarding the experiences obtained in working with the private sector toward legality and sustainability. The lessons learned from this cooperation and other regional FLEG processes underpin the project approach and the key results it aims to achieve. About 80% of project inputs are expected to be focused on country level activities, augmented by regional and inter-regional learning and dissemination. Selected project countries include: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
The goals of this project are also consistent with those set out in the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan which place particular emphasis on governance reforms and capacity building, supported by actions aimed at developing multilateral cooperation and complementary demand side measures designed to reduce the consumption of illegally harvested timber.
Improving FLEG in the ENPI East is a 3-year project that will begin in 2008 and continue through to 2011. The programme development and mobilization phase will take place at regional and country levels over the next 3-4 months, with the full project launch expected in May-June 2008.
Core funding for Improving FLEG in the ENPI East has been provided to the World Bank by the European Commission. IUCN and WWF will receive respective sub-grants under this project and be key implementation partners. A parallel World Bank activity to support the development of national action plans to combat illegal forest activities will be implemented by Savcor-Indufor in a subset of lower-income countries of the ENA Region. Opportunities for tight coordination and cross-fertilization between the two initiatives are being sought out.
- Contribute to legal and sustainable forest management and utilization practices and improved local livelihoods in the 6 ENPI East countries plus Russia
- Put in place improved forest governance arrangements in the forest sector and closely linked sectors through effective implementation of the ENA FLEG Ministerial Declaration
The World Bank, IUCN and WWF will work in coordinated manner to translate gains made at the regional level into national and sub-regional action in the following 7 result areas:
Result 1: Increased awareness and commitment of key stakeholders on FLEG
Result 2: Effective national and regional FLEG action processes in place
Result 3: National ownership and capacity increased
Result 4: Improved regional and sub-regional collaboration and knowledge sharing
Result 5: Effective engagement of key trading partners
Result 6: Continuation of the formal official ENA FLEG process
Result 7: Sustainable forest management practices implemented.
Activities & Achievements
Implementation of Improving FLEG in the ENPI East is expected to begin in May-June 2008. IUCN’s contribution to the overall strategy will include a number of activities in each of the 7 result areas. Some examples of IUCN’s planned indicative activities include:
- Conducting national and regional tripartite awareness raising missions
- Undertaking public outreach activities such public opinion polls and/or public hearings
- Drafting and disseminating a guide to the Russian Forest Code in the FLEG context
- Drafting and disseminating a best practice guide on public participation for key stakeholders
- Undertaking a rapid assessment of the level of FLEG awareness, who is doing what, who is responsible for what, other relevant factors and the broader context in each country
- Identifying national level constraints and developing and testing responses
- Assisting with the implementation of tripartite dialogues in support of national and/or sub-regional identification of FLEG priority actions (which could be embodied in national or sub-regional action plans)
- Facilitating civil society inputs into official financing proposals and providing support to the formulation of civil society proposals
- Enhancing local, national and sub-regional initiatives that support sustainable livelihoods as alternatives to illegal activities
- Establishing and supporting ongoing cross-country and cross-regional learning groups
- Taking measures to reduce the bureaucratic pressure on small traditional use businesses
- Analysing lessons learned from project implementation and facilitating feeding resulting inputs into policy processes
- Facilitating increased regional and sub-regional information sharing through discussion platforms and use of existing institutions/fora including the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS) and the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE)
- Assisting with the implementation of a tripartite dialogue with China on demand and illegal and predatory activities in exporting countries
- Facilitating civil society networking and assisting with the implementation of preparatory meetings in preparation for official ENA FLEG events
- Facilitating civil society participation in official events
- Piloting local governance activities involving a range of partners in all 7 countries
- Participating in the production and testing of recommendations on legislative and institutional frameworks