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Outcome Story - Russian Forest Governance Assessment


Project Summary:

Project title: Enabling the Russian Forest Sector to Attain Sustainability Through Governance Reforms

Project duration: November 2011 to June 2012

Project funding: DFID USD 250,000           

Project partners: Russian Federal Forestry Agency, regional forest agencies, World Bank Forest Investment Program, World Bank Europe and Central Asia Region, DFID

Key deliverables: Forest Governance Assessment report in English and Russian; presentations at international conferences


In 2011, Russia was coming to grips with some high-profile forest governance shortcomings including rampant illegal logging and difficulty responding to widespread fires. The Russian Federal Forest Agency agreed to sponsor application of the PROFOR forest governance assessment tool as a first step towards evidence-based reform of forest governance in the country. The basic tool uses stakeholder workshops to score a set of indicators customized to fit the country context. In Russia, the scoring was done in four representative regions, both by stakeholders and experts.

According to its concept note, the project was intended to‚ÄĒ

  • Lay a foundation for future monitoring of forest governance in Russia, and specifically provide a baseline measure of governance for the Forest Fire Response Project
  • Influence and inform the ENPI FLEG effort to draft a new forest policy for the Archangelsk region
  • Promote and inform discussion of the ‚Äúbottlenecks‚ÄĚ in forest governance in Russia, and specifically promote discussion on controlling trade in illegal logs among key producer and consumer countries of the region, especially concerning exports from Russia to China
  • Provide knowledge about control of illegal trade in logs that can be applied outside of Russia to inform global efforts
  • Contribute to worldwide knowledge of how to assess forest governance, leading to better use of the PROFOR tool in other settings

Influence. According to our key informant in the World Bank‚Äôs country office in Russia‚ÄĒ

  • The Forest Fire Response Project has suffered from budget cuts, and so that project has not yet incorporated the results of the assessment or planned for further national monitoring using the assessment as a baseline.
  • The regions, including Archangelsk, are now more reform-oriented than the federal government. Our informant could not point to specifics but was ‚Äúsure‚ÄĚ that the assessment results were influencing policy reform in Archangelsk. In cooperation with the regions, the ENPI FLEG Program has developed and published a protocol for future regional monitoring of forest governance, based on the initial PROFOR assessment.
  • In 2013, Russia adopted a new, non-binding policy framework for forest management, published on the government‚Äôs website. The government enlisted the lead consultant for the PROFOR assessment to be one of the authors of the new policy. Although the policy does not explicitly cite the PROFOR assessment, use of the assessment‚Äôs consultant assured influence.
  • Based on the Russian experience, Belarus and Armenia have expressed interest in doing their own assessments, but have taken no concrete steps.

The PROFOR team in Washington can attest to the project’s influence internationally.

  • In encouraging countries to try a government assessment, the PROFOR team routinely mentions the Russian example to illustrate that the PROFOR tool can work in a wide variety of contexts and that it is not just a tool for developing countries.
  • The Russian case was the first to use of the PROFOR indicators in regional assessments, an approach that has been copied in Mozambique.

Potential significance:

 The current level of influence in Russia is still relatively low, but the potential remains for greater influence when the forest agency is not under such budget pressure. At the international level, as more countries apply the PROFOR tool, the lessons learned in Russia will continue to influence the tool’s use. 


Project design features: The protocol for using the PROFOR tool is designed to influence knowledge uptake in two ways. First, the protocol uses stakeholders in consensus-seeking workshops to score the PROFOR indicators. This tends to educate stakeholders about the issues and the interests that others hold. It shows the possibility of agreement on reform and it increases networking and communication. Second, the protocol calls for a written report that analyses the scoring of the indicators for the benefit of decision makers.

Because of the great variety of conditions in Russia, the project designers decided to score the indicators in four regions (in the Voronezh and Arkhangelsk Oblasts and the Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk Krays) and then hold a national workshop to collate the results. A total of 110 people attended the regional workshops. When national enthusiasm for reform subsequently waned, the regional nature of the project gave the regional governments a basis to proceed on reforms.

The project was not designed specifically to address forest governance as it affects women and girls, however, the PROFOR indicator set includes a gender-sensitive indicator. For many participants, looking at forest issues through a gender lens was a new idea, and the gender indicator drew an unexpected amount of attention. As in many countries, forestry in Russia is a stereotypically male pursuit. In most of the regional workshops, about a quarter of the participants were women, however, only one woman attended the Arkhangelsk workshop.

Because of the weight that decision makers in Russia place on expert opinion, the project decided to score the indicators in two ways: through the above-described consensus-oriented stakeholder workshops and independently through experts. While the workshops informed stakeholders, stimulated constructive dialogue, and probably gave the outputs greater weight among stakeholders, the expert reviews gave the outputs more weight among decision makers.

Besides producing reports in Russian and English for decision makers in Russia and the donor agencies, PROFOR supported presentations about the project at an international workshop on forest governance assessment at FAO in Rome. The Russians also made presentations on the project at an international conference on illegal logging in Kazan and at a Technical Advisory Meeting of the Montréal Process (the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests).

Key inputs, activities, and products that led to influence.  The key actions that have led to influence include (1) the regional workshops, which promoted networking, educated stakeholders, stimulated dialogue, and encouraged consensus; (2) the use of local consultants to help shape the process, which improved both the process and the capacity of the consultants; (3) the addition of expert scoring to the PROFOR tool protocol, which increased the weight of the results in the eyes of decision makers; and (4) the involvement of the tool designers (based in Washington), coupled with presentation of results at international events, which helped the lessons learned from the Russian experience improve assessments in other countries.

Key policy or influence strategies. To the extent that the project has had influence, its success has come from attempting multiple routes to achieve influence. The most prominent of these, the influencing of Russian federal forest policy through recommendations in the project report, has been somewhat disappointing due to outside circumstances. However, the strong involvement of the regions has opened avenues for influence at that level; the exposure of local experts to the FAO‚ÄďPROFOR Framework and other norms for forest governance has stimulated thinking and introduced new ideas (such as gender being a concern in forest governance); and the involvement of the tool designers has influenced subsequent assessments in other countries.


Political context. The project had the support of the federal forest agency as well as the World Bank and DFID. Among stakeholders in the country, there was a general sense that forest governance had responded poorly to recent challenges and needed reform.

Access to networks. The people working on the project had access to donors, to government officials, and to regional stakeholders.

Other external factors. The Russians put great weight in the project‚Äôs use of tools based on international norms. Specifically, they had great respect for the FAO‚ÄďPROFOR Framework, which an international expert group developed through a consensus process. The Russians were pleased that the project was one of the first to use the PROFOR tool and the first to use it in regional workshops. They also took pride that Russia was the first to perform a forest governance assessment in a country with boreal forests and the first to perform an assessment in a country with a large and well-developed system of forest management, manufacturing, and trade. They liked being innovators and pioneers.

The most significant factors in achieving the outcome.¬†¬†The most significant factors in achieving the outcome of the project were probably‚ÄĒ

  • The involvement of a varied group of stakeholders in scoring the indicators. This improved their knowledge, provided opportunities for networking, and stimulated constructive dialogue among them.
  • The use of regional workshops, which gave the project greater influence among decision makers in those regions.
  • The involvement of the tool designers in the project and the reporting of the results at international venues, which helped to spread beyond Russia the lessons learned in the practice of forest governance assessment and influenced subsequent uses of the PROFOR diagnostic tool.
  • Key informants: World Bank country office staff; PROFOR staff
  • Project concept note (unpublished)
  • Summary data on regional workshops (unpublished)
  • Outputs (see below)

Influential outputs of the project   

  • Project report (English version)
  • Report on ENPI FLEG website describing the 2012 Russian presentation at the FAO expert meeting on forest governance data collection
  • Slides from the World Bank‚Äôs presentation on the assessment to the 13th meeting of the Montr√©al Process Technical Advisory Committee:¬†
  • Report on ENPI FLEG website describing the presentation at the Second Meeting of the APEC Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT) in Kazan, Russia¬†

Variables for the cross-case analysis, and type of answer:

  • Score that the project received¬†against¬†the project design rubric - Would meet expectations
  • Score that the project received against the project level uptake rubric -¬†Would¬†meet expectations
  • Whether the activity involved translating knowledge¬†for¬†specific priority groups -¬†Yes
  • Whether the activity included engagement/ exchange of ideas,¬†and co-development of knowledge with target audience -¬†Yes
  • Whether the activity included engagement/ exchange of ideas,¬†and co-development of knowledge with target audience -¬†Yes
  • Whether the activity was modified as a result of learnings from monitoring and reflection -¬†No
  • Whether the activity was modified in the light of learning from other projects/settings -¬†No
  • Whether the activity involved collaboration more than one¬†KNOWFOR¬†partner -¬†No
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