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Facilitating forest sector reform in Ukraine
The forest sector in Ukraine faces a number of challenges caused by weak governance, corruption, and institutional weaknesses stemming from the historic post-Soviet concentration of regulatory and business functions within one institution. The country is currently facing major policy reforms across many sectors, including forest management and administration. Maintaining an open dialogue on forest issues with the government and other national stakeholders is critical to supporting a significant reform process.
Building on a Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) program (2009–16), the objective of this activity is to facilitate knowledge exchange, transparency, and inclusiveness of the forest policy reform process in Ukraine. The intended outcome is to imrpove governance indicators, specifically enhanced accountability of authorities in charge of forest management and improved access to forest-related information by various stakeholders. Specific activities and outputs will include:
- An overview of the current state of the forest sector, as of 2016, including information on logging, composition of tree species, timber consumption patterns, and timber import/export analysis. A report will be pubilshed based on this analysis.
- Support for developing legal and institutional modalities of forest sector reform. This component will entail a survey of institutional options, engagement with stakeholders, and facilitation of broad public debate.
- Expert reviews of draft legislation, with recommendations regarding land and decentralization reforms, and efficient forest management.
- Dissemination activities, including online discussion platforms.
This activity was completed in June 2018. The overview of national forestry sector statistics for 2016 and 2017 and the corresponding analysis presented comprehensive up-to-date information about the current state of the forest sector in Ukraine. The analysis also demonstrated causes of problems and linked them to the need for reform. Thus, the client and target audiences received valuable information, which can be used for further decision making in the forest sector and for the work of official working groups on forest sector reform.
The activity enhanced and facilitated participation of key players (relevant ministries, the Parliament, the State Forest Resources Agency, the private sector, NGOs and local self-governance authorities) in the debate on important issues related to potential changes in the institutional setting of the forestry sector.
The project experts assessed 16 selected draft laws and provided their comments and recommendations to the Client and other relevant stakeholders. It supported parliament-level decision-making in the forestry sector through timely peer review of possible institutional changes, political and economic initiatives/changes, and selected draft legislative initiatives. Some of the activity experts’ recommendations have been included into new draft legislation, such as the recommendations on forest shelterbelts in the draft law regulating use of agricultural land.
Furthermore, information and discussion platforms (round tables, extended stakeholder meetings, web portal), have been established and are functioning; all planned analytical studies serve as background information for discussion/debate among key stakeholders on key forest sector issues. The Ukrainian Forestry Portal, which serves as a source of comprehensive up-to-date information on the forest sector (including news, articles, statistics, legislation, the activity analytical reports and other material, forum for discussing forestry issues) received substantial upgrading as the activity engaged audiences beyond foresters’ professional community and reached public at large. About 390, 000 visitors were counted to explore the web site during June 2017-June 2018.
The activity also stimulated journalists’ interest in forest sector issues (for example, a journalist contest arranged under the activity was an important successful way to engage journalists). Thus, the public interest in forest sector issues has grown, and all together information and discussion platforms contributed to increased transparency of the sector.
The Activity outcomes continue to serve as an important base for further involvement of stakeholders in their dialogue on forest sector issues and changes in relevant policy and practice. However, it should be noted, that the national forest sector reform is a contested process given the sector’s public importance, many interests as well as political influences over this agenda
Last Updated : 05-03-2019