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Institutional forestry structure in Ukraine: What lies ahead?

Reforming the institutional structure of Ukraine’s forestry sector has long been high on the political agenda of leaders here.

To that end, more than 80 stakeholders gathered at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv on 5 July to discuss the prospects and implications of forestry reform in Ukraine. The meeting was organized by the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine with the support of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section.

Participants shared experiences and learned about best practices used by Bulgaria, Germany and Poland to reform their institutional forestry structures. They also discussed sustainable financing of the forestry sector, how to attract investments in the latest technologies, and the responsibilities of governmental institutions in relation to the private sector.

The European Union also has taken an interest in this process, especially with regard to unsustainable forest management practices in Ukraine and the country’s recent ban on the export of round timber.

“For a long period of time, decisions on the forest sector in Ukraine were not widely consulted,” said Volodymyr Bondar, deputy head of the State Agency of Forest Resources of Ukraine. “For foresters, however, it is extremely important to communicate their concerns and to be heard. Today, the forest sector is facing significant changes.”

He expressed hope that meetings such as this can spur positive action on Ukraine’s forests.

“The future of the forest sector, as well as the country’s ecological stability, rely very much on the experience and best practices of foresters,” Bondar said. “The reform should be balanced and consider national specifics. I hope that today’s meeting – the second international consultation and the first dialogue on possible reforms – will allow the sector to improve.”

Meeting attendees, including representatives of the Ukrainian Parliament and various ministries, scientific institutions and national and international organizations, discussed several options for reforming Ukraine’s national forestry institutional structure. They weighed the strengths and weaknesses of various reforms and progressed towards reaching an agreement.

Ekrem Yazici, deputy chief of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, explained that National Forest Policy Dialogues such as this one in Kyiv provide a neutral platform for the exchange of information among national and international experts such as policymakers, forest managers, forest-based industry representatives, researchers and more.
“We strongly encourage countries to use this tool to support forest policy development,” he said.

6 July 2018, Kyiv, Ukraine

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