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Time to join efforts in Azerbaijan for sustainable forest management

The restructuring of forestry institutions is now high on the political agenda in Azerbaijan, gaining full support from the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. One of the key steps is to review and update the draft National Forestry Programme. 

In this regard, on 11-12 July 2018, more than 50 partners from national forestry government institutions, civil society, academia, private sector, as well as experts from Turkey and other international organizations gathered in Baku for the National Forest Policy Dialogue under the auspices of UNECE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The aim was to discuss and develop proposals for updating the Programme. 

The Forestry Programme includes policy objectives, and an action plan for the period of 2015-2020. 

The workshop was organized by the Ministry together with the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, and FAO’s Partnership and Liaison Office in Azerbaijan. 

“We do not have much forest resources. In order to manage them in a sustainable way, we need to have a clear and specific approach to follow,” said Mukhtar Babayev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. “Our main goal is to learn from good practices and proper methodologies.”

“We all are aware of the high importance of forests as a natural resource in Azerbaijan,” said Melek Cakmak, head of FAO’s Partnership and Liaison Office in Azerbaijan. “It is really important to maintain existing forests by applying sustainable practices, and increase forest areas through forest rehabilitation and reforestation. This needs a conceptual and systematic approach.” 

As Ekrem Yazici, deputy chief of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, explained during the workshop, forest policy dialogues, like this in Baku, were to bring together professionals to share knowledge, information and experience. 

“It is the right time to join our efforts to formulate long-term strategies on sustainable forest management, and develop detailed and achievable actions to improve forest management structures,” he said. 

Workshop participants discussed current challenges of forestry management system, issues related to the revision of the Programme, and needs to reform the national forestry institutional structure. They have agreed to revise the existing document and its action plan, and use it as a roadmap for future interventions aimed at reforming the forestry management system.