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Visible progress in sustainable forest management and monitoring in Uzbekistan

Forests in Uzbekistan cover about 7% of the land area and play an important role in the protection and prevention of environmental degradation, in particular land degradation, natural disasters, and conservation of biodiversity and preservation of water quality. Moreover, wood is an important resource for heating and cooking. The demand for wood and non-wood forest products is met principally through plantations. Sustainably managed plantations are considered an adequate solution to protect natural forests and biodiversity.

More than 30 forestry experts from Uzbekistan, Estonia and Russia met from 2 to 4 August 2017 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to develop national criteria and an indicator set for sustainable forest management. The workshop was organized by UNECE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in cooperation with the State Committee of Forestry of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Sustainable forest management indicators developed through a participatory process can provide important information on countries’ forest resources and support evidence-based policies. Uzbekistan has started a participatory process to develop a national set of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. This set will be beneficial for monitoring, assessing and reporting on the state of the country’s forests, strengthening national forest policy and promoting sustainable forest management.

The concept of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management was developed at the Earth Summit (1992). Since then it has evolved into a powerful tool to promote, monitor and assess progress towards sustainable forest management. The concept is not only used at the international and regional levels (i.e. FAO Forest Resources Assessment, pan-European and Montreal processes) but also at the national level, as many countries have developed and implemented a national set of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. Uzbekistan is now joining those countries in the commitment to develop their set.

Uzbekistan is one of the beneficiary countries (alongside Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan) of a project on “Accountability Systems for Sustainable Forest Management in the Caucasus and Central Asia”. The project is being implemented between 2016 and 2019 and funded through the UN Development Account (UNDA). It supports Uzbekistan by facilitating a participatory multi-stakeholder process and holding workshops on the development of accountability systems with the participation of international and national experts. This project will strengthen the forest sector and enable the country to follow up on their international commitments such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“This project is a great opportunity for Uzbekistan to promote sustainable forest management and communicate the multi-functionality of forests in economic, social and environmental terms”, said Mr. Zafar Eshankulov, Representative of the State Committee of Forestry of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

More information about the project can be found here: http://www.unece.org/forests/areas-of-work/capacity-building/unda2016-2019.html

This newspiece was published in Russian, Uzbek and English on the website of the State Committee of Forestry of the Republic of Uzbekistan: http://urmon.uz/post/view/134