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UNECE and FAO advance reporting of sustainable forest management in the Caucasus and Central Asia

No country in the Caucasus or Central Asia prior to 2016 had developed indicators to monitor progress towards sustainable forest management at the national level. Two years later, thanks to a United Nations Development Account (UNDA) project implemented jointly by UNECE and FAO, five countries – Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan – are developing national forest monitoring systems.

Representatives of all five countries are meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia, this week to share experiences and take stock of progress during a regional interim workshop. The workshop is organized in conjunction with a meeting of the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Monitoring Sustainable Forest Management to allow mutual support and exchange among experts.

“The Team of Specialists on Monitoring Sustainable Forest Management considers criteria and indicator sets as a strong monitoring and forest policy tool, and we are glad they will now be applied in the Caucasus and Central Asia as well,” said Dr Stein Tomter of the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, leader of the Team of Specialists. “This workshop in Tbilisi provides a fertile soil for cooperation, and we do hope to gain some perspectives and identify new members for the team here.”

Since the project began, Georgia and Kazakhstan have significantly advanced the development of their national forest reporting systems.

New national criteria and indicators allow Georgia to take stock of forest resources and monitor the achievement of national forestry objectives, as well as to fulfil their reporting obligations under the FOREST EUROPE process. It is expected that the country’s upcoming Forest Code will include reference to a forest monitoring system based on criteria and indicators.

Kazakhstan based its national set on the Montreal Process, a forest monitoring process developed for countries with temperate and boreal forests. The drafting of Kazakhstan’s national criteria and indicators involved consultations with several national institutions. Approval of the set of forest monitoring criteria and indicators through a ministerial decree is expected in 2018.

Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan developed their draft sets of criteria and indicators through national workshops and are expected to finalize them by the end of the UNDA project in 2019.

Drafting and agreeing on national sets of indicators supports the development of modern forest policy tools and has stimulated numerous discussions among project countries on the role of forests and their management.

“The project has stimulated cooperation and exchange of experiences on forest-related matters among the five countries involved,” said Ekrem Yazici, deputy chief of the Joint UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section. “It also stimulates their active participation in international forest-related processes and increases their contribution to the sustainable development of the forestry sector, relevant Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Forest Resources Assessment, and the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests.”

For more information on the Workshop, please visit: https://www.unece.org/index.php?id=46408&no_cache=1#/

To learn more about the project “Accountability Systems for Sustainable Forest Management in the Caucasus and Central Asia”, please visit: http://www.unece.org/forests/areas-of-work/capacity-building/unda2016-2019.html

The FAO news on the Workshop, which is available in English and Russian, can be viewed at: http://www.fao.org/europe/news/detail-news/en/c/1103133/