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Promoting Public Participation in Russian Forest Management and Policies The project of Kola BCC, Sibecocenter and Taiga Resque Network, supported by Europian Union (IBPP/Tacis), SIDA and VROM. Overview Introduction & Project Background Project Goal & Objectives Methods & Activities
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Promoting Public Participation in Russian Forest Management and Policies The project of Kola BCC, Sibecocenter and Taiga Resque Network, supported by Europian Union (IBPP/Tacis), SIDA and VROM
Overview • Introduction & Project Background • Project Goal & Objectives • Methods & Activities • Results & Evaluation • Conclusions
Main Problems of Russian Forests • Logging rules are vestigial and can’t provide sustainable forestry • Poor law enforcement (regarding environmental regulations) • Lack of public participation in forest management and policies • Overcutting • Illegal logging • Forest Fires • Absence of Due Forest Recovery
Public Participation Project • Project Goal • This project is a collaborative effort among 3 non-profit environmental organizations, which aim at promoting public participation in Russian forest management and policies. • Model regions • Murmansk region • Novosibirsk region • Project Partners • Taiga Rescue Network, Jokkmokk, Sweden • Kola Biodiversity Conservation Center, Apatity, Russia • Siberian Environmental Center, Novosibirsk, Russia
What is Public Participation? • Public Participation = Inclusion of all relevant stakeholders in the planning, decision-making and implementation of management solutions that are both ecologically sustainable and socially acceptable • ► Empowerment of civil society • Why is Public Participation important? • State system of forest management in Russia is ineffective (practically destroyed) • Current forestry practices are not sustainable, economically viable or environmentally sound • No interest in forest conservation for future generations (exception: NGOs) • State system of control has littleeffectand is corrupt • Government does not pay attention to long-term objectives, such as education and forest recovery
Project Objectives 1 - To establish citizen-based forest monitoring programs to control logging activities and compliance with forest regulations and environmental laws 2 - To promote constructive engagement and policy dialogue among NGOs, government, communities and the private sector on environmental issues in forestry 3 - To develop the organizational capacity of target grassroots NGOs working for socially beneficial, economically viable and ecologically sound forest management
Methods & Activities • Innovative and replicable activities have been carried out, including… • Local and regional networking • Production of popular information on environmental and forest issues • Public and school meetings (environmental education) • On-the-ground forest monitoring (Forest Watch Teams) • Media work • Multi-stakeholder seminars • Joint NGO strategy meetings • On-site NGO capacity building trainings.
Results • Local and regional meetings • Meetings with 12 schools / 300 pupils • 6 Educational seminars in 6 target districts with participation of 470 pupils of 55 school teams • 11 Public meetings with citizens, foresters and public officials • 4 Public meetings with local activists • 20 Meetings with NGOs and individuals (teachers, group leaders) • 20 Meetings with local authorities (government, forestry officials) • 7 Meetings with NGOs • 1 Joint NGO strategy meeting • 2 Multi-stakeholder meeting with NGOs, governments and industry • 1 Joint NGO seminar (in cooperation with GP Russia) • 1 Exchange visit between Kola BCC and Sibecocenter
Example Multi-stakeholder meeting with NGOs, governments and industry One of the most useful experiences was conduction of educational workshops for representatives of state forest service and forest industries united under the name of Ecological knowledge to ecological authorities. Overall 4 such workshops has been conducted, including 2 within this project. Workshop participants have been informed no modern forest ecology, biology and ecology of rare specie, principles of nature conservation and sustainable forestry practices. The workshops were accompanied by trips to old-growth forests and logging sites. The course also included business games on organization of protected areas. Despite almost all workshop participants had special education in forest management, they all noted their extreme usefulness, since it was new for them. Representatives from all large logging enterprises and all forest management units of Murmansk Oblast, as well as of other authorities in charge of control over use of natural resources (Land Committee, Murmansk Fishery Administration, Game administration etc.).
Example Public Involvement: From Meetings With Teachers to Regional Advisory Board • Siberian Ecocenter has involved different target- • groups in wide discussion of forestry problems. • Novosibirsk NGOs and foresters directed joint • position letter to President Putin devoted to new • draft Forest Code development and content. • During the discussion of regional environmental • program the coalition of environmental NGOs has been initiated, and then after NGO demand Public • Advisory Board for Environment and Sustainable • Nature Resources Use has been established • by Governor decision . • Why it worked? • professional analysis of draft new Forest Code • prepared by NGOs • urgent situations • common justified position of NGO coalition • mass-media support
Media work • 4 Press conferences • Numerous articles in the local and regional media (more than 25) • 5 contribution on regional TV • 10 TV-reports produced (10 channels: NTV, RTR, local TV) and 15 media contributions (articles, announcements, information material, etc.) published about educational seminars, replanting, Forest Watch teams, field trips and expeditions • 2 Presentations on public participation and project results given at regional environmental conference (Russia) and the World Forestry Congress (Canada)
Example Novosibirsk Mass-media Campaign: Focus On Destructive LoggingSystem • Sibecocenter has managed to use opportunities • of regional mass-media to attract public attention • to problems of non-sustainable forestry. • Main impact to: • Illegal logging in Novosibirsk Suburb and • Bolotnoe Districts • Forest Code discussion in Novosibirsk region • Initiation and establishment of Advisory • Council for Environment and Sustainable • Nature Use • Why it worked? • active and self-motivated press-officer • friendly relations with journalists • experienced video-operator • semi-professional digital camera and tripod • mobility by Sibecocenter’s vehicle • transportation
Training for the Forest Watch Team and their field inventories • 5 Citizen-based forest monitoring teams (5 citizen groups involved) • 9 Field trips and reports • 2 Citizens groups and 20 persons involved in forest monitoring programs (Forest Watch teams) • 31 Trips and expeditions prepared/supported and realized • 5 Forest authority interventions initiated by citizen-based monitoring • 7 Criminal facts (illegal cuttings) became object of court examinations • More than 100 new plant species discovered in Bolotnoe District • 400 Forest vegetation descriptions fed into analysis of forest state
Example Eco-tourist groupsparticipating in the Forest Watch Team work Tourist groups practicing ecological and extreme tourism on untouched areas are our natural satellites in nature conservation. Undoubtedly, they are interested in wild nature preservation and, hence, opportunities for tourism development. Besides that, they can combine field research and inspections when touring. They also were trained to basics of nature conservation, field research and inspection work. All main tourist groups of Murmansk oblast (5) took part in the project and noted high importance of the obtained information. They also expressed interest to development of other related projects: ecological zoning of trails, organization of camping grounds, fire prevention and establishment of protected areas related to tourism development (national and natural parks).
Example Forest Watch Team (FWT) in Novosibirsk Suburb: Forests, River, and Children • Druzhina (Guard) for Nature Conservation “Taiga” became most effective FWT in Novosibirsk region. The activists work in boundaries of small Isdrevay River watershed. • Main impact to: • activity of Regional Administration and land-users in local environmental problems decision • relation of land-users to waste problems • protection and recovery woods ecosystems of the river basin • public opinion about destructive logging • involvement and education of children from • local villages in rehabilitation of forests ecosystem • Why it worked? • high enthusiasm • deep involvement of regional and local authorities, police, and prosecutors • direct contacts with ALL key stakeholders • regular patrolling and monitoring forests • successful mass-media and vehicle support
New Protected Areas • 20 Diverse intact forests nominated as ‘Best Forests of Novosibirsk Region’ for use in mass media campaign and in conservation efforts • 3 New protected areas considered to be established (suggested for state protection) • 3 Nature Monuments planned to be set up in Isdrevaya River valley and in Bolotnoe District • Progress in state protection of 2 valuable areas: Laplandsky les (designated Nature Reserve) and Seidjavvrr’ (Nature Reserve); several other forest areas suggested for protection
Example Seidjavvrr’ Nature Reserve Vicinities of the Lake Seydozero in Lovozero tundra is a unique place in Murmansk in concentration of cultural and natural values. There is a patch of virgin forests in the river valley. The place is characterized by many rare plant and animal species. In addition, the lake itself and nearby rocks are cultural sites of indigenous Saami people. By proposal by BCC a nature reserve Seydyavvr. The reserve has administration, which is also in charge of project on sustainable development. With assistance of KBCC the reserve administration also receives some funding from regional administration. KBCC also provide training to forest guards and local people (mainly Saami interested to help the reserve. In summer 2004 reserve administration, jointly with KBCC conducted a summer ecological school for children from families with low income of Lovozero district.
Publications • 1 Environmental education brochure (Special edition of the Siberian Bulletin for Environmental Education Together On Earth) on Siberian forests and forest protection) • 1 Murmansk Popular Red Data Book • 8 Electronic issues of Kola Wild News (50 subscribers) • 1 How to save Taiga brochure • 6 Issues of the Russian edition of Taiga News (80 subs., 500 copies) • 6 Contributions to TRN’s Boreal Bulletin and Taiga News • 2 Articles submitted to international journals/newsletters • 20Articles on regional and local newsletter • 1 on-line booklet about ecological traditional knowledge • CD-ROM version of Principles of Conservation Biology (Russian translation)
Example Murmansk Popular Red Data Book Book is the popular atlas presented more then 100 species of vascular plants included the Red Data Book of Murmansk region. In this book are included the plants which can be identified in the field condition without special botanic education. For every species is adduced the article, themap of dissemination in the Murmansk region, and the illustrated photographs and pictures. The book is made for the teachers, pupils, foresters, NGO’s and naturalists and can be using for rare species habitat inventory. Foresters and managers of timber companies have expressed the high commitment for that book. This book can be useful for development sustainable forest use.
New Regulations & Agreements • New regulation adopted that includes environmental safeguards (regulation on Murmansk Regional Red Data Book with list of species) • Agreement reached with biggest buyer of Kola wood Stora Enso and its regional partner Ogni Kairal company (on sustainable forestry and biodiversity protection goals) • Concluding the Cooperation agreement with Murmansk Natural Resources Committee • Prepared and been under consideration of the Murmansk regional government the Natural Protection Area System Conception for the Murmansk regionuntil 2020
Example Agreement concerningsustainable forestry and biodiversity protection with timber trade company Conclusion of agreements between NGO and timber companies for sustainable forestry and biodiversity conservation has become the effective form of collaboration. At this moment the same agreement are concluded with all big timber companies of the Murmansk region and the largest buyer of the timber the Stora Enso company. As usual the agreements mean the forbidden loggings on intact forests and habitats of the rare species. On the other area the timber company engage to implement some added restriction of forestry. Conclusion and implementation of these agreements has permitted for timber companies to raise their image for the Western buyers.
Capacity building • 1 On-site training on financial and organizational management (Apatity & Novosibirsk) • 1 Joint field expedition and exchange on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (first half of second on-site training) • 1 New e-mailed bulletin (‘Kola Wild News’) • 1 New notebook, printer, photo equipment • 1 New vehicle (micro-bus), computer, copy machine, digital camera, photo equipment, GPS equipment • Number staff members and volunteers increased (KBCC: from previously 5 to currently 8 staff, SEC: from 4 to 9 staff) • 3 Successful funding applications submitted
Example Exchanging Experience of Ethno-Ecological Studies: New Vision from the Past • Kola BCC shared its experience in ethno-ecological • studies of indigenous people with Sibecocenter • activists during three weeks expedition and • by two seminars. • Main impact to: • vision of Sibecocenter’ members to work with local • communities • studies of Kumandinian and Tubalar traditional • knowledge • connections among environmental movement and • indigenous people • Why it worked? • enthusiasm and scientific background of participants • friendly relations between nations leaders and • participants • Sibecocenter’ vehicle support
Example Bolshoe Chernoe People and Siberian Pine Forests: New Role of regional NGO • Aborigines of Bolshoe Chernoe village has been involved in decision making process of new Nature Monument establishment. Key role have played a collaboration among a teacher of local school Sergey Kosmovsky and Siberian Ecocenter workers. • Main impact to: • knowledge people about local nature heritage • public involvement in forest-use and conservation issues on local level • Bolotninskii leskhos practice and management • Why it worked? • close contacts with involved persons (meetings) • new rare species and ecosystem data become available by Sibecocenter’s experts) • cumulative effect of the project (position of Bolontninskii leskhos has been changed after illegal logging campaign in Bolotnoe District)
Problems during Project Implementation • A. Problems reported by the project partners: • No sufficient level of public awareness about conditions of and threats to regional old growth forests • Poor environmental activism on the local and grassroots level resulting in difficulties in recruiting Forest Watch team members • Lack of interest among the local and regional media in the issues as well as inexperience of partners in media work • New tax rules causing difficulties with financial planning • Lack of sources of funding for grassroots environmental work in Russia • Unstable legal and political situation in Russia • B. Additional problems identified by TRN: • Change of TRN project staff (at the beginning of project) • Transfer of project responsibility from the Brussels to the Moscow EC delegation in the middle of the project • Lack of established reporting procedures in partner organizations • Limited experience in strategic planning and organizational and financial management in partner organizations • Initial communication problems between project partners (due to language barriers and cultural differences)
Conclusion • For TRN the project has served to intensify and improve work relations and contacts with Russian organizations (project partners as well as other groups and beneficiaries), to attract additional funding (matching funds) for the project activities and to gain more expertise in work with Russian projects and Russian partners as well as with EU-funding. • As for the Kola BCC and the Sibecocenter, their managerial and technical capacities have already been greatly reinforced through the carried out project activities with the following impacts: • improved financial and organizational management (via on-site trainings) • better fundraising, strategic planning (via on-site trainings and joint fundraising for matching funds) • improved media work (by setting up a media strategy) • more long-term contacts and better cooperation (with project partners, Russian NGOs, international NGOs, Russian authorities, private sector) • increased participation in public decision-making processes (respected partners for official and private actors, e.g. invitation to participate in the official version of the Murmansk Red Data Book) • improved technical capacities (vehicle for field inventories, computers and up-graded software, video and photo equipment, etc.) • new staff hired, additional volunteers attracted, more people/individuals and groups involved in their conservation work • The project implementation has so far shown that promoting public participation in Russian forest management, policies and decision-making processes is not an easy task, but an important and worthwhile step towards a more democratic society with sustainable environmental standards for the benefit of all.