Pursuant to the agreements, reached at the G-8 Summit, Birmingham, 1998, the President of the Russian Federation issued a Special Decree on the implementation of the above agreements. In compliance with the aforesaid Decree, the Federal Forest Service of Russia has developed and the Russian Government has approved a plan of measures (proposals) to implement the G-8 Action Programme on Forests. Aware of the immense environmental value of the Russian forests, Russia confirms its commitment to implement Proposals for Action of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and takes part in the on-going dialogue on sustainable forest management under the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests. The text below presents the National Progress Report of Russia for the G-8 Action Programme on Forests.
II. Monitoring and Assessment
The Russian Federation
- participates in the international processes and in their framework it has developed a system of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management: the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (the Pan-European Process) and the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests (the Montreal Process);
- hosted the 10th Meeting of the Montreal Process Working Group in October 1998;
- signed the General Declaration and Resolutions of the Lisbon Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe in June 1998;
- approved the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Management of Forests in the Russian Federation in 1998. This is a federal document to provide an framework for a balanced approach to economic decision-making in the forest sector and forest development sustainability assessment in Russia;
- is working at regional and local adaptation of the criteria and indicators;
- is developing a national system of forest product certification, consistent with the Forest Code;
- has introduced (through its authorised Agency - the Federal Forest Service of Russia) new Guidelines for the State Forest Account to establish uniform procedures of state forest account in compliance with the Forest Code;
- conducted the planned state forest account in the form of a multi-factorial assessment of Russian forest resources, in 1998. The previous similar inventory of forest territories took place in 1993. It has analysed, generalised and reviewed forest account data as of January 1, 1998 and identified positive trends in the forest resource status in Russia;
- submitted data for the Temperate and Boreal Forest Resource Assessment - 2000 (ECE/FAO) in January 1998; would participate in the next stage data collection;
- has developed and commenced to apply GIS-based methods for annual forest inventories to strengthen both federal and regional monitoring of forest ecosystem sustainable development;
- has adjusted the methods to calculate the allowable cut (harvesting volumes), based on the principle of sustainable and multiple use of forests;
- adopted the Concept and the Programme of Forest Information Management in 1998 and started to implement it;
- is exchanging information and experience with partner-countries in designing new technologies and equipment, based on satellite information, remote sensing of forests and meant for rapid detection of forest fires, pest outbreaks and other disturbances;
- has made a decision (based on a respective Government Resolution) to establish a single national system of environmental monitoring, integrating a system of forest monitoring. This system is first implemented on forest territories, homing most valuable stands and stands, prone to negative impacts;
- has established a national network for forest pest monitoring and pest management.
III. National Forest Programmes
The Russian Federation
- adopted a Concept of Sustainable Forest Management in the Russian Federation, in June 1998 (at the IV All-Russia Congress of Foresters); this Concept relies upon the environmental, economic and social values of forests and is a part of the national sustainable development strategy;
- has been implementing a Federal Target Programme called "Forests of Russia" for 1997 - 2000; the Programme is aimed at reducing the area of non-forested forest lands, improving the health of forests and preserving their high yield as well as meeting forest-related international commitments. The Programme integrates components on: forest management planning and inventory, forest monitoring, reforestation and afforestation, thinning, pest management, forest drainage, road construction, governmental supervision over forest utilisation, and forest research;
- has been implementing a Federal Target Programme called "Forest Fire Management" for 1999 - 2000, including a set of activities to prevent and localise forest fire, to ensure timely incipient fire detection and suppression, and to develop and apply new technologies and equipment for forest fire detection and suppression;
- has been implementing a Federal Target Programme to support the national nature reserves (zapovedniks) and national parks for the period up to 2000, which would ultimate into a national network of strictly protected areas established;
- has been implementing a sub-programme called "Russian Forest" as part of the Federal Target Research Programme of Russia: "Research and Development in Priority Areas of Scientific and Technical Development up to 2000", which integrates and co-ordinates research organisations' activities to investigate forest ecosystems and to develop guidelines on sustainable forest management;
- is developing a Federal Programme of Timber Industry Restructuring up to 2005 to be aimed at creating a sound core of competitive timber enterprises on the basis of cost-recovery and sustainable development to ensure effective demand for forest products both in domestic and foreign markets;
- is developing co-operation in the framework of the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA) with boreal countries of the Northern Hemisphere to ensure boreal forest integrated research and sustainable development;
- participates in implementing the international model forest network development programme; is establishing its national network of model forests. In 1998 and 1999, Russia hosted 2 international workshops on model forests.
The Russian Federation
- is expanding the network of strictly protected areas of the federal significance, representing all natural zones in the Russian Federation. On the forest lands in Russia, there are territories and sites of the highest value from the environmental, scientific, historical, aesthetic and recreational standpoints which are declared forest reserves (zapovedniks) (98) and national parks (35), their total area is 24.7 million ha. The conservation regime for these areas requires monitoring of protected flora and fauna status;
- keeps on enlarging the share of Group 1 forests meant for water-conservation, sheltering, sanitation and human health improvement with no permission for final cutting;
- is conducting a compliance study of the national protected forest areas classification versus the existing international systems, in particular, with the IUCN Protected Area Management Categories as well as with akin classifications, adopted by the FAO and other organisations, to identify gaps;
- develops assessment criteria for allocation of forest protected areas to maintain biodiversity and environmental value of forests;
- supports the establishment of direct contacts and the development of co-operation between adjacent national parks, located in the Russian Federation and other neighbouring countries.
V. Private Sector
The Forest Code of the Russian Federation declares federal ownership of forest lands, which are managed by the Federal Forest Service of Russia. And the timber is harvested and processed practically entirely by privatised timber industry enterprises.
The Russian Federation
- sets up rules for the interaction between forest resource owner and users;
- develops forest legislation, regulations and legal acts to improve and promote lease arrangements, to raise forest revenues and decrease the dependence of forest management on the budget allocations, as well as to create an enabling environment for private forest users and investors;
- has entered the final stage of preparing the IBRD-financed Sustainable Forestry Pilot Project, aimed at a favourable investment environment in the forest sector;
- holds negotiations with the World Bank on implementing a Forest Sector Partial-Risk Guarantee Facility;
- is a permanent participant of the CEOs' and NGO Leaders' Ad Hoc Forum on Global Forests convened by the World Bank President and is responsible for its Working Group 3i: " Forest Sector in Russia: Barriers and Incentives to Responsible Forest Investments";
- is improving arrangements to involve the private sector and other social groups in participatory decision-making on basic aspects of forest use.
VI. Illegal Logging
The Russian Federation
- is improving the system of forest use and forest management planning and inventory to make more precise assessments of timber resource potential and its actual utilisation;
- ensures access to forest information for various social groups;
- is introducing forest resource certification procedures and eco-labelling to prevent illegal timber harvesting;
- provides for interaction between customs and export trade organisations to ensure the chain of custody for timber and paper products.
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Source: The Government of Japan