Kyiv - On July 15, 2021, FSC Ukraine held the second round table in the series of Forest Dialogues. The event was dedicated to the issue of legal regulation of illegal logging, trafficking of illegally harvested timber and low law enforcement. The absence of a single definition and different meanings of the term "illegal logging" leads to different interpretations, discrepancies in the statistics of agencies, deterioration of the image of the country's forest sector, growing distrust in society, etc. Legislative gaps in the regulation of forest products turnover create conditions for the functioning of the shadow timber turnover. The detected violations of the legislation on the prohibition of sanitary felling during the "silence season" have become evidence of the low level of law enforcement in the forestry sector. These and other issues were discussed at the second "Forest Dialogue".

The round table was attended by: Head of the State Agency of Forest Resources of Ukraine Yuriy Bolokhovets, Assistant to the Chairman of the Subcommittee of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Environmental Policy and Nature Management Yulia Ovchynnykova Natalia Bogdan, Head of the Department of State Ecological Supervision (Control) of Forests and Flora of the State Ecological Inspectorate of Ukraine Yuriy Katsagorov, State Expert of the NSDC of Ukraine Inessa Medvedenko, Project Manager of the German-Ukrainian Agricultural Policy Dialogue Volker Sasse, Head of the Department of NULES of Ukraine Andriy Bilous, Member of the Board of Directors of the

"Ensuring a multilateral, balanced and constructive dialogue will help to find common ground in solving acute forestry problems, which are manifested, in particular, by low law enforcement. I expect that joint developments will be useful for those responsible for political decisions. In particular, today the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is considering a draft law, which, although not fully, but largely meets the request to address the threats, opportunities and potential of afforestation and restoration of natural ecosystems in the context of land reform, which were considered at the first "Forest Dialogue"," - opened the discussion Pavlo Kravets, Director of FSC Ukraine.

Oleg Storchous, lawyer, specialist in forest law, outlined the problem of legal regulation of issues related to illegal logging and illegal timber trafficking, emphasizing the growing relevance of the issue: "The degree of assessment of illegal logging is absolutely subjective due to the lack of clear definition norms. Thus, according to official data, the volume of illegal logging in the past years was 0.1-0.8% of the volume of logging (ie from 24 to 118 thousand cubic meters), and according to unofficial data - from 2 to 20% (ie from 400 thousand to 3 million cubic meters)." The speaker outlined the urgent need for both the development of a draft law on the turnover of forest products and the application of the principles of legality and justice in the introduction of legal liability for forest violations.
"The results of an anonymous survey of employees of forestry enterprises and institutions of the nature reserve fund demonstrated a massive violation of the legislation regulating sanitary felling of forests. The suspension of work for 2.5 months creates a critical situation for many enterprises, primarily due to the spread of pests and diseases and lack of income (commercialization of these felling)", - said Roman Volosyanchuk, expert of the NGO "Ecosphere" - "Surprisingly, none of the surveyed forest users among the reasons for low law enforcement did not indicate miscalculations in the management system of the enterprise."
The roundtable participants concluded that the problematic issues raised indicate the inefficiency of the forestry model. Therefore, it is necessary to comprehensively reform the industry, namely, to change the legislative, institutional and economic foundations of its functioning. Proposals for priority actions were made, in particular, the formation of a code of conduct and ethical standards of the forester, change of the management system with the introduction of risk assessment and improvement of control systems, in particular, public. It is also necessary to simplify legislative norms, which should be aimed at achieving the desired result, but not at prohibitions and restrictions. Other components of the forestry industry also need to be improved, namely: changing approaches to financing forestry activities, increasing transparency and openness of enterprises, streamlining the timber market and logging services.

"Forest dialogues" are designed to provide a multilateral dialogue between all stakeholders on responsible and balanced forest management and conservation. Representatives of state authorities, scientists and leading forestry experts, non-governmental environmental organizations, as well as other key players in the forest sector are invited to participate in the round tables.

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