Four years ago, the countries in the Caucasus and Central Asian region pledged to restore more than 3 million hectares of degraded forests by 2030 under the global Bonn Challenge. To support them in turning their pledges into reality, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) joined forces to strengthen the development of adequate policy frameworks in the region.
Despite ongoing conservation, afforestation, and reforestation efforts, additional work to address widespread forest degradation, and to accelerate forest landscape restoration work in the Caucasus and Central Asia is expected. One of the areas with high improvement potential is the use of integrated approaches to forest landscape restoration. “Identifying the root causes of degradation is a key tenet for identifying effective forest landscape restoration strategies”, said Ekrem Yazici, deputy chief of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section.
Effective forest landscape restoration requires a policy framework that joins the capacity and needs of all main stakeholders. To this end, on 23-24 June 2022, UNECE, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan and the support of FAO, organized a National Forest Policy Dialogue on “Validating a National Strategy Proposal for Forest Landscape Restoration in Kyrgyzstan” in Bishkek. During this participatory workshop, stakeholders from the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia and forest user associations reviewed plans for more effective and sustainable forest landscape restoration. One of the key conclusions was the need to improve forestry education, thereby, increasing the involvement by rural populations dependent on forests for their livelihoods and survival. “We expect that the National Strategy will strengthen our “Zhashyl Muras - Green Heritage” initiative, which aims to increase Kyrgyzstan’s forest area” said Baktybek Yrsaliev, Deputy Director of Forest Service of Kyrgyz Republic.
The National Strategy development and its accompanying workshop were organized under the project “Strengthening policy frameworks on forest landscape restoration in selected UNECE countries to achieve SDG 15”, funded by the government of Germany. As part of this project, UNECE also developed a set of National Policy Guiding Principles to provide a holistic framework for policy development at the national level, tailored to the Caucasus and Central Asia. This framework will be piloted in two countries – Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
For more information about the event: https://unece.org/info/Forests/events/367606
For more information about the “Zhashyl Muras - Green Heritage” initiative: http://planting.forest.gov.kg/
Link to the National Policy Guiding Principles publication: https://unece.org/forests/publications/policy-brief-national-policy-guiding-principles-forest-landscape-restoration