ENPI FLEG (European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument – Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Programme)

26 August 2011 | Project description

Forests cover a large part of Europe and North and Central Asia and fulfill multiple functions for society, providing economic, social and environmental benefits, including serving as a key reservoir of biodiversity. They protect our watersheds and conserve our soil. They also help combat climate change by absorbing and storing vast amounts of carbon, provide food, building materials and medicine, and are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity.
 

The ENPI FLEG Program has been developed in response to the growing problem of illegal forest activities in the participating countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and the Ukraine). These activities include illegal logging, timber theft and smuggling and lack of enforcement of forest regulations due to corruption which can result in loss of revenue for governments, the private sector and local people and degradation of forest ecosystems with loss of biodiversity and livelihoods.

The overall objective of the current project is to contribute to establishing legal and sustainable forest management and utilisation practices, strengthening the rule of law, and enhancing local livelihoods in the participating countries. The aim is to assist governments to meet their commitments towards the St. Petersburg Ministerial Declaration on FLEG in Europe and North and Central Asia.

FLEG is one of the few mechanisms that can and does link governments, businesses, academia, civil society and rural communities, and integrate synergies with other sectors to develop an environmental and socially-beneficial governance model for forests. The project activities cover development of national action plans, capacity building and training, awareness raising, assistance in enhancing regional and sub regional collaboration, and analysis and monitoring of illegal activities and government responses to such crime.

The impact of this work is much wider than just forest management. Protecting forests and their resources has positive impacts on, among others, ensuring livelihoods for local community, providing sustainable and renewable energy resources, and reducing carbon emissions from forest degradation.

An independent monitoring and evaluation mission retained by the European Commission has affirmed that the ENPI FLEG Program has made exceptional contributions to increased awareness for the need to prevent illegal logging which resulted in improved local livelihoods for communities.

The Program’s partners are the European Commission, the World Bank, IUCN and WWF.

Contact: Richard Aishton, ENPI FLEG Program Coordinator

 
ENPI FLEG in action

The Bezhanitski district in the Pskov region offers a typical portrait of Russia’s Northwest – agricultural and economically weak. However, this land is home to one of the largest wetlands and wildlife reserves in Europe and it has been designated as a pilot site for the ENPI FLEG Program. The law prohibits tree felling and forest resource extraction in the area which could then be used for ecotourism. “This is a specially protected area”, says Mikhail Yablokov, Director of the Polistovski Natural Reserve. Yablokov believes that the ENPI FLEG Program will contribute to eco-tourism initiatives and help create new jobs.


Did you know?

The World Bank estimates the global annual market losses from illegal cutting of forests at more than ten billion USD – more than eight times the total of Official Developmental Assistance (ODA) for sustainable forest management.