Environmental law expert joins IUCN Tbilisi Office to support improving forest governance

16 May 2009 | News story

IUCN POSC is pleased to announce that Ekaterine Otarashvili has joined the Union’s South Caucasus team as a FLEG (Forest Law Enforcement and Governance) consultant.

Ekaterine is an environmental lawyer with experience in providing international consultancy service in environmental legislation and natural resources policy, conducting assessments of national and international environmental legislation, and assisting governments of South Caucasus countries during the development of environmental strategies. She holds a LLM Degree in Environmental Law from Pace University, New York and has just returned to Georgia from USA, where she was working at the Center for Environmental Legal Studies.

Although formally reporting to the Project Coordinator in Brussels, Ekaterine will work closely with the IUCN South Caucasus team. She will be responsible for the overall coordination, management and implementation of IUCN’s Component of the project “Improving Forest Law Enforcement and Governance in the European Neighborhood Policy East Countries and Russia” in the three South Caucasus countries. Her arrival marks the start of full-scale project implementation.

The project aims to support country-level implementation of the policy commitments of the 2005 St. Petersburg FLEG Ministerial Declaration in the Europe and North Asia Region. It will promote the development of improved forest law enforcement and governance arrangements in seven targeted countries: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. The project’s core funding is provided through a grant agreement from the European Commission to the World Bank. The project is being undertaken as a partnership among the World Bank, IUCN and WWF.

Three broad categories of stakeholder groups will be targeted by the project: government (line departments, parliamentarians, local authorities and the judiciary); civil society (NGOs, community organizations and forest-dependent communities); and the private sector (particularly timber companies).

Building on the ENA FLEG Ministerial Declaration 2005 (St. Petersburg Declaration), the ENPI FLEG project will define the policy, legal, institutional and economic obstacles to improved forest governance (including the control of illegal logging); test pilot innovative approaches to overcoming these obstacles; enhance the capacity of key stakeholders to implement forest governance reforms; and disseminate the lessons learned at national, regional and global levels.