Russia will take the LBA negotiations seriously, implementing what was stated at the beginning of the process and keeping a close watch over Russian national interests.
Russia is shaping its national forest policy at the same time as a very important European forest policy development process is going on. During the 40 years since the UN Conference on the environment in Stockholm in 1972 none of the targets set by global forest summits have been reached. Finally a legally non-binding document was adopted in 2008 under the auspices of the UN Forum on Forests; however it is just a declaration. This issue is really complicated but in our opinion can be handled. Gradually by means of regional cooperation we may arrive at a solution to the issue of global forest management.
Russia supports the idea of developing a legally binding document
The first Intergovernmental negotiation committee (INC) meeting was held in Vienna in the end of February. Russia took an active part in the discussion of practically all issues, mainly the development of guidelines for the first draft. Active participation of international organisations in this process is helpful. It will give the negotiation process transparency, involve other states from other continents and give consideration of all stakeholder wishes. Russia is still concerned that pending problems may affect the implementation of one of the basic principles of any convention – consideration of all stakeholder interests – and finally its adoption and ultimately ratification by member states.
Right to make necessary amendments
In our opinion a legally binding document should not have economic constraints that restrict the sustainable development of the forest sector. Russia was uncertain about the success of this undertaking owing to the issue of the legitimacy of the main negotiation body – the Intergovernmental negotiation committee (INC) – which remained unresolved. It should be pointed out that it is impossible to draw a demarcation line between Europe and Asia in Russian boreal forests. So Russia addresses forest problems on a global scale. We believe that the UN provides an optimal forum for reaching a comprehensive solution to numerous issues in related areas.
A cross-sectoral working group
Some member states (including the Russian Federation, Norway and others) and the European Union reserved the right to make necessary amendments in document structure until INC2 session. A cross-sectoral working group of experts from all interested ministries, authorities and organisations has been set up in Russia to develop Russian national positions. These positions and issues will depend on decisions agreed on the basis of the road map for the INC.
For further reading, please find SIFI newsletter no 7 here.
Text: Sergey Rodin, Deputy Head, Forest Research Institute, the Russian Federation
Photo: Prof. Sergey Rodin makes his presentation at the seminar on the European forest policy process. Fredrik Ingemarson.