Russia’s Far East occupies one-third of the country’s territory and accounts for more than nine percent of the world’s forests. Forestry there thus plays a crucial role, locally and further afield, supplying livelihoods for millions of people and a valuable habitat for flora and fauna, including the endangered Amur tiger.
Poor rural and forestry infrastructure, large scale illegal log exports and an unstable business environment make it difficult for companies to operate and remain competitive in the region. And without a qualified workforce, it is difficult to implement new and sustainable technologies in the sector.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have been working together to promote viable forestry investment in Russia’s Far East based on the sustainable use of forest resources.
The forest sector study of the Russian Far East is an EBRD initiative and follows a forest policy process in the Western part of the Russian Federation. EBRD has long experience in valuation and financing of projects in forest-product sector, and FAO has extensive expertise in sustainable management of forests and in enhancing forest policy.
The joint detailed plan for attracting value added investments in a sustainable forest sector has been laid out in an Investment Roadmap, developed with the help of local and international experts, NGOs, academia, the private sector and government.
The path to sustainable forestry in Russia's Far East
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are working together to promote viable forestry investment in Russia's Far East based on sustainable use of forest resources.
Through investment in education for a qualified workforce; development of infrastructure; use of modern harvesting and wood-processing technologies; and improvement of legal frameworks, this important natural resource can be sustainably managed.
“We can see the future for forestry resources and their strategic location with respect to countries of the Asia-Pacific market,” Alexander Filkine, the EBRD’s Head of the Russian Far Eastern Federal District. “The potential for developing forestry in the Far East is obvious.”
The Roadmap’s purpose is to propose strategic plan on improvement of policies for attracting investment in sustainable forest industries in the Russian Far East, and discuss it within the framework of policy dialogue with the Russian government. Together, FAO and EBRD are committed to promoting sustainable economic development in the sector while keeping a balance between the needs of the commercial forestry, local communities and the conservation of rich biodiversity.
“We need to start managing forests better or else we could lose them as an industry forever," Professor Vladimir Usov of the Primorskaya Academy of Agriculture said in a new FAO/EBRD video. “That’s something we cannot allow to happen. We have to save them.”