ЛЕСНАЯ ПОЛИТИКА РОССИЙСКОЙ ФЕДЕРАЦИИ

ОБСУЖДЕНИЕ ПРОЕКТА ДОКУМЕНТА


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При содействии Всемирного банка сделан неофициальный перевод ЛЕСНОЙ ПОЛИТИКИ РФ на английский язык. Текст его приводится ниже:


Unofficial translation
DRAFT


RUSSIA’S FOREST POLICY

Preamble

Russia is a major forest nation. It possesses one fourth of the global forest cover, and the forests occupy almost half of its area. Forests act as an ecological shield, safeguarding the environmental security for the country and the entire planet. Russian forests provide most important protective services, they perform such functions as water conservation and climate regulation, play a key role in biodiversity conservation and maintenance of other biosphere functions.

The forests are a source of such indispensable environmental public goods as clean air, clean water, biological diversity and habitats of numerous living things. The forests harbour immense natural diversity which is accounted for by climatic, soil and other geographical specifics as well as social and economic variations among the country’s regions.

Russian forests are key to support a favourable environment for human health, social, economic and cultural development. Forests are of paramount importance for livelihoods of local and indigenous communities in Russia. They are a special cultural, social and economic value.

Today, Russian forests are a common treasure of all people living in the country, its strategic renewable resource; and the country’s welfare and wellbeing of its residents depend on the efficiency of its use.

The three hundred years of most interesting forestry development in Russia yielded abundant experience in forest governance under different forest ownership patterns and different social and economic relations. Over many decades, the forest sector has been catering for needs of people in Russia, supplying forest products, and contributing to the economic growth and the country’s prestige in the world.

In the recent time, the world and challenges facing the forest sector become increasingly complicated. Forest management standards have been raised to the level of up-to-date social, environmental and economic standards. Threats of forest damage from fire, pests and other adverse factors are growing. Illegal forest use control requires special attention. Coupled with potential climate change, it may lead to a substantial transformation of Russian forests, and impair their social and environmental capacity. The forest sector is increasingly challenged to become adequately responsive to changing environmental requirements, market globalisation, enhanced competition among products and technologies. To make innovative and investment activities in the forest sector sufficiently vibrant, it is necessary to optimise the mix of wood and paper outputs and exports.

Challenges faced by the forest sector make it create new opportunities to answer them. The global environmental values, enormous economic and social capacity of Russian forests vest the Russian Federation with the commitment to have a long-term forest policy which would be pursued by the government, comprehended and accepted by both forest stakeholders and all citizens of the country, and define principles and key ways of the Russian forest sector development in the 21st century.


Forest policy goals and principles of its making

The government exercises its sovereign and unalienable right to utilise forests and manage them to meet its needs in compliance with the forest policy, consistent with sustainable development goals.

The forest policy defines principles and areas of action adopted by public authorities in accordance with the country’s social, economic and environmental policies, to govern decision-making on forest management, use and conservation for the benefit of society.

The forest policy of the Russian Federation is based on unconditional recognition of the Constitution of the Russian Federation with due regard to commonly recognised principles and rules of international law. The forest policy acknowledges the right of peoples living in Russia to utilise natural resources as a basis for their livelihoods, the right to a favourable environment and conditions needed for adequate life and free development of humans.

The forest policy provides a basis for developing and improving the forest and related legislation, forest management regulatory and legal frameworks, strategies, programs and plans and ensures their coordination and focus on achieving common goals.

The forest policy is aimed at ensuring sustainable management of all forests in the country and striking a balance of various forest stakeholders’ interests. The forest policy is called to ‘pool’ and pursue societal interests to arrive at cost-efficient, environmentally friendly and socially responsible utilisation of forest resources for the benefit of our and future generations of people living in Russia.

The key forest policy goals are:

* To ensure sustainable forest management, maintain and enhance resource and environmental capacity of the forests;

* To increase forest contribution into the country’s social and economic development, safeguard the environmental security, meet the needs of the economy in forest resources, preserve the existing and create new good jobs;

* To meet the needs of our and future generations of people living in Russia in forest resources and services;

* To take leadership in international processes called to ensure forest conservation and replenishment, and in international markets of wood and paper products.

Through an open dialogue of all stakeholders, the government is developing a single forest policy, i.e. a policy applicable to all forests and forest stakeholders throughout Russia. The government will provide for opportunities to develop and adapt provisions of the forest policy to social, economic and environmental specifics of different Russian regions, taking into account changing internal and external factors.


Forest ownership

Forests growing on the forest estate land, land of defence and security, land of protected areas, land of the water resources, and reserve land are federally owned.

In view of most important social and environmental (habitat) services provided by forests, the government will not permit to withdraw forest land from forest use in densely-populated areas, around big cities as well as in high conservation and/or social value forests (protection forests).


Forest management

Sustainable forest management guarantees that forests will prevent adverse climatic changes, act as a powerful renewable wood supplier for the country’s wood-based industries and provide opportunities for potentially highly productive labour and production of competitive products.

The government will ensure sustainable forest management to make forest utilisation, protection and renewal contribute into balanced development of the economy, healthier environment, and sound, continuous and non-depleting forest use.

The government will create conditions to enable its citizens and civil society groups to participate in forest management. This will ensure not only conservation and restoration of economic, environmental, social and cultural capacity of forests, but also development of all forms of entrepreneurship and employment for local communities.

Forests will be managed by respective public authorities with involvement of and monitoring by individuals and civil society organisations. The stakeholder dialogue will serve as a basis to provide economic incentives to efficient and effective forest management and socially responsible forest utilisation, forestry intensification, conservation and restoration of social and environmental capacity of forests and biodiversity conservation.

Forest management will contribute to the development of production of goods and provision of services based on cost-effective, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible forest utilisation. The government, businessmen and individuals acting as forest users will be accountable for the status of the country’s forests before our and future generations.

Forest governance will be built on an optimal division of powers among public authorities of all levels and local self-governance bodies. Public authorities will be vested with sufficient powers to govern forest stakeholder relations to assure observance of people’s constitutional rights. Basing on such optimised division of powers, forest governance will ensure compliance with the forest legislation and required quality of forest management operations throughout the area of forests, taking into account their designation and the functions they perform, as well as effective responses to forest emergencies.

Actions of regional authorities and local self-governance bodies to govern forest stakeholder relations will be supervised by federal authorities. Forest management quality control will be based on applicable criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management.

The structure of management bodies will ensure comprehensive execution of the powers and functions with due regard to the environmental, social and economic conditions in each region.

For purposes of forest use, fire and pest control and forest renewal, the main territorial unit of management will be a forest district (forest park) with adequate human resources, equipment and infrastructure. Within the assigned area, the forester will represent the government and act as the chief executive official in charge of forest management. The forester will cause the forests to be protected, renewed and utilised; and due forest oversight and fire oversight to be in place and also provide for communication with other authorities, organisations and the public.


Forest utilisation

In future, the use of forest resources should be aimed at conserving and enhancing the social and environmental significance of forests while meeting society’s needs in forest resources.

Forests will be used to meet society’s needs in forest resources and other forest benefits with due regard to the designation of the forests. The division of forests into protection forests, production

forests and reserve forests will be preserved and refined. Reserve forests will be regarded as an earnest of climate stability, biodiversity conservation and provision of other environmental services. At the same time, they are a source of economic forest benefits for future generations. As for production forests, it is necessary to seek to maximise the reliance on natural growth of timber while maintaining their natural regeneration capacity. In protection forests, sustainable stands will be formed to provide environmental services, including habitats, water conservation, protective, sanitary and hygienic, recreational and other valuable functions to respect the rights of people to a favourable environment.

The use of earlier developed production forests will be subject, in most cases, to intensive forest management and efforts to maximise forest outputs per area unit while conserving other key functions of the forests. But at the same time, it will be required to ensure biodiversity conservation and conservation of high social, cultural, historical or religious value forests.

It is necessary to promote proper development of non-timber forest uses, i.e. multiple forest use. The government will be supportive of the development of forest ecotourism, and wider use of non-timber forest products. Enabling conditions will be created to preserve and develop forest- and wood-related culture with a view to reviving and promoting folk crafts.

In publicly-owned forests, forest tenure will be primarily based on lease of forest parcels which is a public-private partnership in forest development. It is intended to improve both legal arrangements and practical mechanisms to raise the cost effectiveness of forest lease and accountability of lessees for the development of their forest parcels. The forest lease system will be improved, and loopholes for corrupt behaviours will be reduced. Adequate competition will be ensured in the process of making forest parcels available on the lease basis.

It is necessary to properly safeguard people’s rights to use forests and forest resources. Forest use will be organised not only with a focus on the development of major wood-processing clusters, but also with a view to creating adequate conditions for the development of small and medium forest business and farming.

The best of available technologies and equipment will be applied for forest utilisation purposes to ensure preservation of environmental functions of forests and biodiversity conservation. In regions and forest stands where it is appropriate from silvicultural perspectives and conductive to forest management intensification, timber harvests from selective cutting will be gradually increased.

Proactive measures will be taken to develop an adequate road network in the country. The government will support stakeholder actions to construct new and improve the existing forest roads.


Forest protection and renewal

All forests will be covered with protection against fire, illegal logging, technogenic pollution and other harmful impact as well as against pests, diseases and other factors impairing the quality and resistance of forests.

The government will guarantee a needed level of forest protection against illegal logging and other forest offences through improving forest oversight and fire oversight at all levels of forest management. It is intended to improve respective provisions in the forest and related laws and also improve their enforcement through oversight activities, subsequent proceedings and delivery and implementation of judgements. New information technologies and remote sensing methods will be employed for oversight purposes. Special attention will be paid to forest offence prevention. Careful and sparing attitude to forests and intolerance to forest offences will be fostered in people

with a focus on younger generations, and such efforts will be taken with active support from civil society organisations.

It is necessary to further develop the integrated system of forest fire management for all forests in the Russian Federation and all levels of forest management. It is intended to improve fire prevention and fighting through nation-wide introduction of forest fire preparedness and management planning systems and effective ground-based and aerial fire control. It is also intended to improve the monitoring of forest fire danger and forest fires through using up-to-date equipment to receive remote sensing data and innovative information technologies. New technologies and equipment will be designed and introduced for forest fire prevention, detection and suppression. These steps will be complemented with regular and purposeful efforts with active involvement of civil society organisations and associations to raise public awareness in local communities.

As regards forest pest management, it is necessary to maintain an optimal forest health status and ensure their sanitary safety. The government will improve detection and diagnosis of forest pest factors, reliability of forest pest forecasts and also planning and implementation of pest management activities at different management levels. The government will improve integrated pest management, support the development and introduction of the most advanced methods and technologies for forest health monitoring, and pest outbreak suppression and eradication, using pest control agents of the new generation.

A continuous process of forest renewal will be ensured with due regard to the forest site potential and natural dynamics of forest ecosystem. Region-specific reforestation will rely as much as possible on the natural regeneration ability of Russian forests. Artificial reforestation should be employ high-quality planting stock and seeds, supplied from registered sources and matching respective requirements of forest seed zoning.

Reforestation and silvicultural treatments should be aimed at preventing any deterioration and improving the quality, species composition, yield and restoring the designation of forests and their environmental functions, taking into account regional environmental and economic specifics.

The government will improve the system reforestation and seek to keep the optimal proportions of the forest area and areas of land of other categories in each Russian region, and to increase forest areas in forest-scarce regions. The areas of forest plantations will be maintained at appropriate levels. Forest renewal operations will rely on conservation-oriented technologies, adapted to natural processes as much as possible.

The government will provide incentives for afforestation on abandoned degraded land and on agricultural land which is in need of shelterbelt establishment for purposes of improving the quality and comfort of life.


Economic mechanisms of forest management and development of the forest sector

The country’s forest resource utilisation policies should help to raise the economic performance of forest logging and wood-processing to the level of international standards. The forest sector will increase its contribution into the social and economic development of Russian regions and provide additional employment opportunities in forest-rich regions, especially, in one-enterprise and one-sector settlements.

Forest use will be effected for pay based on charges for forest resources and unconditional observance of the obligations to make such payments timely and in full. Charges for forest resources will be based on differentiated market pricing of forest resources and services, taking

into account the status of the forests, their environmental and social value and economic and technical accessibility.

Economic valuation mechanisms will be designed and implemented to price such non-financial services, derived from forest use, as environmental (habitat) services, climate regulation, soil-protection, recreational services, biodiversity conservation, carbon storage and other services.

It is necessary to seek to satisfy the domestic market demands for high-quality and competitive wood and paper products manufactured in Russia. There is a need to reduce the import dependence of the domestic market of wood and paper products by way of establishing new timber industry capacities. The structure of forest exports should be optimised through significantly reducing the exports of unprocessed wood.

Governmental control measures to regulate the wood market will be developed and taken as part of the antidumping policy, and the government will also provide incentives for the consumption of finished forest products of downstream processing and consumer goods, including public procurement. Special efforts will be made to promote the “green” economy, raise the level of utilisation of all harvested biomass, and facilitate the establishment of downstream mechanical, chemical and electric processing of such biomass.

Needed public support will be provided to develop production of environmentally-clean forest products, introduce technologies for production of competitive high-quality environmentally-clean natural products for domestic and foreign markets.

The government should provide economic incentives to accelerate technological upgrading of forest industry production lines which heavily rely on manual labour, have low productivity and high energy inputs. It will help to bridge the technology gap between a significant part of wood-processing capacities in Russia and the international level of development.

To make the forest sector more attractive for investors, the government will continue to support investment projects in the area of forest development, improve access to financial resources, develop mechanisms to provide subventions and subsidies to the regions and investors for implementing projects aimed at expanding the domestic market of forest products and building up timber export capacity of the forest sector.

Public-private partnership tools will be more widely used for purposes of forest development, particularly, for the development of forest infrastructure (forest roads) at the expense of the federal budget, regional and local budgets and lessees of forest parcels.


Forests and environmental challenges

Forest management will ensure preservation of environmental capacity of the forests, their adaptation to climatic changes which will enhance the role forests in combating desertification, land degradation, river water content reduction and water quality deterioration as well as in mitigating possible climate change.

Forest utilisation, protection and renewal operations and forest administration actions should not cause environmental damage and violate legitimate rights of people, including the right to a favourable environment.

Planning and implementation of economic activities in forests will be based on an ecosystem approach in order to protect endangered species and ecosystems, high conservation value forests, including old-growth (intact) forests, key habitats, special protection forest parcels, mountainous

forests and permafrost forests, as well as other vulnerable ecosystems and their elements. Forest logging operations should include measures to conserve biodiversity and prevent forest fragmentation.


Forest research and education

Forest research plays an important role in the acquisition of new knowledge about the nature of forest ecosystems to provide an evidence basis for forest management. Forest research results will underlie the development of environmentally friendly and economically viable techniques and technologies for quantitative and qualitative assessments of forests, and evaluation of their utilisation, protection and renewal.

The government will support the development of fundamental studies and applied research and development. The government will provide incentives for forest product manufacturers to participate in funding of research activities and introduce innovative R&D outputs.

An enabling environment will be created to raise the profile of forest research and attract young people to get engaged in forest studies. It is necessary to modernise forest research institutions, create conditions for bridging the existing technological and technical gap between Russian forest research and international leaders in forest science, and to cause innovation products to be introduced in the forest sector.

Public support will be provided to develop innovation and technology centres and enterprises capable to ‘pool’ financial, physical and intellectual resources to raise their products to the level of international standards and to achieve performance targets matching international best practices. Research and innovation activities and introduction of their outputs will help Russia to position its forest sector as a top performer at the global level.

Models of integration between forest research and education will be implemented through setting up joint research laboratories and centres, academic forest clusters, research projects of young scientists and teams. Training, professional development and retraining should be improved to reach the level required for innovative development of the forest sector.


Forests and society

Forest will be utilised and protected as a foundation for life and activities of peoples living within respective areas.

The government will guarantee free public access to forests which are in public ownership as well as the right to harvest nutritive and non-timber forest resources for subsistence needs. Comfortable conditions will be created for forest visits, recreation and leisure. The government will support operations to develop recreation infrastructure in forest areas and facilitate the development of the forest recreation and forest tourism (ecotourism) market.

To create a favourable environment for urban dwellers, respective measures will be taken to preserve and expand the area of forests surrounding big cities. The government will streamline access to wood and non-wood forest resources for rural communities and provide incentives for the emergence of additional sources of income in the forest sector for local and indigenous communities and for the development of forest farming. Development planning will take into account interests of indigenous peoples living in the forests and fully dependant on these forests in terms of their livelihoods.

The government will provide for broad-based participation of all stakeholders in the development and enforcement of laws governing actions and relations of forest stakeholders. Effective mechanisms will be used to sustain a continuous multi-stakeholder dialogue based on up-to-date and true information about stakeholder activities and forests. The dialogue could broadly draw from arrangements based on partner involvement of forest authorities, businessmen and civil society organisations, among other things, to foster careful and sparing attitude to forests, and develop environmental education of children and youth.


Russia’s role in the international forest policy

The Russian Federation deems international processes on forests to be vitally important both for stabilisation of the global economy and balance of the Earth biosphere.

The Russian Federation supports and promotes processes to develop and implement key criteria of forest conservation and sustainable management in the boreal and temperate zones.

The Russian Federation is an active supporter of efforts to achieve key strategic goals of forest conservation under the UN processes.

Without entering into irreversible contradictions with other countries, the Russian Federation will develop its foreign forest policy for the benefit of its own citizens. It will cause the presence of Russian business to be expanded in the new international market where new environmental and social priorities will be no less important than traditional market values and factors.

As regards foreign economic affairs in the forest sector, the government will support efforts of domestic suppliers of forest products and services to build up timber export capacity of the country. The foreign economic policy will be conductive to strengthening the positions of Russian suppliers in traditional markets of wood and paper products and acquiring access to new markets. Russia will seek to gain the position of a leader in the global forest sector.


Forest policy implementation arrangements

To implement the forest policy, forests will be managed at the federal, regional and municipal levels with involvement of individuals and civil society organisations.

Managerial decision-making on the implementation of the forest policy will be based on respective laws and regulations governing forest stakeholder relations, adopted strategies and programs, forest planning documents as well as data from forest monitoring, national forest inventory and forest management planning, national forest register, forest oversight and fire oversight data.

The forest policy will be evaluated on the basis of targets for indicators as specified in strategic planning documents, forest planning documents and results of monitoring the execution of delegated powers to govern forest stakeholder relations by Russian regions. The forest policy evaluation arrangements will include professional and public (open) hearings and reviews with involvement of all stakeholder groups and broad layers of civil society.


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