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THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF KRASNODAR REGION AGREED TO WORK OUT THE LAW ON LOGGING FOR OWN CONSUMPTION BY CITIZENS

20 november 2020
The Legislative Session of Krasnodar region heard out and supported the initiative of WWF and the Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization “The Civic Initiative Against Environmental Crime” (CIAEC) on the need to improve the regional law regulating timber harvesting for citizens' own needs

In November, WWF-Russia appealed to the Legislative Session of Krasnodar region with a request to consider the proposed amendments to the regional law on “Procedure and standards for harvesting timber by citizens for their own consumption". These proposals were developed by WWF-Russia's partners - ANCO "CIAEC", and supplemented by WWF's specialists. 3 days later, WWF received an invitation from the Legislative Session to participate in a video conference to discuss these proposals.

The dialogue between the authorities and environmentalists took place after employees of the ANCO "The Civic Initiative", within the framework of the "People for Nature" project, conducted a survey of forest areas in Krasnodar region and identified commercial logging carried out under purchase and sale agreements for the citizens' own needs.

There are similar cases in other subjects. For example, a similar incident occurred recently in Karachay-Cherkess Republic, when WWF disclosed data on illegal logging in the Republic for 4 years. Thousands of cubic meters of trees in protected areas of the forest were under the axe, passing through the papers as "harvesting timber for the citizens' consumption". The region is not required by law to disclose purchase and sale agreements under this article. This is the basis for the corruption scheme involving state authorities and entrepreneurs.

"The problem of this type of logging is that according the Forestry Code of the Russian Federation, the organization of the procedure for concluding contracts for own needs is given to the region command, while other types of logging are regulated by federal standards, and therefore more transparent. Timber sold under purchase and sale agreements for citizens’ consumption are extremely cheap, hence the desire of loggers to use this mechanism appears," - explains Elena Cherkasova, Senior Forest Officer of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia.

Regions rarely rely on forest planning in their laws and often do not adhere to the principles of information publicity. For example, the coordinates of such cuttings are completely hidden from the public and the volume of harvesting is not disclosed.

This is exactly what the WWF and partners’ suggestions (in Appendix) touched on. WWF-Russia believes that in many areas of the region where there is no gas, logging firewood for their own needs is an objective necessity. However, to carry out such work, it is necessary to plan correctly, taking into account the real state of forest reserves and open information, which will allow the public to monitor logging activities.

The suggestions of all the participants were heard out and possible implementation of proposed changes were discussed during the videoconference, under the leadership of Andrey Buldin, the Chairman of the Natural Resources and Environmental Safety Committee, but also with the participation of Sergey Eremin, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Krasnodar region and the representatives of administration of Mostovskoy district. Mr. Buldin promised that all the proposed changes will be worked out by the Natural Resources and Environmental Safety Committee and then discussed again with the public.

WWF thanks the Legislative Session of Krasnodar region for its prompt response and readiness to discuss forest conservation issues.

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