European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) East Countries Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) II Program organized a workshop for media representatives in Ismailli district on 11-14 July of 2016. The main objective of the event was to show FLEG II Program activities, stress the critical role of media in conservation of forests as well to inform journalists on the main aspects of the Azerbaijan forest fund and policy, to highlight current challenges of forest management.
ENPI FLEG II Program National Coordinator from WWF Azerbaijan, Konul Ahmadova made an introductory speech at the opening event and highlighted the importance of conducting the ecological trainings for journalists. Shamil Huseynov, the Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Project and Sadig Salmanov, the Head of Sector under the Forest Development Department of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources made presentations about “The Main Aspects of the National Legislation on the Environment and Use of Natural Resources” and “The Azerbaijan National Forest Fund and Forest Management” respectively. Later Azer Garayev, The Coordinator of the FLEG II Program from IUCN and Fuad Bagirov from the World Bank, Lala Dadashova Director of Azerbaijan Green Building Council and Representative of Ecological Education and Practice Center under the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan delivered presentations evoking the interest of journalists.
Costel Bucur, Head of Forestry and Protected Areas Program at WWF Danube Carpathian program office and FLEG II Program Manager from WWF, shared his experience from Romania about the role of media in prevention of illegal logging and involvement of public in forest conservation activities through media: "In order to protect virgin forests of Romania; negotiation, campaigning and change in the law were needed. In spite of the fact that the negotiation failed because of endless delays, TV spots launched at the prime-time TV show and the highest level of campaigning with over 113 000 signature on the petition changed the situation and the law was modified successfully."
The presentation about ecological journalism, proper use of ecological terms, writing ecological articles, ecological NGO-s and institutions as an alternative source of information, followed with discussions and interactive tasks were delivered by Elchin Sardarov, representative of “Green Pen” education network of teachers and journalists, trainer.
On the following day a field trip was organized. Journalists visited the nursery and the reforested territory of 300 ha of Ismailli Forest Department by WWF Azerbaijan some few years ago, and got information about forest management activities.
Gulgiz Suleymanova, Journalist from Qafqaz Information Agency stated later: “In order local people living nearby a forest to know the true value of what surrounds them it is very important to work with them, to do awareness raising, to teach pupils and students, who are continuators of our common work- conservation of forests. Sure, a great responsibility lies on us - the media representatives, because namely we are this "connecting bridge" between the public and government agencies, NGOs, scientists and other experts in this field.”
During the trip media contest for participants about the activities of and the role of FLEG II Program in forest management activities was announced. Selection and award of three nominations – the best article, the best photo-video shooting and the best video plot will be announced in September, 2016.