The Steering Committee of the ADA-supported “ENPI East Countries FLEG II Program – Complementary Measures for Georgia and Armenia” held its second meeting in Yerevan, Armenia on October 20, 2015. The meeting provided guidance on the strategic direction of the Program, as well as reviewed and approved country work plans for the year 2016.
The “ENPI East Countries FLEG II Program – Complementary Measures for Georgia and Armenia” is supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), and is implemented in Armenia and Georgia, two countries of the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).
The 2015 Steering Committee Meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Nikoloz Grdzelidze, from ADA, National Program Officer at the office for South Caucasus, and Mr. Tuukka Castrén, Senior Forestry Specialist from the World Bank.
“Austrian Development Cooperation concentrates on promoting the agriculture and forestry sectors in Georgia and Armenia to fulfill its central objectives in developing and transforming countries to address such important issues as poverty reduction, ensuring peace and human security and the preservation of the environment”, said Mr. Grdzelidze in his opening speech.
At the beginning of the meeting the participants discussed the proposals and recommendations put forward during the ENPI FLEG II Program Steering Committee meeting, held in September 2015 in Chisinau, Moldova. Moreover, the conclusions of the Program’s mid-term review were examined.
The meeting continued with presentations of FLEG National Focal Points (government-appointed leaders of each country’s National Program Advisory Committees), providing an update and progress made in both Armenia and Georgia and highlighting planned activities for Year Two. In their speeches, both FLEG National Focal Points Mr. Martun Matevosyan, Director of SNCO Hayantar (Armenia) and Mr. Tornike Gvazava, Head of the National Forestry Agency of Georgia, highlighted the key role played by FLEG II in the forest sectors of their respective nations. “Improving forest law and policy is a major priority for our agency and we highly appreciate the great support that FLEG II provides”, said Mr. Gvazava.
The meeting discussed and approved – with some modifications – the country work plans for Armenia and Georgia. The Program will continue supporting the development of forestry policy and legislation, establishment of sanctuaries as pilot for sustainable forest management and capacity building for relevant bodies in both countries.
When summarizing the goals of the Program, Mr. Castrén said that “the World Bank Group’s global objectives are centered on the eradication of extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable world. These ADA financed forest activities help us tremendously in advancing this agenda both in Armenia and Georgia.”
The ADA-financed “ENPI East Countries FLEG II Program – Complementary Measures for Georgia and Armenia” supports Georgia and Armenia in strengthening forest governance through improving implementation of relevant international processes, and enhancing their forest policy, legislation and institutional arrangements, and developing, testing and evaluating sustainable forest management models at the local level, on a pilot basis for future replication.
The Program complements the on-going ENPI East Countries FLEG II Program, funded by the European Commission, which includes, together with Armenia and Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia.
The implementation of the Program is led by the World Bank, working in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and in close coordination with governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders of the participating countries.