TheAll-Russia Congress of Foresters was held in Moscow from 25 to 27 February 2003.More than 5500 people from all regions of Russia represented wide range ofexpertise. Foresters, forest managers, scientists, fire protection and pestcontrol experts, representatives of education, business and NGOs haveparticipated, cooperating with State Duma representatives, Russian federalagencies, donor agencies, and other officials. International organizations suchas the World Bank, Global Fire Monitoring Center, IUCN, Greenpeace, WWF,USAID, SIDA, GEF have recognized the importance of the Congress, taking activepart in the discussions. The Congress hosted many guests from Ukraine, Belarus,Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Georgia,Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Slovak Republic, Bulgaria,Albania, Germany, Austria, Canada and the USA.
Aseries of significant events was held prior the Congress. The key ones could belisted as following: the presentation of the “Russian ForestNewspaper”, draft presentation of the new Forest Code of the RussianFederation, adoption of the “Concept of Forestry Development in the RussianFederation for 2003-2010″ by the Government of the Russian Federation andpresented January 18, 2003, Russian State Duma Public Hearings on”Environmental Issues of Forests in the Russian Federation” (February4, 2003). Many distinguished foresters were awarded with orders and medals ofthe Russian Federation on the recognition of their outstanding achievements inforest professions.
Duringthe first day of the Congress (February 25) the Ministry of Natural Resources ofRussia and the World Bank organized an International Workshop”Institutional Changes in Forest Management in the Countries withTransition Economies: Problems and Solutions”. Over 250 expertsparticipated, more than 20 presentations were made and a press conference washeld. Sensible and fruitful discussions were conducted on the ways, methods andopportunities for Russia to improve its performance in the forest sector ofeconomy.
Duringthe next day, nine roundtables on different forest issues were held forestlegislation, management and planning, fire fighting, pest control, forestrestoration, research and education, protected areas, and others. AlexeyBlagovidov was a Deputy Chair at the roundtable on pest control. VictorTeplyakov, as a Deputy Chair, facilitated roundtable “On Ecological Issuesof the Russian Forests” and made presentation on the “Experience ofNGOs in solving environmental problems of Russian forests”. In total, morethan 2500 people have participated in the roundtables. Each roundtable had about15 presentations that were followed by the discussions and due recommendationswere elaborated for to be included into the Congress Resolution.
OnFebruary 27, the final stage of the Forestry Congress was held in the KremlinPalace of Congresses in Moscow. More than 5500 foresters and guestsparticipated. The meeting was opened with welcoming speeches of the RussianGovernment, the State Duma, the World Bank and other prominent guests, includingrepresentative of the Russian Orthodox Churchs Patriarch. After greetings andaddresses, Mr. Vitaly Artyukhov, the Minister of Natural Resources of theRussian Federation made a speech to the Congress. Then, the facilitators of eachroundtable reported on the results and recommendations worked out duringroundtable discussions.
Afterthe official part, contest awards were presented and a concert was given to theCongress participants. The contest winners were awarded for their professionalexcellence a diploma accompanied with a car (the best forester), threeoff-road cars (the best forest management unit, fire fighting air wing, forestmanagement and planning enterprise), a personal computer set (the best forestrycollege), a laptop (the best teacher) and a video camera (the best forestrycollege student). During the concert, famous Russian singers, folk groups andhumorists delivered their best wishes presenting their talents, songs, anddances to the audience.
ByVictor Teplyakov, Ph.D., Forest Programme Manager IUCN Office for Russia and CIS 28 February 2003