The Project Management has decided to issue a periodic bilingual newsletter informing all our partners and other stakeholders concerned with the project about its features and progress. The first issue will cover the projects overall and immediate objectives, its planned outputs and activities. Future newsletters will focus on progress and will therefore be smaller in volume. Contact addresses are given at the end. Feedback and responses by readers are welcome !
I. Project Background
The framework for a forest protection project was drawn up by the Federal Forest Service of Russia about three years ago.
It was submitted to the European Commission Directorate DG1a and in due course, after discussions with the Federal Forest Service, the proposed TACIS PROJECT ENVRUS9701 was approved and tenders were invited. The consortium consisting of HTS (UK), TAESCO (Germany), and HKS (Finland), submitted a proposal by June 1998. In November 1998, HTS was informed by the European Commission that its proposal had been successful and to proceed with the implementation of the project.
The project officially started in mid-November and has a planned duration of 24 months. It consists of two components, namely a management support and a technical assistance component.
II. Project Synopsis
The project synopsis summarises the projects as conceived by the Russian Federal Forest Service and the European Commission, and as specified in the consortiums contract with the European Commission.
1. Project beneficiary and partner
The Federal Forest Service of Russia is the beneficiary, and its Central Base for Aerial Forest Fire Protection (Avialesookhrana) is the project partner.
2. Project objectives
The overall goal is to support the establishment of management systems that will enable conservation aims to be achieved in the implementation of sustainable forest management objectives. Specifically, the project will aim to: (i) foster the development of sound and cost-effective fire and phyto-sanitary monitoring systems; (ii) improve information standards in support of monitoring and management objectives; (iii) support local management systems in making effective use of available information; and (iv) improve the response to forest fires, pests and diseases.
3. Planned outputs
Planned outputs in support of the objectives are: (i) a comprehensive forest protection system integrated with a sustainable forest management strategy; (ii) an operational fire and phyto-sanitary monitoring and information system in Pushkino that will assist forest protection and management at federal level; (iii) an operational fire and phyto-sanitary monitoring and information system in Irkutsk and Pushkino to address forest management/protection issues at regional level; and (iv) establish links between federal, regional and local stakeholders so as to enable them to improve their response to forest events.
4. Project activities
To achieve the envisaged outputs the project will provide: (i) management support including consultation on policy, legislative and regulatory, institutional and economic issues, so as to assist counterparts in the development of an integrated forest protection system; and (ii) technical assistance to develop a federal and regional monitoring capacity by improving monitoring and information systems, improving information products and their use, improving links between stakeholders and responding to their specific needs, and training of staff and users.
During December 1998 and January 1999 a number of familiarisation visits were made to Moscow, Irkutsk and St. Petersburg to get a realistic picture of the situation, meet Russian counterparts, potential local consultants, set up the initial infrastructure for the project and commence with the drawing up of a work plan as a basis for the inception report.
The inception report provides the basis for a projects implementation, its main elements being its overall work plan, time schedule and staffing plan. The inception report has to be approved by the European Commission in Brussels before a project can commence.
The tentative work programme and the distribution of tasks among European and local partners were presented to all counterpart organisations and local partners in a workshop held in Pushkino at February 8. The comments and suggestions of the Russian partners were then integrated into the work programme to form a common basis for the inception report and, consequently, the further implementation of the project.
In keeping with the European Commissions guidelines and procedures, HTS and its partners finalised the inception report in February 1999 and submitted it to Brussels by March 1999 in compliance with the official deadline. Formal approval for the project to proceed was given by the European Commission at the end of March upon which the first tranche of money to implement the project was transferred to HTS.
III. First Implementation Phase (March June 1999)
According to the guidelines of the European Commission, the project is divided into 4-monthly planning and reporting periods. In accordance with the approved work programme set out in the inception report, the activities in the first implementation phase were mainly focused on:
(A) Management Support Component:
identification of required equipment, preparation of tender documents and initiation of tender procedures;
specification and distribution of technical tasks among local partners including organisation of management regime and finalisation of contracts;
establishment of a management task force to steer the project and to discuss broader issues concerning forest protection in the Russian Federation;
expatriate and local consultants have started their baseline reviews of institutional issues concerning forest protection, e.g., international obligations and international projects, policy, legislation, institutional and organisational structures;
the consultants have started their assessment of the requirements for a forest fire management information system including reviews of the present forest fire response system at federal and regional level;
participating in and hosting of meetings to foster and improve donor co-ordination in the field of forest management, especially forest fire management, and liasing with concerned international initiatives;
hosting a workshop on fire ecology with expatriate and local ecologists to assess the national perception of the role of fires in ecosystems of the boreal forests;
(B) Technical Assistance Component:
adapting existing satellite data acquisition and pre-processing software on the basis of sample data emulating the new receiving station;
starting test of fire detection algorithms on the basis of existing NOAA data;
development and implementation of a federal and regional GIS, i.e. installation of GIS shell, development of baseline and operational data updating functions; and
assessment of communication lines and internet access options to develop a forest fire information network (completed in the Moscow region, ongoing in the Irkutsk region).
IV. Personnel and Contact Addresses
The project headquarters are located at Avialesookhranas Central Airbase in Pushkino.