With its moves in support of sustainable forest management in the country, Uzbekistan this week is taking another step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Today through Aug. 10, more than 30 forestry experts from Uzbekistan, Turkey and the Russian Federation are meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to review a draft set of national criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.

National forest monitoring systems and assessments are designed to provide reliable information on how forests are managed and used, thus helping to improve national forest policy development, planning and sustainable management.

This was a priority noted by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during a 2017 address to the Oliy Majlis, Uzbekistan’s parliament. There, he pointed out a need to develop criteria for assessing the effectiveness of state bodies in Uzbekistan.

“Based on this message of the president, the State Committee of Forestry in Uzbekistan is developing this specific criteria and indicator set for sustainable forest management,” said Abduvokhid Zakhadullaev, representative of the committee, at this week’s meetings.

The workshop was organized by the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section in cooperation with the State Committee of Forestry of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is part of a three-and-a-half-year United Nations Development Account project designed to support Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan in the development of accountability systems for sustainable forest management.

The UNECE/FAO project has helped bring sustainable forest management to the political agenda in Uzbekistan.

“Having a functional forest reporting system will not only be beneficial for national forest monitoring,” said Ekrem Yazici, deputy chief of the Forestry and Timber Section, “it will also enable Uzbekistan to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Forest Resources Assessment.”

Fourteen criteria and indicators are listed in the plan for sustainable forest management in Uzbekistan, covering such issues as forest policy, forest resources, desertification, legal and institutional matters, forest certification and ecotourism.

Moreover, in support of the Bonn Challenge, Uzbekistan has joined the regional effort of the Caucasus and Central Asia to restore 2.5 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. This is another example of the rapid pace with which Uzbekistan is moving forward to address forest-related challenges, bearing in mind that the State Committee of Forestry was established only in 2017.

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