In 2014, a draft of the new Forestry Code of Belarus was prepared and publicly discussed. However, after the adoption of the draft law in the first reading on October 22, 2014, the text of the document was substantially changed and the public was not informed about these changes, an additional public hearing was not announced. According to a number of scientists, social activists and NGOs, the introduced changes to the new Forestry Code will have a significant impact on the environment. The adoption of the new draft of the Forestry Code will threaten the most valuable part of the forest reserves of Belarus to accommodate short-term economic interests.In 2015, the environmental organisations of Belarus have launched a petition against the new version of the Forestry Code with the demand to report the document out. They advocated for making the forestry sustainable, and the system of forest management more environmentally and socially determined — after all, it’s possible to procure wood without inflicting damage to the biodiversity of forests, their quality and quantity.
In the proposed draft law the following provisions were considered unsuitable: a sharp increase in the share of exploitable forests and the reduction in the share of protected forests, the deprotection of gorge forests, the emerging opportunity for deforestation and a plan for development in most of the current suburban forest areas.
The Forestry Code should include measures for:
- the focus of forestry on added-value wood processing instead of the export of raw materials;
- maintaining the current share of commercial forests. Undertaking the added-value wood processing will remove the need to increase the yield from felling. Forest management plans need to pass the stage of public hearings before approval, and the ecological information on the activities of forestry agencies and the structure of forest plantations should be available on the websites of forestry agencies. The new Forestry Code was adopted without taking into account all the proposals from the public, and the need for its amendment persists.
Objective to facilitate the ecologisation of legislation in the field of forest management through public participation in the public hearing and amending the Forestry Code for the transition to sustainable forestry.
Participants:Bahna NGOAPB BirdLife Belarus NGOGreen network Partnership
Duration Since 2014 we have participated in commenting on the draft of the Forestry Code and continue the participation in the discussion of forestry legislation, as well as proposing amendments to it.
Target audience the standing commission of the House of Representatives, the Ministry of Forestry, scientists, National Academy of Sciences in the field of forest management.
Tools awareness raising, petitions, roundtable discussions, public hearings, inquiries and requests.
Decision-making bodies the House of Representatives, Ministry of Forestry, the President, the Council of Ministers.