The aim of Finnish-Russian forest cooperation is to support the balanced development of the Russian forest sector towards sustainable use and management of forests. From 2009 the Russian party in this cooperation has been the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation and, in particular, the Federal Forest Agency operating under it.
Finnish-Russian working group on sustainable forest management
Since 1995 the task of the working group has been to deal with forestry and forest policy issues between the two countries. It also functions as the steering group of the North-West Russian Forestry Programme. The Finnish representatives in the group are the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and relevant stakeholder groups in the forest sector. The working group is part of the Finnish Russian Economic Commission
The task of the sub-groups set up for a fixed term is to promote cooperation in specific forest issues of interest to both parties, such as bioenergy, forest regeneration and profitability of forestry. Comparison of forestry strategies between the two countries is also among the main themes.
Fourth stage of the North-West Russian Forestry Programme 2009–2011
The fourth stage of the Forestry Programme focuses on the introduction of Scandinavian forest management methods in North-West Russia, supporting the reform of the Russian forest administration and promoting public-private partnerships. The programme includes the following projects:
- Development of forest administration in Karelia
- Development of Scandinavian forest management in the Vologda Region
- Expert services to the forest sector in the Komi Republi
- Volga pilot project on model forests
- Training of leaders and experts in regional forest administration
The parties responsible for the projects in Russia are the regional forest administration agencies in Karelia, Vologda, Komi and Nizhny-Novgorod. The Russian Institute of Continuous Education in Forestry in Pushkino, Moscow Region is responsible for the training project.
On the Finnish side the projects are implemented by a consortium selected by competitive tendering, where the leading partner is Indufor Oy. Other expert organizations taking part in the implementation are Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), Metsähallitus, Forestry Development Centre Tapio and TAMK School of Applied Science.
Background to the North-West Russian Development Programme
The Finnish-Russian Development Programme on Sustainable Forest Management and Conservation of Biological Diversity in North-West Russia is among the neighbouring area projects of the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of the Environment, financed from the neighbouring area cooperation funds coordinated by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the section focused on nature conservation and the work is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute. The forestry development aspects of the programme are administrated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The main themes of the first two stages of the programme (1997-2000 and 2001-2004) included forest planning, development of the model forest concept, forest regeneration, certification, education and training, and bioenergy. The aim of the third stage is to support the reform process of the Russian forest sector, with special focus on continuous education in the sector.
The development programme is coordinated by the Finnish-Russian working group on sustainable forestry. Both the federal level and regional administration and education institutions are involved in the cooperation. Russian experts have had a central role in planning the programme.
Forest Summits headed by the Prime Ministers are a very important element of the Finnish-Russian forest cooperation. The first summit was held in Moscow in March 2002, the second in Helsinki in October 2004, and the third in October 2009. The topics discussed at the summits have included investments in and competitiveness of the forest sector and sustainable forestry.