Promoting Sustainable Forest Management in Eastern Europe & Russia: Accomplishments, Impacts & Lessons Learned from IUCN's "Forest Law Enforcement & Governance Program" (2016)

Client Organization: 
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Project Location : 
Gland, Switzerland
Summary of Project Idea: 

Boreal forests cover 11% of the Earth’s surface and store 22% of all carbon on the Earth’s land surface, making them the planet’s largest terrestrial carbon sink as well as a significant source of biodiversity and economic resources. Boreal forests also span a large part of Eastern Europe and North and Central Asia, providing unparalleled economic, social, and environmental benefits to communities and livelihoods in the region. Yet climate change, environmental degradation, and unsustainable management policies pose an increasing threat to Boreal forests in this region, endangering the forest resources as well as the communities that depend on them.

Since its inception in 2008, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) introduced and implemented an expansive number of activities in seven countries in the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) East Countries region under the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) Program. However, these activities have not yet been documented in a manner that fully describes the processes followed, effectiveness, and lessons to be learned from the program. The IUCN wished to systematically assess and analyze its own FLEG activities in the ENPI region to determine lessons learned and the FLEG program’s applicability to future forest management initiatives in both Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

To this end, we developed a series of case studies on a subset of IUCN’s activities implemented in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, the Ukraine and Russia. We conducted in-depth interviews with IUCN-FLEG country program coordinators in each of these countries to identify and understand the processes and strategies that led to effective implementation of FLEG activities.

The resulting report complied the case studies derived from said interviews and desktop research and identified facilitating factors, challenges, and overall lessons learned from IUCN’s experience under the FLEG program. The report aims to prevent loss of institutional knowledge in understanding effective implementation strategies of activities in IUCN-FLEG programs; emphasize broader lessons to be learned from FLEG program experience, both within IUCN and across other organizations; generate knowledge that the IUCN can use to increase capacity of FLEG program, in order to be more effective in promoting sustainable forest governance; and, generate knowledge that enhances understanding of sustainable forest management and protection in the ENPI region.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Environmental Policy and Planning
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Environmental Justice
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Robyn Meeks and Julia Wondolleck
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Stefania Almazan Casali, MS Environmental Policy and Planning/Behavior Education and Communication
  • Xi Chen, MS Conservation Ecology/Environmental Informatics
  • Selin Nurgun, M/MSW Behavior, Education and Communication 
  • Nadia Vandergriff, MS/MPP Environmental Justice/Environmental Policy and Planning 
  • Allegra Wrocklage, MS Environmental Policy and Planning 
Project Status: 
Past Project