On October 21-24, 2008 more than 50 interested stakeholders from Komi, Russia and some foreign countries got together in Syktyvkar for the Forest Dialogue aiming at discussing «Forest and Rural Livelihoods».
The Forest Dialodue (TFD) – www.theforestdialogue.org – is an international nongovernmental organization occupying the representatives of forest business, nongovernmental, environmental, governmental and research organizations from different countries of the world. TFD’s goal is to contribute to sustainable forest development with the help of interaction and active cooperation of forest business leaders and nongovernmental institutions.
The Forest Dialogue in the Komi Republic was organized by Mondi Syktyvkar and Silver Taiga Foundation with financial support from Mondi Group and Ford Foundation in Russia. Komi Dialogue was the continuation of Indonesia, South Africa and Bolivia Dialogues. In all these countries the population of the forest regions faces similar problems as in Komi: poverty, unemployment, lack of social infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals etc.), engagement of outside workers, underdeveloped market of forest products etc.
On October 21-22, 2008 the participants of the Forest Dialogue in Komi got acquainted with the way of life of Komi forest villages by the example of Priluzje region of Komi. Then inSyktyvkar on October 23-24, 2008 TFD participants including the representatives of forest business, government and society of Komi discussed such important issues as:
- Poverty in rural settlements and ways of its overcoming.
- The consequences of changing over to modern logging technologies.
- The consequences of a new Forest Code implementation.
- Traditional forest use in remote forest regions.
- Relationship between forest business, authorities and local population.
At the end of the Dialogue meeting the leader asked a question: «Who cares about sustainable forest villages of Komi in future?»
It turned out that most of all the local population is in need of sustainability of their villages. Forest business also requires workers in forest regions. Environmental NGOs are also interested in forest villages’ development as they consider the population of forest regions as their allies in nature conservation. As for the government it doesn’t say a word as by that time its representatives had left the meeting. It is more likely that the problems of forest regions are constant headache for the authorities of all levels and till now there is no medicine for it.
The conclusion of TFD in Komi can be the following: without forest stakeholders’ interaction and cooperation the well-being of forest villages won’t be improved. It means that TFD in Komi should be continued using the gained potential and other regions and countries’ experience. Silver Taiga Foundation is ready to organize the Dialogue in Komi.