The State Forestry Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized a regular meeting of the Steering Committee for the “Sustainable Forest Management in Mountain and Valley Areas of Uzbekistan” project.
The Project Steering Committee is the main governing and decision-making body responsible for reviewing and approving the annual work plan and budget, monitoring the progress of the project and the results achieved, and facilitating cooperation with international and national partners. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project “Sustainable Management of Forests in Mountain and Valley Areas of Uzbekistan” (SFM) is being implemented by the FAO Representation in Uzbekistan in cooperation with the State Forestry Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The main goal of the project is to promote sustainable forest management, which implies such forest management that enables the local population to use forest resources more widely, preserve not only the productivity of forests, but also their ecological functions, aesthetic and recreational value, biological and landscape diversity. In this area, work is underway to introduce innovations, resource-saving technologies and broadly involve the local population in the process of sustainable forest management with a special emphasis on gender equality. Within the framework of the project, FAO experts participated in designing a number of legal documents aimed at developing forestry in Uzbekistan, empowering women working in forest organizations. In addition, project contributed to the improved living conditions of 620 local households.
FAO currently works with 4 pilot areas in Uzbekistan (Syrdarya, Dehkanabad, Kitab and Pap state forest organizations) to sustain forests in mountain and valley areas and support the most vulnerable communities. At the regular meeting of the Project Steering Committee, the reports of representatives of the 4 forest organizations were presented, and the work plans along with project budgets for 2022 approved.
«This year, we plan to implement several large-scale events covering all pilot sites of the project and 92 forestry organizations across the republic. Thanks to the capacities of the new GIS laboratory and Data center, which were formed as part of the project last year, we plan to train forest industry specialists to create electronic maps, as well as conduct an inventory of 2,000 hectares of forest areas in Uzbekistan. In addition, it is planned to host 4 conferences dedicated to the issues of gender equality in the work of forestry organizations of the republic. And, of course, one of the most important events is the opening of the Regional Training Center in Kitab Forest Organization. It will serve as platform for farmers, entrepreneurs and other interested persons from the southern regions of Uzbekistan to participate in classes with foreign forestry experts», – said Olimjon Kakhkharov, project technical coordinator.
In 2021 a mid-term evaluation of the project was carried out, during which the results achieved were studied and further steps for the implementation of project activities were determined. In particular, recommendations were given to strengthen work on gender issues, create effective mechanisms for the wide involvement of the local population in forest management processes, in order to increase incomes and assist the local population in the sale of products directly in the markets of the republic.
The Steering Committee highly assessed the project activities, and, considering the wide range of issues for the implementation of activities, the extension of the project for 2 years was supported. The work plan and project budget for 2022 have been approved.