On 10.03.2023, a specialised working group meeting of deputies of  Verchovna Rada on the efficient management of forestry and other areas of natural resources management was held. The meeting was attended by about 30 national and international experts, including representatives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine (MEPR) and the State Forest Resource Agency of Ukraine (SFRA), the State Forestry Administration of Slovakia, the Ukrainian Embassy in the Czech Republic, members of the German Bundestag and  Landtags parliaments. The discussion focused on the financial relations between the state forestry sector and the state budget.

The Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Mykhailo Laba, welcomed the participants and initially asked for statements from the MEPR and the SFRA. The further discussion focused on the strategic reforms  of SFRA, in particular the concentration of the state forest enterprises in one large enterprise “Ukrainian Forests” (UF). The planned restructuring of UF into a state joint-stock company was discussed controversially. A draft law on this subject was prepared to be submitted  to Verchovna Rada. In the case of the establishment of a joint-stock company, potential threats for  the preservation of state forest ownership were articulated.

Volker Sasse, head of the German SFI project, informed about the tasks of the project, which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, mainly to (i) advise on forest policy, forest management and the National Forest Inventory, (ii) recover war-related losses of inventory equipment and (iii) gather data for NFI purposes  in the forest. A remotely sensing based inventory of all forests in Ukraine is planned to be presented at the end of 2023. This statement was followed by a  number of questions and discussions on forest ownership, forest legislation and state forestry under the federal framework in Germany.

Further, Sasse  referred  to various results of the SFI project work, including e.g. on transparency and public participation in forest legislation, and the financing of social and ecological services provided by state forest enterprises. With regard to the above-mentioned draft law, Sasse suggested to provide corresponding German respectively European experiences. . “In light of the ongoing reform , the State Forest Inspectorate of Ukraine should also be strengthened with technical and human resources and administrative instruments so that it can comprehensively fulfil its tasks,” said Sasse.