11 Dec 2023 13:58

Russia, Belarus sign forestry memorandum

MOSCOW. Dec 11 (Interfax) - Russia and Belarus have signed a memorandum on forestry management, the first of its kind in 25 years.

The memorandum was signed by the head of Russia's Federal Forestry Agency, Ivan Sovetnikov and Belarusian Forestry Minister Alexander Kulik in the presence of Russian and Belarusian deputy prime ministers Viktoria Abramchenko and Pyotr Parkhomchik.

The countries plan to develop long-term cooperation in the area of forestry management. Priorities include improving the countries' forestry legislation, protecting forests from fires, replacing and protecting forests and digitizing the sector.

"The signed memorandum is a qualitatively new level of cooperation between our countries. The last foundational forestry document was adopted back in the 90s and we needed to update the plan for joint action to develop the forestry sector of both countries. A joint working group on forestry management will be formed for this purpose. Our forestry agencies will already prepare a roadmap for the implementation of the memorandum in the first quarter of next year," Abramchenko said.

The countries will also explore the possibility of using Belarusian nurseries to grow seedlings for Russia. One of the areas of cooperation could involve supplies of equipment from Belarusian machine building company Amkodor to Russia, Abramchenko said.

"Our main objective is to preserve the forest ecosystems of Russian and Belarusian forests. Sharing experience between the countries, conducting joint research, internships, training a talent pool for the sector and joint participation in international work play an important role in developing forestry management, increasing the sector's potential, protecting and restoring ecosystems, as well as preserving biological diversity and sound management of the forest resources of Russia and Belarus," Sovetnikov said.

The countries will also continue to integrate information systems to track timber.

"There must be a seamless exchange of data and simple procedure for the movement of timber between our countries," Abramchenko said.

Russia's Forestry Agency and Belarus's Forestry Ministry earlier signed a cooperation agreement that regulates the integration of the countries' respective information systems for tracking timber, LesEGAIS and EGAIS-Belarus. This is expected to set the stage for a convenient operating environment for forestry companies in the two countries and ensure the free movement Belarusian trucks carrying forest products in Russia.