The Western Balkans represent a priority area for improving forest legality monitoring systems in line with the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR). However, research on EUTR implementation in Western Balkan countries is still sporadic with a limited geographical scope; therefore, the preparedness of forestry sector actors for the EUTR in the region is largely unknown. The main objective of this study is to determine to what extent the forest policy frameworks of Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) are aligned with the EUTR requirements. To achieve this aim, we applied a qualitative content analysis of policy documents identified via an expert-based approach. Our results show that both countries have well-developed policy frameworks addressing illegal logging and preventing illegal activities in forestry, especially through dedicated action plans. Key actors in both countries are public, including the ministries responsible for forestry, public forest enterprises, and forestry inspectorates. The forestry sector in Montenegro is facing significant changes due to the termination of forest concessions and the reorganization of the management of state forests, including forest certification. The Republic of Srpska has relatively well-established institutional bodies for EUTR implementation but, in some cases, insufficient exchange of information and cooperation among them. Our findings indicate that the forestry sectors in Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska (as well as in Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia, as per previous research) are dynamic, undergoing various changes, so there is room for improvement in terms of capacities (e.g., human, technological, infrastructural), legal responsibilities, and information access and availability. With an increasing focus on “deforestation-free” commodities within the EU and global policy arena, a new, more demanding, and broader regulation is expected at the EU level, replacing the EUTR. The incoming regulation will expand existing EUTR requirements, likely posing severe challenges to many EU member countries. This could be even more challenging for countries with less developed or advanced systems to enforce legality requirements, including Western Balkan countries.

Alignment of National Forest Policy Frameworks with the EU Timber Regulation Requirements: Insights from Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Radosavljevic, Maja
;
Masiero, Mauro;Rogelja, Todora;
2023

Abstract

The Western Balkans represent a priority area for improving forest legality monitoring systems in line with the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR). However, research on EUTR implementation in Western Balkan countries is still sporadic with a limited geographical scope; therefore, the preparedness of forestry sector actors for the EUTR in the region is largely unknown. The main objective of this study is to determine to what extent the forest policy frameworks of Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina) are aligned with the EUTR requirements. To achieve this aim, we applied a qualitative content analysis of policy documents identified via an expert-based approach. Our results show that both countries have well-developed policy frameworks addressing illegal logging and preventing illegal activities in forestry, especially through dedicated action plans. Key actors in both countries are public, including the ministries responsible for forestry, public forest enterprises, and forestry inspectorates. The forestry sector in Montenegro is facing significant changes due to the termination of forest concessions and the reorganization of the management of state forests, including forest certification. The Republic of Srpska has relatively well-established institutional bodies for EUTR implementation but, in some cases, insufficient exchange of information and cooperation among them. Our findings indicate that the forestry sectors in Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska (as well as in Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia, as per previous research) are dynamic, undergoing various changes, so there is room for improvement in terms of capacities (e.g., human, technological, infrastructural), legal responsibilities, and information access and availability. With an increasing focus on “deforestation-free” commodities within the EU and global policy arena, a new, more demanding, and broader regulation is expected at the EU level, replacing the EUTR. The incoming regulation will expand existing EUTR requirements, likely posing severe challenges to many EU member countries. This could be even more challenging for countries with less developed or advanced systems to enforce legality requirements, including Western Balkan countries.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3484461
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