International seminar on the development of strategic communications in the forest sector

From 4-6 July 2018, the Kyrgyz Association of Forest and Land Users (KAFLU) hosted a workshop in collaboration with FAO and the UNECE/FAO Forest Communicator Network, and in partnership with the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as with the support of the governments of Austria and Finland in the Issyk-Kul region. The experts in the field of forest management and communication specialists from Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan attended the workshop.

Facilitating and coaching the workshop were by Ingwald Gschwandtl, Director of the Forest Policy in the Division of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water in Austria, Kai Lintunen, the head of international communications at the Finnish Forest Association and the Team Leader of the European UNECE/FAO Forest Communicators Network, and Maria de Cristofaro, an Outreach and Capacity Building Officer for the FAO Forestry department.

The workshop commenced with an opening speech given by Dr. Dorji Kinlay, the FAO Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic, in which Dr. Kinlay welcomed the participants and thanked the organizers and agencies who supported this important event. He stressed the importance of forests and the need for effective and active communication initiatives in order to reach and convey the target audience. He also emphasised the need to develop effective public and official messages, so that we could make a tangible contribution to decision-making processes and policies within the forest sector.

The three-day intensive seminar program included presentations by participants and practical group work on different scenarios. The workshop trained participants in analysing situations, setting clear goals and objectives, developing unifying ideological messages, choosing effective communication channels, making plans with specific deadlines, etc. At the end of the seminar, the program organized a field trip to a forest located in the mountain gorge of Kyrchyn, where participants from other countries could observe the example of our forestry practices and share experiences and practices in the forest sector of the Kyrgyz Republic.

RDF thanks all the organizers of the seminar, FAO, leading facilitators, and KAFLU employees, in particular, Mr. Burkhanov.