On 11 March, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said that the Government had dismissed the responsible for the forestry sector and was planning on creating a new system to prevent illegal and uncontrolled wood-cutting. In his turn, Minister of Ecology Ostap Semerak said that the Government supported his proposal on temporary prohibition of the so-called sanitary felling (which is the major source of commercial timber).
Ukrainian media has already reported on prohibition of sanitary felling. Meanwhile it is just an intention of the Government. According to NGOs that refer to the Reform Support Centre of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, this decision is currently being elaborated and has not yet been finalized. They probably talk about revision of sanitary felling rules and enhancing control.
Regulation of sanitary felling is important to protect Ukrainian forests from extermination. Timber harvesting is all in all increasing in Ukraine, and the share of illegal timber harvesting has become a public concern. The EU requires lifting the ban on timber (roundwood) export; however, this requirement is unlikely to be met until the issue of illegal cuts is settled.
The Association Agreement defines sustainable management of forest resources as a priority for the EU–Ukraine cooperation in the sector. Therefore, improvement of law enforcement in the sector is a priority task for the Parties to the Agreement.