On November 21, 2017, the President of Ukraine signed a decree ‘On Additional Measures for Development of Forestry, Rational Use of Natural Resources and Preservation of Protected Areas’ No.381/2017. Via this decree the President gave a number of instructions to the Cabinet of Ministers and other public authorities on issues related to forestry, water management, state environmental control and monitoring system, development of protected areas.

NGOs and experts gave cautious assessments to this decree. Clearly, it was a surprising move by the President given decree’s focus on these sectors. A likely reason for this decision was the willingness of the President to join in the process of key reforms in the areas of nature protection and natural resources use, in particular forestry. In addition, in his decree the President showed his position over a number of reforms, which is an important signal for preventing situations when, for example, laws adopted by the Parliament are subject to President’s veto or await president’s signature for a long time.

The decree, for example, highlights the importance of transparency in implementing the reforms (increasing public inspectors role, openness of information on forestry permits, including logging tickets, as well as information on land use changes in forestry). Other messages include: creation of state fund for development of forestry and state fund for water management, delegation of some controlling functions to local authorities, introduction of a unified electronic state system for wood circulation, including wood origin, adoption of ‘Ukraine Forests-2020’ program.