Laura T Laura
Traditional Hutsul Association
Traditional Hutsul Association
A Green Brigade is formed of 10 volunteers, citizens of 5 counties of Romania, most affected by illegal deforestation, people that want to document, track and find proves for the forest thief. Aarhus Convention give them the legacy to ask for information regarding the national forestry auctions, selling prices etc. This activity will put more pressure on authorities, citizens will be motivated to act and ask for legislative measures against the forest thieves.
In 5 Romanian counties (Maramures, Suceava, Bistrita-Nasaud, Sibiu, Caras Severin).
In 2019, The National Inventory Report shows that from the total of 38.8 million of hectares exploited exploited more than a half, 20 million are illegal.For one single person to fight against a system backed by corrupted officials and violent forest thieves, it is a very consuming activity, especially psychological. A network would simplify the problem, if at least 10 people would be in charge with an illegal transport and send the videos, photos and the proofs, then it’s more likely to receive a feedback or to create a buzz around the problem. In the regions where illegal deforestation take place people are scared by this influential groups to speak up and to report the theft. A member of the Green Brigade would be a leader for the whole community and give an example of a good practice.
The Green Brigade represents the civilians and they can even influence the public opinion showing the illegalities. Civilians can get inspired by the Green Brigade work and get involved in putting pressure on authorities, organizing local marches, they can talk with the mayors and so on. In Romania civic participation needs a boost, an awakening and people are ready to see that something really change, starting locally then moving to a national level.
The project is targeting directly the volunteers for Green Brigade, their recruitment, training, leadership. The second target group is the Minister of Environment, Forest Guard and Police that is required to apply the law or to change it if it’s not in line with the reality. The third target group is the civil society that can have access to real information about the way forest is exploited in Romania.
As we have already mentioned, we have some contacts on the ground, some people guarding the forest. Unfortunately they are spread all around the country and they can’t work together. Fortunately we can easily find volunteers to create a network in every affected county, people that would be trained in silvic legislation, the law of access to public information and all the legal leverage. We have some logistical needs, an online platform, a Communication specialist.
During the years Romanian and international investigation journalists have shown many reports about the forest organized crime in Romania. It is necessary more pressure from many sides. In a democratic country the civilians have to rely on the statehood, authorities. They have to make laws to protect the national security, environment and so on. The only ways corrupted Romanian administration really listened to the citizen’s requests was when more people asked for a change, organized marches, signed petitions and so on. The Green Brigade represents the civil society, works on the ground, seas everyday situation and report about it.
The Romanian forest organized crime is not only a national problem, but it affects everybody. This is a global resource even more nowadays when the climate change became a priority and forest is such a cheap investment to keep the balance of CO2 emissions. The European Commission is going to take an infringement decision if the Romanian authorities fail in solving the problem. The civil society was quite but this initiative is going to show that a handful of people just using legal means and believing in participatory democracy can make a difference.
I have been raised in a place where the illegal deforestation was a common practice. There are some influential groups here, owners of restaurants, supermarkets, oil station, in the middle of wilderness, where there are not enough resources to get rich. Every day I can see tracks full with threes and it’s obvious that for a legal deforestation. I decided to do my best in protecting the environment, my forests where I spend entire days discovering new mushrooms, wild animals or taking a short nap under the threes shadow.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
For 1 year:
Project Management and Training- 10 000 Euro
Costs for legally founding- 2500 euro
Project Communication- 5000 euro
Digital expences- 2500 euro
Traveling, per diem and accommodation costs- 5000 euro.
Any advice regarding the way we can manage this complicated problem with the exploitation of the forest.