FOPER II – Forest policy and economics project continues

FOPER II began in June 2009 and is funded with nearly 2.9 million Euros to ensure the continuation of the Masters Program and plan for its sustainability by the universities in the region, provide on-the-job training in research and education for regional faculty and researchers, and to continue the provide high quality research results pertinent to regional issues. New in FOPER II is the plan to develop a Doctoral Graduate College on Governance of Forests in Southeast Europe that will focus on research projects in forest policy and economics. This Graduate College will allow doctoral students to have joint mentorship with regional faculty and with faculty at other European universities. It is expected that upon graduation they will become members of the forestry faculties and research institutes, thus consolidating the gains in capacity in these fields. FOPER II is led by an international leading specialist in forest policy and social science in natural resources, Prof. Dr. Margaret A. Shannon. The new Project Officer is Mr. Doni Blagojevic who participated in FOPER I as the focal point from the Forestry Faculty in Banja Luka located in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

On 29 October 2009, the five Deans signed an Agreement to Implement the Masters Program in Forest Policy and Economics in 2010 until 2012. It is anticipated that this next offering of the MSc program will result in sufficient training of regional teachers to ensure its long term continuation by the universities. There will soon be a call for applications for students around the region.

On October 30, 2009, the Steering Committee chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved the project’s strategic approach and projected budget for implementing the goals of FOPER II.
The results from the FOPER I have created a very strong platform from which FOPER II can build and expand. FOPER I received 3.9 million Euros in years 2005-2009 in order to develop training for forestry professionals, a Masters Program, research projects, and networks among all stakeholders in the Southeast Europe region related to forest policy and economics. The continuation of the FOPER project on Consolidation of Capacities in Forest Policy and Economics Education and Research in Southeast Europe is again funded by the Finnish Foreign Ministry and implemented under the direction of the European Forest Institute.

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