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PublicationFood and Agricultural Policy in Russia : Progress to Date and the Road Forward(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-07) Csaki, Csaba; Nash, John; Matusevich, Vera; Kray, HolgerThe overall finding of this report is that much agricultural policy is made at the regional level, and here the explicit price, and trade policy distortions are significantly worse than at the federal level. The result is patchwork of inconsistent policies, that has fragmented the Russian national market. The most serious policy issues at the federal level, are in the legal framework, the continued state domination of some markets, and, the administration of limited subsidies, in ways that undermine market development. A major problem is that large farms face soft budget constraints, with tolerance of non-payment of debt, resulting in an increasing debt burden, little incentive for true restructuring, and an uneven playing field with respect to the private sector. The government recently addressed the issue of farm insolvency, through the Resolution on Agricultural Debt Restructuring, and, a fundamental approach to this problem is being elaborated in the draft Law on Financial Rehabilitation of Agricultural Enterprises. But the key to giving enterprises an incentive to participate in real restructuring, will be to enforce sanctions - including bankruptcy procedures, and foreclosure - if enterprises fail to comply with the terms, and measures developed by creditors, and investors, as part of the restructuring procedures. A supportive environment of private individual farming, and private market development should be created, by revamping agricultural support policies, that halt public procurement at federal, and regional levels; that administer all subsidies to producers, by some incentive-neutral mechanism, not dependent on input usage, or output; and, where input, or credit subsidies continue, if administered by private channels on a competitive basis, not through state-owned, or monopoly suppliers. PublicationForestry in the Middle East and North Africa : An Implementation Review(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) Pswarayi-Riddihough, IdahIn the Middle East and North Africa Region, forest resources are generally limited, as is their contribution to GDP, and it is for this reason their importance is often overlooked. However, forestry's contribution to natural resource and environmental management, is significant, which should not be underestimated. The report, implemented as an input to the development of a Bank Forestry Strategy in guiding its work in the sector, reviews the Bank-assisted forestry projects in the region over the last ten years, defines the regional forests, and describes its current status, and related policy and economic issues, including the need of civil society, and private sector involvement in forestry related issues. It is highlighted that ultimately, the decisions taken on the directions to be followed by the Bank, would be based on sound knowledge of the overall regional aspects, proposing Economic and Sector Work for the future. The report outlines appropriate policy formulation and technical solutions, but emphasizes that local communities must be directly involved in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of forestry development activities. This approach implies that public administrations, responsible for forestry development, become fully decentralized, and capable of strengthening local capacity. PublicationThe Challenge of Rural Developments in the EU Accession Countries : Third World Bank/FAO EU Accession Workshop, Sofia, Bulgaria, June 17-20, 2000(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-05) Csaki, Csaba; Lerman, ZviThis report examines the reforms and policy changes necessary in the rural section of the ten countries that have started the accession process for eventual membership in the European Union (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia). The papers in this report are selected from the presentations at the Third World Bank/FAO EU Accession Workshop held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on June 17-20, 2000, and are organized around four topics: 1) Defining the concepts of rural development-options for EU accession candidate countries; 2) Rural development in the European Union; 3) Rural development in Central and Eastern Europe; and 4) International experiences and the role of international organizations in supporting rural development in the EU accession countries.