Cooperation with Northwest Russia to raise environmental and climate awareness
Within the Nordic-Russian Programme for Environment and Climate Co-operation (PECC) NEFCO has signed grant agreements for nine projects that will improve the possibilities for emission reductions to preserve the biodiversity and help adapt and mitigate climate change in Northwest Russia.
All projects, selected based on the Calls for Proposals in spring 2017, will result in either knowledge sharing between the Nordic applicant and the local project partner, the development of networks or increasing awareness.
Several projects on forest biodiversity
Several of the projects are linked to Northwest Russia’s forest biodiversity and to preserving the forest’s ecosystems. One of the projects is aimed at, for example, sustainable forest management in the Komi Republic, which has the largest forested area compared with the other regions in the area. It is a cooperation project between the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and the Academy of Public Services and Management in Komi.
The project will look into ways to increase utilisation of the forest without harming its biodiversity. “Komi is intensifying its forest usage at the moment, so it will be very important to collect knowledge and increase awareness of how to protect the highly valuable biodiversity forests in the region and to find a balance between conservation and utilisation,” says Eugene Lopatin, Senior Scientist at Luke. The aim of the project is to transfer knowledge on best practices from Finland and Sweden regarding sustainable forest management and to map forests suitable for intensive forest management, to carry out feasibility studies on potential sites for the forest energy sector, to evaluate connectivity of existing protected nature reserves in the Komi Republic and to develop a network with stakeholders involved in forest management in the region.
Capacity building on climate change
One of the other projects concerns knowledge sharing and capacity building regarding climate change and is facilitated by the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten in Sweden. The local partner in Northwest Russia is the Environmental Investments Center in Arkhangelsk. The project presents a continuation of an existing project that aims to mitigate climate change in the Barents Region.
This project strives to find a method for identifying, accessing and quantifying regional GHG emissions and removals, to develop a regional strategy and action plan for mitigation and adaptation to climate change and joint knowledge sharing and knowledge development. “We are currently looking into which sources are responsible for the majority of the emissions in Arkhangelsk,” explains Ylva Sardén, Coordinator for climate and energy issues at the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten. In the county, they now know the main emission sources quite well and are trying to identify the sources and find good statistics for the current situation in the region of Arkhangelsk.
Now that all the projects have been signed, NEFCO will monitor their implementation and assist the beneficiaries as necessary to ensure optimal use of synergies with other initiatives and projects carried out in the same region or within the same field. The aim is for all selected and signed projects to be fully implemented by the end of this year.
The programme is funded by the Barents Hot Spots Facility, a fund administered by NEFCO since 2004, and the Nordic Council of Ministers and forms part of its latest efforts with regard to cooperation with Russia, as adopted by the Ministers for Nordic Cooperation at the start of 2016.