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WWF provides new opportunities for Chukotka local communities

15 april 2021
25 projects of the residents of the Providensky District in Chukotka were supported by WWF-Russia. The initiatives should help locals adapt to climate change, develop ecological tourism, and preserve the traditions and nature of the region. The total amount of support will be over 10 million rubles.
Local residents receive financial and expert support for their model projects for the second time within WWF-Russia Program of adaptation of indigenous peoples to climate change. Each project is selected and evaluated by an expert commission, and then its author receives a personal certificate.
“The second year of our program in Chukotka turned out to be even more eventful, there are almost twice as many projects, they are bright, diverse, and most importantly, in each application we saw the desire of people to improve the life around them, develop, take care of their nature and their land, preserve and pass on the traditions of their ancestors to children,” - says Irina Onufrenya, Director of the WWF-Russia Biodiversity Conservation Program.
This year residents of all six settlements of Providensky district gathered at the award ceremony - projects will be carried out in each of them. Before the presentation of the certificates, the curator of the program Iva Lebedeva told why adaptation to climate change is becoming an integral part of human life, environmental protection and economic development:
“Adaptation is a key element of the UN Paris Climate Agreement, of which Russia became a full member at the end of 2019. The plan for the first stage of the National Plan for Adaptation to Negative Climate Changes was approved. The plan emphasizes the long-term nature of adaptation, the need to focus on the future, and not only on the obvious effects of today. The regions were asked to start with pilot projects in order to identify and begin to solve the most pressing problems, and then draw up their programs and plans for the future. "
In 2021, all 5 territorial-neighboring communities of indigenous peoples of the north operating in the district will recieve the support. A new, sixth community "UңENңEN" started work in the village of Nunligran in March 2021 with the support of WWF experts. Participation in the program was their first joint business. Active youth are planning to equip a carpentry workshop, install a traditional Chukchi yaranga (house) in the village, which will become a center of attraction and a public space, and reconstruct a sports ground. 

The projects of other communities are no less significant. Thus, "Nunligran" community plans to organize workshops of traditional trades and crafts, the community of the village of Sireniki will build a new base for marine hunters, which will also house a workshop to make and repair tools of traditional nature use. In Novoe Chaplino, volunteers will clear the Goryachiy Klyuchi natural monument, and in the village of Enmelen, among other things, a helicopter spot is to be built of scrap metal collected in the district. It will be decorated with drawings of walruses, whales, as well as scenes from the traditional way of life of the indigenous population.

This year the schools of the Providensky District have actively joined the program. Each village joined a WWF Friends Club, teachers organize eco-lessons, and children have already become active participants in the Earth Hour campaign. School support was made possible through a partnership between WWF and the Chukotka Indigenous Minorities Association.

A large beautiful project "Nunavut" (Our Land) was presented by the public organization of the Eskimos of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug "Inuit Polar Council Chukotka". Its purpose is to collect material and popularize the culture of the indigenous population of Chukotka, the traditions of nature management, economic activities and lifestyle. Support will be given to rural houses of culture and national ensembles in each village of Providensky District.

Another important initiative - the project of the Korat agricultural enterprise to install two living modules for reindeer herders - will make life easier for people who work every day, in any weather, in the harsh Arctic conditions.
The authors of these and many other projects were greeted by Lidiya Soboleva, Chairperson of the branch of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka in the Providensky urban district: “You are all great, you were not afraid of difficulties, you decided to start project work. After all, there is nothing better than achieving your wildest dreams and ideas on your own, having received support from WWF-Russia for them. I am glad that you have found friends in the person of the Fund's experts Iva Lebedeva and Andrey Rasskazov, who help you not only with applications, but also in solving legal issues related to projects. "
For the second year now, WWF's longtime partner, Beringia National Park, has been an important participant in the program. All projects will be implemented in settlements bordering the park, and most of them involve close interaction with a natural protected area.
“I am very glad that this year even more projects have been supported that have proven their significance for our territory,” said Vladimir Bychkov, director of the Beringia National Park. - Thanks to our friends and partners - WWF-Russia - for their great contribution to the development of Providensky District, support of the people's initiatives. And also thanks to the "Agency for the Development of Rural Initiatives", whose representatives help people both in writing their projects and in further implementation. I am also glad that the national park was involved in this event. Good luck to everyone! "
For additional information please contact
Press officer of the Barents projectBarents sea ecoregional programme
Director of Biodiversity Conservation Program