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Премия рунета 2017

WWF RUSSIA SUMMED UP ENVIRONMENTAL RESULTS OF 2018

27 december 2018
The passing year will definitely be remembered for such dramatic events as the release of bison and leopards into the wild, and the establishment of new national parks and nature reserves. In 2018, the long-awaited amendments were made to the law on specially protected natural areas, and the project of the Dvina-Pinega nature reserve was moved forward. Yet, the law on environmental impact assessment has still not been adopted, and the beginning of the implementation of the Ecology National Project without revision threatens to exacerbate the long-standing environmental problems and give rise to new ones.

The World Wide Fund for Nature has summed up both positive and negative results of the passing year, which will have the greatest impact on the protection of wildlife, environmental management and the responsible use of natural resources.

THE ECOLOGY NATIONAL PROJECT

The Ecology National Project developed pursuant to the Presidential Decree dated May 2018 requires substantial revision and does not fully ensure the fulfillment of the instructions of the President. Its implementation in its current form may cause irreparable damage to the Russian nature. 

Protected areas

7.2 million hectares of new protected areas in Russia and Kazakhstan have been established.

This is twice the size of Austria. Among them are: the New Siberian Islands State Nature Reserve (6.6 million hectares, of which 4.9 million hectares of the marine area), being the second largest protected area in Russia and the largest specially protected marine area of the country; the Khibiny National Park (84.8 thousand hectares), the Dzhilinsky regional nature reserve in the Trans-Baikal Territory (111.4 thousand hectares), the new Ile-Balkhash wildlife reserve in the area of the project for the reintroduction of tigers in Kazakhstan (415 thousand hectares). 

RARE SPECIES 

1. 10 bison were delivered and released in the Turmonsky nature reserve of North Ossetia in July and August, where they will form a new free-standing thoroughbred grouping. According to a recent WWF Russia study, this is where the largest low-disturbed forest expanse is located, and at least 300 bison can potentially live in this area. For North Ossetia, this release will be the third one: previously 18 bison were released in the republic in 2010 and 2012. 

2. In the summer, three leopards were released into the wild: a pair — in the Alania National Park (North Ossetia), and a male — in the Caucasian Nature Reserve, where two males released in 2016 already live. At present, the Leopard Restoration Program in the Caucasus is experiencing serious difficulties: there is a lack of coordination from the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, the actual financing of the Center has decreased, and the breeding stock has not been upgraded. Under these conditions, regular leopard releases and the creation of a stable grouping in nature become impossible.

FORESTS

1. An agreement on the boundaries of the planned Dvina-Pinega nature reserve was signed. As a result of lengthy and complicated negotiations between companies and environmental organizations, in April 2018, an agreement on the boundaries of the planned nature reserve was signed. According to the document, the area of the reserve area will be 302 thousand hectares. This is exactly the compromise that will allow to preserve the most valuable part of the forest landscape, while allowing the timber industry enterprises to continue working. Read more... 

2. A mechanism for establishing the National Forest Heritage (NFH) has emerged in Russia; WWF has been campaigning for it since 2012. It was enshrined in the forest management instruction approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation in April. The NFH sites are supposed to include intact forest landscapes, i.e. primeval forests and forests of scientific, historical, cultural or religious importance. WWF, other environmental organizations and Ilim Group JSC have already signed a letter of intent to establish the first NFH site in Russia. Read more... 

3. Non-constructive criticism of voluntary forest certification under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) scheme and the proposal to set up a “national forest certification system.” Globally, the FSC logo means for the consumer a guarantee of the environmental and social responsibility of a timber procurer. For businesses, an FSC certificate is a pass to sensitive international markets in Europe, North America, East Asia and other countries. Read more...

 4. The Federal Forestry Agency approved and sent to all regions of Russia recommendations on the preservation of biodiversity when harvesting wood, which were developed in consultation with WWF. They will help more effectively conserve the high conservation value forests in all regions of the Russian Federation; ten regions have already included these recommendations into their forest management regulations.

 5. The establishment of a nursery forest for the restoration of the relic Colchian boxwood (Buxus colchica), 99% of which was destroyed by the box tree moth that was introduced during the Olympics. After three years, some of the plants planted and grown in the nursery will go to establish a mother plantation, and some will be planted in the wild.

STATUTORY REGULATION

In July, the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted a law long-awaited by all environmentalists and amending the Federal Law “On Specially Protected Natural Areas.” However, the new Law on Protection Forests contradicts the instructions of the President of the Russian Federation, for the execution of which it was developed, and threatens the future of more than 50 million hectares of valuable forests

GREEN ECONOMY 

1. Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the proposal to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel in the Arctic, calling it “absolutely correct.” Read more... 

2. For the first time in Russia, green bonds were placed on the Moscow Stock Exchange (green bonds are debt securities, the money from the placement of which is allocated to finance projects with a positive environmental impact). The project, which attracted funds, has passed an independent assurance (RAEX Europe with the support of the Shaneco Design Institute), confirming its compliance with international standards (Green Bond Principles 2018). The placement of these securities was initiated by a business specializing in waste recycling.

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS BUILDING 

As many as over 230 thousand schoolchildren in thousands of Russian schools took part in interactive environmental lessons. In the passing year, WWF Russia, with partners from the ECA Movement and the Zapovedniki ecological center, launched two new all-Russian environmental lessons funded by Presidential grants and titled “Forest and Climate” (awarded a diploma from the presidential climate advisor) and “Preservation of Rare Species.” Read more...

Photo in the preview and caption by: (c) Sergey Trepet / WWF Russia.

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