What we do
Премия рунета 2017

WWF welcomes Russia's policy on conservation of Arctic biodiversity

10 march 2020
WWF experts assessed the intention of the State to develop a network of protected areas. The provision is reflected in the document of the Russian state policy framework in the Arctic for the period till 2035. President Vladimir Putin approved it last Thursday.
“We are glad that, together with plans for the development of the Arctic, the Strategy also takes into account the issue of conservation of the region’s wildlife. We support the decision to create an environmentally connected and representative network of marine protected areas, which is mentioned in the strategy,” comments Dmitry Gorshkov, Director of the biodiversity conservation program at WWF Russia. “Such a network of marine protected areas is the most effective tool for preserving the biodiversity of the seas and ensuring the sustainable development of the Arctic.”

The total area of ​marine ​protected areas in the Russian Arctic is about 158 ​​thousand sq. km. This is only 3.6% of the total sea area under Russian jurisdiction. Although a number of international conventions provide a figure of 10%, and soon it will be increased.

The nature of the region is becoming particularly vulnerable due to global climate change. The Arctic is "warming" faster than any other region on Earth - over the past 50 years, about two times faster than the global average. Climate change is reflected in the strategy, as is the need to adapt to it.

Since 2014, WWF-Russia has carried out extensive work with experts and scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University and other leading scientific institutions. 47 priority areas for the protection in the seas of the Russian Arctic were identified, the most valuable for preserving biological diversity and maintaining environmental stability. The resulting network covers almost 25% of the Russian Arctic seas.

“It is also important that the document outlines the role of the Arctic Council as a key regional association coordinating international activities in the region. Russia will chair the Council from 2021, - says D. Gorshkov. - WWF-Russia is open for cooperation, taking into account the interests of all the stakeholders. And we hope that the plans to create a network of protected areas and preserve the biological diversity of the Arctic will be fully implemented.”

At the same time, experts express hope that many aspects that are not reflected in the strategy will nevertheless be taken into account in its implementation and preparation of investment projects.

“In particular, we need a more comprehensive system for assessing environmental and industrial risks associated with climate change and accumulated environmental damage,” commented Mikhail Babenko, director of the Green Economy program of WWF Russia. - One of the priority areas of the strategy is hydrocarbon production. However, we are convinced that environmental and economic risks are extremely high. Existing technologies, alas, do not protect the fragile nature of the Arctic from the consequences of possible accidents.”
“It is also important to emphasize the need for more public involvement in environmental issues,” the expert continues. “So one of the tools to reduce environmental and socio-economic risks in the industrial development of the Arctic is active engagement of stakeholders, especially local communities, environmental expert organizations, as well as indigenous peoples of the North in the preparation and discussion of industrial projects.”
For additional information please contact
Press officer of the Barents projectBarents sea ecoregional programme