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Joint WWF - EU Project presented at the Paris Peace Forum

12 november 2020
On November 12, WWF-Russia and the Delegation of the European Union to the Russian Federation presented their joint project People for Nature at the Paris Peace Forum. It was selected as one of the top 100 global initiatives out of 850 applications to the Forum's qualifying round.

In 2020, the Paris Forum sees its third edition and goes online for the first time. Building a sustainable green economy is one of the three key themes of the event along with global health care and the development of digital solutions.

Launched in 2019 with EU support, the People for Nature project aims at preserving forests and reducing industrial water and air pollution, by involving the public in environmental protection. It is implemented in three ecoregions of the Russian Federation - the Caucasus, Altai-Sayan, and Amur.  

“The vast Russian forests and wetlands are a major source of carbon capture in the Northern hemisphere, contributing substantially to climate change mitigation. In the EU, we believe that preserving Russian nature and biodiversity is paramount for the state of climate globally. This vision of EU-Russia cooperation on the environment is best described in one of our EU- WWF Russia joint projects “People for Nature”, writes Ambassador of the European Union to Russia Markus Ederer in his Paris Peace Forum op-ed. 

"We believe that participation in the Forum is a recognition not only of our success in the development of environmental initiatives, such as public environmental monitoring, but, first of all, recognition of the importance of environmental issues in the development of cooperation between Russia and the EU and building international relations even now when the main agenda is health issues. This year, only two projects from Russia were selected for the Forum, including ours, both in the Environment section", says Mikhail Babenko, director of Green economy programme at WWF-Russia.

To achieve its objectives, the project supports regional environmental NGOs and activists with seminars, online courses, expert advice, and information support as well as a specialised grant program. Particular focus is put on usage of advanced skills and technology for environmental protection: satellite monitoring of river pollution and illegal logging, and development of mobile applications and interactive maps for environmental activists. In the long run, the project will result in improved competences of environmental NGOs in the regions, the development of a public environmental monitoring system, and a decrease in the negative environmental impact of the industry. 

 "Despite the fact that the project has now been launched in three ecoregions of Russia, it is obvious that both ideologically and technically it is easily scalable not only to the entire country but also to the global level, - comments Mikhail Babenko. In many ways, it relies on remote satellite monitoring, and this creates an unprecedented level of openness, reliability, and nonfalsifiability of information. Imagine that everyone who possesses the necessary knowledge can open free satellite images of the investigated territory, while being located anywhere in the world, and check if pollution has really been found there, in which amount, and whether it is possible to interpret the photos differently. Building a global community of environmental activists engaged in such work would be a great victory in the fight for a clean environment and responsible business conduct." 

The project has become a successful example of international cooperation in the field of environmental protection, bringing together the efforts of WWF-Russia, the European Union as well as a number of experts, non-profit organizations, and corporate partners.


Implemented throughout 2019–2022 by WWF-Russia with the support of the European Union, the People for Nature project aims at engaging the public in environmental protection. The objectives of the project include protecting forests through the prevention of their degradation and illegal exploitation as well as mitigating the environmental impact of the industry by improving the environmental responsibility of businesses and reducing air and water pollution.

Key deliverables of the first year of the project (April 2019–March 2020) include seven workshops for NGOs, 19 grants for environmental projects, and three industry ratings of environmental transparency. To learn more, visit http://reportyear1.wwf.ru/.

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