23d of December 2016 in the Leningrad oblast government building the Round table «Nature and People – Open Dialogue on the Year of Ecology 2017 Actions for the Improving the Regional Environment” took place. Round table was organized by Commission on the Agriculture, Entrepreneurship and Environment of the Public Chamber of the Leningrad Region in conjunction with the Committee on Ecology and Nature Use of Leningrad region Legislative Assembly, the Public Environmental Council under the Governor of Leningrad region, North-West center to support environmental education and Friends of the Baltic NGO.
The Round table participants were representatives of the North-West Russia’ Federal Inspection of Natural Resources, Neva-Ladoga Basin Water Administration, and the Government of Leningrad region: the State Environmental Supervision Committee, the Committee for Agriculture and Fishery, General and Professional Education Committee, the Committee on Youth Policy of the Leningrad region and the Committee for Press and Cooperation with the Media. The business community was presented with communal waste management companies, organic agriculture, nuclear industry related organizations, eco-consulting. The civil society organizations, including Union of Municipalities, Association of gardeners, Educational NGOs, teachers and separate civil activists expressed at the Round table their vision of the situation.
Participants have discussed both challenges and actions, which may be implemented within the Year of Ecology 2017 in Russian Federation. The special attention was given to the sustainable communal waste management (both in settlements and in the gardening communities, protection of water bodies form nutrient pollutions, flooding, forming of people general environmental culture to reduce human impact to nature and waters, legislative support of nature protection activism. In 2016 in Leningrad region the new Law was approved – oncerning environmental education and environmental culture. There is a Federal law on the environmental control, but regional documents for its application are needed to support the public eco-inspectors.
At the Round Table participants suggested the implement course of eco-inspection of the range of nature objects, organize information actions to attract attention of population to the nature values, support environmental initiatives of business companies.
One of the proposals was to evaluate the potential of non-government; make a catalogue of environmentally oriented NGOs. Important to understand that in educational activities the main result is not quantitative, but qualitative, this is more establishing basis for future changes. And the target groups for education are not only children and residents, but business also.
Friends of the Baltic NGO resented at the Round Table its plans for raising public environmental awareness and involving people to actions aimed to improvement of environment and conservation of nature: pubic river monitoring, open public day “Luga River Festival (in Kingsepp in May), semionar for municipals, gardeners and other actors on the local solutions to reduce nutrient load to river (wastewater, farm waste, agriculture). The media-tour will be organized in Spring 2017 to show journalists good examples of farming and waste management in Luga basin.
The flooding problem, according to the Head of Newa-Ladoga basin department will be the most actual in 2017. That is why information activities for local residents and municipalities is very requested. Friends of the Baltic prepare the popular materials on the climate change consequence, local challenges and domestic adaptation options with a foculs to flooding.
Baltic Fund for Nature presented their plans t promote the sustainable development of the rural areasthrough the development of small scale farming, development of nature protected areas infrastructure to raise their raising tourist attraction (electronic guide Smartphone application is now prepared for Vuoksa river and Nizhne-Svirskij nature reserve. BaltFund representative underlined importance of information openness in the region, because many good things are done, but almost nobody knows about that. This is a problem not only for people, but also for authorities, who receive formal statistic reports done in complicated scientific official language - without simple understandable information and examples.
The leader of the Union of gardeners said, that according to the new version of the Law on gardeners, gardeners themselves became responsible for the air, water and soil quality on the area of the gardening community. One of the main challenge is the accumulation of the solid waste/ and one of the way to deal with that – raising awareness of gardeners on the waste utilization, reuse and recycling within their individual; households. Here the environmental NGOs can contribute a lot.
The Head of the Committee for state ecological supervision expressed the regret concerning reduction of penalty for the violators in the nature conservation sphere. The Committee head invited NGOs to join he Environmnetal Council work. The Committee plans to develop the interactive map of the environmental violations, and Friends of the Baltic NGO is going to join this work.
The important challenge is the restoration of the fish resources in the regional water bodies.The Committee for agriculture and fishery supported Friends of the Baltic plans related to the salmon potential in the Luga river basin/ The Committee specialists are willing to take part in the Spring media-tour in the Luga basin.
The big part of the Round table was devoted to the NGOs educational events, proposed to the Year of Ecology joint plan.
Up to the end of the 2016 the orgcommittee with collect the suggestions to the Round Table Resolutions (to the address ecology2017LO@gmail.com), to complete the Leningrad Regional Plan for the Year of Ecology 2017 in Russian Federation.