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Finnish-Russian Seminar on Environmentally Friendly Solutions for the Gulf of Finland and Youth Involvement, March 1st, 2012

Finnish-Russian seminar on Environmentally Friendly Solutions for the Gulf of Finland and Youth Involvement organized by Consulate General of Finland in St.Petersburg and Friends of the Baltic NGO in cooperation with Finnish Nature League was held on Thursday, 1st of March. Experts, professionals and local authorities were discussing the current challenges and sharing their vision and experience on the reducing euthrophication, promotion of climate friendly solution and biodiversity conservation. "Friends of the Baltic" have also presented an exhibition and publications about decreasing of phosphorous load to the Baltic Sea, created with the support of Coalition Clean Baltic.

Seminar participants were NGO activists, representatives of Committee for Nature Use, Environmental protection and environmental safety of St.Petersburg, Committee for Natural Resources of Leningrad oblast, businessmen, scientists, teachers, active young people both from Russia and from Finland.

The main issues raised at the seminar were: protection of the biodiversity; ways to reduce eutrophication; utilization of farm waste via biogas technologies and production of organic fertilizer; youth involvement and Internet-based environmental projects; sustainable energy production and energy-labelling; international climate negotiations and regional promotion of green energy solutions.

A special focus was laid on the possibilities for future cooperation between Russia and Finland as well as experience exchange and implementation of Finnish and other international solutions and technologies in Russia. One of the examples of these is Climate Ambassadors project, aimed at raising public awareness and promoting local climate friendly energy solutions. This project is already running in Finland, Denmark, Norway and other countries. Friends of the Baltic are working on launching Climate Ambassadors project also in Russia, basing on successful experience of running similar Finnish-Russian project called Baltic Sea Ambassadors for several years.

Another progressive solution discussed on the seminar was certificating of green energy production in Finland or EKOenergy-labelling. This initiative has great potential but also considerable difficulties in Russia, since Russian people cannot choose the electricity supplier nowadays. However we believe that limitation of state monopoly on energy production and introduction of fair business competition on the market of electricity supply can be beneficial both for the companies producers, citizens and the environment.

Great attention at the seminar was drawn also to involvement of young citizens and their role in environmental initiatives. There were presented several examples of the projects conducted by young people and having a great national and international importance and potential for further co-operation. One of the project is Nutrient load wiki – an initiative of the Finnish NGO Nature league (Luonto-Liitto). In this project almost all available information on the nutrient load to the Baltic Sea was gathered and published on a single web-resource with an open platform, which allows editing and adding the new information the same way as Wikipedia does. The information published on the Nutrient load wiki resource is based on the results of recent research, scientific publications and measurements conducted by project participants themselves.

Young people and schoolchildren in St.Petersburg and Leningrad region are involved in the River Watch project run by Friends of the Baltic in co-operation with teachers in different towns of Leningrad region as a part of River Watch network of the Coalition Clean Baltic. Youngsters make observations, take samples and conduct a research about the condition of the smaller rivers in their neigbourhood; the results are being presented at the annual River Festival and published.

After the presentations the discussions were held in four small groups, focusing on the issues of green consumerism, climate and energy challenges, euthrophication and protection of the biodiversity of the Gulf of Finland. Participants shared their opinions and views concerning the main challenges and solutions as well as potential for future co-operation on the abovementioned issues, basing on what was said at the seminar and their previous experience.

We would like to thank all the participants for their prolific work and essential contributions at the seminar.


Presentations can be found via the following links (in English):

1. Biodiversity and natural values of the Gulf of Finland, Nadezhda Alekseeva

2. Overview of the environmental situation and main sources of human impact to the Gulf of Finland environment, Olga Senova

3. Utilization of agricultural farm waste via biogas technology, Andre Olzer

4. Roskar poultry farm activities in the sphere of farm waste utilization, Olesya Ponomareva (in Russian)

5. An overview of Luonto-Liitto project Nutrient load wiki, Ekaterina Laukkonen

6. Promotion of green solutions for the Baltic Sea via education, Ekaterina Uspenskaya

7. Climate change global challenge and necessary solutions, Angelina Davydova

8. EKOenergy. Certificating environmentally sustainable energy production – reality in Finland, future in Russia?, Elina Vallas

9. Regional energy situation and ways to promote low carbon economy and lifestyle (SPARE, Climate Ambassadors), Olga Senova

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