Cooperation with Russia

The key objective of the Ministry of the Environment in cooperation between Finland and Russia is to reduce and prevent discharges and emissions that have adverse impacts on Finland and the state of the Baltic Sea and to reduce environmental risks threatening the Baltic Sea.

The cooperation between Finland and Russia on nature conservation focuses on the establishment of new conservation areas and the protection of endangered species. Norway participates in cooperation relating to the Green Belt of Fennoscandia.

Regional financial cooperation

The decisions on sanctions due to the situation in Crimea and Ukraine and made by financial institutions have significant impacts on international environmental financing. Earlier the investment projects aimed to reduce the emissions from Russia were mainly promoted on a multilateral basis through cooperation on subsidizing investments and, in particular, project preparation between Russia, international financial institutions, the EU and various donor countries.

International financial institutions – the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) – as well as the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership NDEP Support Fund and the Baltic Sea Action Plan BSAP Trust Fund participated in the projects. Now the financial institutions, including EBRD, have decided not to prepare any new projects concerning Russia. Because of this decision the NDEP Support Fund will also not be operative in any new projects in Russia. Despite the crisis, environmental cooperation in regional councils and HELCOM continues almost as before.

Since 1991, Finland has supported environmental projects in Russia by about EUR 80 million. In order to receive this support, Russia has to make significant investments in the projects. The projects have enabled the transfer of modern environmental technology and competence to Russia. The earlier type of cooperation between neighbouring areas in Finland and Russia has now ended. The most significant sources of financing on the regional level are the cross-border cooperation programmes between the EU and Russia (European Neighbourhood Instrument, cross-border cooperation, ENI CBC) and the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme of the EU for 2014–2020.

Krasnyi Bor hazardous waste landfill site

Environmental cooperation focused on technical issues between Finland and Russia has continued in all political situations. In 2016 the Krasnyi Bor hazardous waste landfill site in the Leningrad Oblast made again headlines as the dyke of a waste pool collapsed and contaminated water escaped to the surrounding area. Krasnyi Bor is located 30 kilometres to the southeast of St Petersburg, which means that any toxic emissions would affect the River Neva and Gulf of Finland as well. In 1992 the hazardous waste landfill site was included on the list of Hot Spots (a list of significant pollution sites around the Baltic Sea) of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM).

Finland has offered technical expertise to restore the landfill site since the 1990s. To assess the environmental risk and prepare an investment plan samples from the site should be taken and analysed by independent parties. Samples could be analysed in Finland, following the practices set out in the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. Various authorities in Russia have tried to find solutions to questions relating to the sampling and transport of the samples as soon as possible. The landfill has not accepted any waste since 2014.

Further information:

Ismo Tiainen, Director of Administration and International Affairs, tel. +358 295 250 294, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Kristiina Isokallio, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 581 9618, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Saija Vuola, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 029, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

 

Published 2013-07-30 at 13:37, updated 2017-08-25 at 13:31