Exploring the Northern Dimension

ND newsflash

Northern Dimension in 2030 – How to grasp the opportunities and fight the challenges?

The second Northern Dimension Day took place in Stockholm, Sweden, back‐to‐back with the 7th Strategy Forum of the EU Strategy…

Kaliningrad Wastewater Treatment Plant officially opened

The long-awaited wastewater treatment plant in Kaliningrad started operations on 7 June 2017 at full capacity. The construction work of the plant was completed in 2015, and since then the plant has been taken into use step-by-step. The handling and disposal of wastewater sludge that was a condition for the operations was ready in May 2017.

The construction of the wastewater treatment plant was started as early as the 1980s. The project has been delayed for years, it has met with many obstacles, and the construction work was been suspended several times. It was not until December 2007 when the Russian Federation confirmed its funding for the project and the Financing Agreement of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership was signed. The project also includes the drinking water treatment plant in the eastern part of the city (EUR 35 million), which should be completed in 2018.

Kaliningrad wastewater treatment plant is very good news for the Baltic Sea, because until very recently, this city of almost half a million people was pouring 150,000 cubic meters of raw sewage into the sea every day. What has been in the making for more than forty years is now up and running.

Sources: Ministry of the Environment and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and Nordic Investment Bank.

First announcement: 14th International Conference “Ecological and economic problems of development of regions and countries (sustainable development, management of natural resources)”

We invite you to take part in the 14th International Conference of the Russian Society for Ecological Economics “Ecological and economic problems of development of regions and countries (sustainable development, management of natural resources)”

Date: 3.7.2017-7.7.2017
Place: Petrozavodsk, Russia
Webpage:   http://RSEE.org

RSEE-2017 Conference continues the tradition of the Russian Society for Ecological Economics (RSEE) to organize meetings of scientists, graduate and post-graduate students and professionals, where they discuss the results of basic and applied research on ecological economics.

The 14th conference in Petrozavodsk will be devoted to the discussion of topical issues in the field of sustainable development of countries and regions, methodology and practices of establishing and developing the economic mechanism of nature management and environmental protection, including payments for the use of natural resources and environmental impact, assessment and elimination of accumulated environmental damage, development of environmental target programs, management of ecological and economic systems, the problem of interactions between authorities, business and civil society, environmental safety.

Prospective thematic areas of the conference:
• environmental policy in Russia and around the world;
• economic instruments for regulating the use of natural resources and environmental protection;
• ecological and economic problems of development of northern and border regions;
• development of methods for estimation of economic damage from environmental pollution; elimination of accumulated environmental damage;
• interactions between authorities, business and the civil society in dealing with ecological and economic problems;
• environmental and economic problems of Karelia;
• the problem of resource- and energy-saving;
• the effectiveness of nature conservation activities;
• ecological-economic modeling in the field of sustainable development;
• economic environmental impact assessment and expert review.

Conference languages - Russian and English. Interpretation will be provided during sessions.

Important Dates
April 15: Submission of Abstracts (200 words) and Application Form (see below)
May 1: Acceptance notification and Second Announcement-Invitation with the rules for submission of Extended Abstracts (up to 4 pages) for publication.
May 20: Submission of Extended Abstracts, and  Early Registration
June 15: Preliminary Program

For more information, please see the first announcement.

Environmental pollution knows no borders

Adviser Jaakko Henttonen (ND Environmental Partnership), what does the future of the Northern Dimension area look like in terms of environmental conditions?

New investments in wastewater treatment in Belarus

Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) grant agreements to improve wastewater treatment in the Belarusian cities of Lida and Polotsk were signed on 19 December in Minsk.

HELCOM meeting: Greenlighting assessment tools and indicators for State of the Baltic Sea report

​​​​​​​Delegations representing all Baltic coastal states as well as the EU meet this week at HELCOM headquarters to discuss and decide on the best measures for improving the Baltic marine environment.

The meeting participants will face major decisions required for completing HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea report Draft Recommendations on sewage sludge and conservation of underwater biotopes and habitats are expecting agreement. The 2-day meeting will also discuss the final plans for the HELCOM high-level segment on ocean-related Sustainable Development Goals, taking place on 28 February 2017.

Read more on the meeting, its targets and future work on HELCOM website.

Risks of oil spills closely mon­itored in the Gulf of Fin­land

The Gulf of Finland has the highest risk of oil spills in the Baltic Sea. Working under the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, the Working Group on Risks of Maritime Activities in the Baltic Sea focuses on developing tools which will enable different institutions to understand the risks.

The Gulf of Finland is a narrow marine area with a great deal of traffic. The biggest environmental risk is posed by the heavy traffic of oil tankers from Russian harbours. 

Working under the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Working Group on Risks of Maritime Activities in the Baltic Sea is developing scientific tools which will support the decision-making related to oil risks.

Read more on the Working group on University of Helsinki website.

Study: Quantifying global soil carbon losses in response to warming

The first global study of soil carbon loss due to warming, finds that an additional 55 trillion kilograms of soil carbon could be added to the atmosphere between now and 2050. This is equivalent to as much as 17 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions during this same period. Most of it would come from Arctic and subarctic soils.

The study was published in Nature and presented in High North News.

Publication: Arctic Resilience Assessment

The Arctic Resilience Assessment (ARA) is an Arctic Council project led by the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. It builds on collaboration with Arctic countries and Indigenous Peoples in the region, as well as several Arctic scientific organizations. The ARA (previously Arctic Resilience Report) was approved as an Arctic Council project at the Senior Arctic Officials meeting in November 2011. The ARA was initiated by the Swedish Ministry of the Environment as a priority for the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (May 2011 to May 2013) and is being delivered under the US Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Download the assessment on Arctic Council website.

Reducing the amount of plastic waste in Baltic Sea - BLASTIC project

The BLASTIC project (2016-2018) aims at reducing plastic waste and, thereby, the inflow of hazardous substances into the Baltic Sea by mapping and monitoring the amounts of litter in the aquatic environment.

The BLASTIC project demonstrates how plastic waste in urban areas finds its way to the Baltic Sea and becomes marine litter. Land-based sources count for most of the marine litter, while rivers are major pathways feeding the sea with litter. In practice, the project takes regional and national strategies into use on a local level and also produces updated local action plans. The project also provides a methodology for mapping the most important sources and pathways of marine plastic litter and monitoring litter in rivers and coastal waters/areas.

Read more about the project on the website.

Improving wastewater management in the Baltic Sea Region - IWAMA project

IWAMA aims at improving resource efficiency in wastewater management of the region. The project actions are distributed along three main fields: capacity development, smart energy management and smart sludge management.

The intention of IWAMA is working together to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. In the publication, a visualisation of the scope of the project is present on the map, picturing the geographical locations of 17 project partners and 12 associated partners from 10 countries of the Baltic Sea Region. To strengthen the flow of knowledge and experience, the partners of IWAMA are united to provide the region with inspiration through the Baltic Sea Challenge network.

Download the IWAMA infograph leaflet on the UBC Sustainable Citied website.

A holistic take on climate solutions: Green Growth Magazine published

A holistic take on climate solutions

Sustainable building and liveable, smart and sustainable cities are a priority area in the Nordic collaboration, which offers many examples of comprehensive solutions with people in focus. In this edition of “Green Growth the Nordic Way” you can learn about how smart Nordic energy solutions to common urban issues shorten the route towards the Nordic carbon-neutral scenario – a scenario that need not cost the earth to implement.

The Nordic market is a living laboratory for climate-smart solutions. In a preview of the Nordic Green to Scale project, we present some Nordic low-carbon success stories that, if they were scaled up in other parts of the world, could make a substantial contribution to attainment of the goals in the Paris Agreement. You can also read about the Nordic Prime Ministers’ initiative for tackling climate change and other global challenges.

Download the publication on this website.

Helcom seminar in EUSBSR Strategy forum: More transparency and political leadership

Marine environment protection was high in the agenda of the EUSBSR Strategy Forum in Stockholm 8.-9.11.2016. The regional work by the sectors – shipping, ports, tourism, agriculture, wastewater management, fisheries and aquaculture – to protect the Baltic marine environment was debated about in a seminar hosted by HELCOM.

Read the whole article on HELCOM website.

New Nordic-Russian co-operation programme on the environment and climate

The Nordic Ministers for the Environment have launched a new co-operation programme aimed at improving the state of the environment and addressing climate change in Northwest Russia. The programme will support a range of projects at the local and regional level and is expected to yield environmental benefits even in in the Nordic and Baltic regions.

The programme will be launched in early 2017 with a call for proposals targeted at non-commercial environmental and climate projects involving partners from the Nordic countries and Northwest Russia. Read more on the Norden website.

NDEP Nuclear Window in Action on Andreeva Bay

The clean-up of Andreeva Bay is being financed through grants from the framework of Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership. Partner governments, like Norway, the European Commission and other donors have contributed with large amounts of money.

About 22,000 spent nuclear fuel elements from the operation of Soviet submarines are stored in three dilapidated concrete tanks a few hundred meters from shore on Russia's Barents Sea coast. That is equal to around 100 reactor cores. No other place in the world has such a large amount of highly radioactive uranium fuel stored under such poor conditions. Removing the waste-elements is considered to be the riskiest nuclear-safety operation ever undertaken in the Russian north.

Read the whole story on Arctic Now website

EBRD supports improved quality of water supply in Belarus - investment grants from NDEP

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing loans for the total amount of €21 million to rehabilitate water supply and wastewater infrastructure in three Belarusian towns with a total population of over 400.000 people.

The loans are extended under the €40 million Belarus Water Sector Framework, which will also be expanded to other municipalities across the country. It will help modernise water and wastewater treatment facilities, rehabilitate corresponding networks, modernise pumping stations and finance the purchase of maintenance equipment in the towns of Lida, Polotsk and Orsha.

Subprojects of €6 million in Lida (western Belarus) and of €9 million in Polotsk (northern Belarus) will help local utilities comply with EU standards for wastewater treatment and will follow recommendations by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission to bring significant environmental benefits to the local population and reduce the pollution of the Baltic Sea basin. The Polotsk subproject also envisages the construction of a brand new wastewater treatment facility.

The subprojects will be co-financed by investment grants of €3 million and €4.21 million, respectively, provided by the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership. Pre-investment feasibility studies for both Lida and Polotsk were implemented with the help of technical cooperation funds provided by the government of Sweden.

Read more on the EBRD website.

New HELCOM assessment on networks of marine protected areas

The Baltic Sea has in terms of areal coverage the highest protection of all European marine regions; 12% of the HELCOM area is designated as marine protected areas (MPAs) thus, the target set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity of conserving at least 10% of coastal and marine areas has been reached in the Baltic Sea.

The network of coastal and marine protected areas in the Baltic Sea, or HELCOM MPAs, is however not yet ecologically coherent, concludes the new HELCOM assessment. A coherent network, an achievement only possible through cooperation between the Baltic Sea countries, would ensure that the MPAs in the Baltic Sea are providing protection beyond the individual sites. Satisfactory coherence is important as it would contribute significantly to the biological diversity in the Baltic Sea and to favourable status of habitats and species, which are both major goals for HELCOM.

Read more and download the assessment on HELCOM website.

Assessing the Status of Sustainable Development in the Baltic Sea Region: A Macro-Regional Perspective

This background study is aimed at enabling fruitful cooperation between the Baltic Sea States in implementing and pursuing the 2030 Agenda and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and serves as a resource for developing governance for sustainable development in the region. Further, the report includes suggestions on how to organise the work for the global SD Goals in the future.

Download the study on Council of the Baltic Sea website.

Publication: Sustainable Development in the Baltic Sea Region - Focus on Education

The current, fifteenth issue of the journal “Studia Periegetica” is entirely devoted to the matters of education for sustainable development. It particularly focuses on research, practical implementation and educational solutions in the area of education for sustainable development applied in the Baltic Sea Region. Authors of the papers take into account academic activities, public administration entities and companies located in this region.

Download the journal on this link.

Increased NDEP grant for wastewater treatment in Gatchina, Russia

The second phase of a comprehensive wastewater treatment investment programme in Gatchina, Russia took a major leap forward today when a grant agreement worth EUR 500,000 was signed between the local waterworks Gatchina Vodokanal and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP). The grant is intended to facilitate investments related to modernisation of the plant’s biological treatment lines and the improvement of phosphorus and nitrogen removal.
 
“Considering the local commitment and all the investments and improvements which have been carried out so far, I think it is fair to say that Gatchina is a symbol of success that will serve as a good example for other cities in the region,” said Jaakko Henttonen, Adviser to the EBRD.

Read more about the programme on NEFCO website.

BONUS BaltCoast published the first special issue of the Coastal & Marine Magazine

The BONUS BaltCoast project published the first out of three special issues of the Coastal & Marine Magazine.

“Recalling ICZM – Insights from the Baltic” gives an introduction to the BONUS BaltCoast project, as well as to a Systems Approach Framework for the sustainable management of the Baltic Sea, which is implemented by the project. The issue sets a special focus on the re-analysis of ICZM case studies in the Baltic Sea Region. The PDF is available under: http://www.baltcoast.net/dissemination/publications-via-coastal-marine-magazine.html

Review of the Gulf of Finland’s status published

The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE has published an assessment of the Gulf of Finland, compiling the research results of over a hundred Finnish, Russian and Estonian researchers. The over 300-page publication includes recent information on issues such as eutrophication, hazardous substances, invasive species, noise, maritime traffic, and plastic waste. The publication is the most important result of the Gulf of Finland Year arranged by the countries.

The publication includes for the first time a comprehensive collection of material on the status of the Gulf of Finland over a long period of time, collected by the three countries.

Read the full report on the website.

International Conference on Arctic Science: First Announcement and Call for Abstracts

The 2017 Conference will be held on April 24-27.

Topics Addressed:
• The Arctic Cryosphere – Past, Present and Future Climate Change and related Impacts
• Pollution in the Arctic – Sources, Pathways and Effects
• Human Health Aspects of Pollution and Climate Change
• Arctic Ocean Acidification – Current and Future Processes and Consequences
• Global and Arctic Systems Feedback Mechanisms – Science and Consequences
• Resilience Within Arctic Ecosystems
• Science and Policy-Making – Successful Deployment of Multilateral Adaptation,
Mitigation and Climate Intervention Science Policy
• Socio-Economic Drivers and Impacts of Arctic Change

Read more from AMAP website.

Energy Efficiency Call 2016 is now open

New funding opportunities: Energy Efficiency Call 2016

Horizon 2020 topics facilitating the market uptake of energy technologies and services, fostering social innovation, removing non-technological barriers, promoting standards and accelerating the cost effective implementation of the Union's energy policies, have opened.

Read more and apply on the EASME website.

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