Exploring the Northern Dimension

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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…

Baltic Leadership Programme on Youth and Bioeconomy

Do you work in the field of bioeconomy and are you interested in how to integrate youth perspectives into your everyday work? Are you looking for innovative solutions to foster the necessary transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based society and economy? Are you a member of a youth organisation with a strong engagement in the field of bioeconomy and sustainability?

The Baltic Leadership Programme on Youth and Bioeconomy addresses the need to better integrate younger generations into the field of bioeconomy. Youth (up to 30 years of age) are vital for renewing and innovating the sector, which is necessary in the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based society/economy. Today, however, there is a lack of necessary links and methods for attracting and involving youth.

In response to this, the Swedish Institute, together with its cooperation partners, is developing a training programme to tackle the challenges of youth participation in the bioeconomy sector.

Main cornerstones of the programme
  • Inclusion and cooperation
  • Peer learning and mentoring
  • Network building

Crosscutting themes
  • Stakeholder involvement and multi-actor participation
  • Complex thinking (sustainability and stakeholder models – setting up interlinkages)
  • Communicating complex ideas
 
How do I register?
The application period is 29 June–22 August 2018. Follow the link to submit your application.
For more information contact Gabor Schneider, gabor.schneider(at)si.se, Tel: +46-8-453 78 59, Mobile: +46-732-318521
 
Is my organisation eligible?
The programme is targeting representatives of youth organisations as well as those of organisations working with bioeconomy in the Baltic Sea Region. We look forward to receiving applications from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Iceland as well as the German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.

Programme timeline
Digital Kick Off: 24 October 2018, (13–14.30 CET)
Module 1: 21–23 November 2018 in Stockholm
Online Session: 10 January 2019 (13.30–16.30 CET)
Module 2: 21–23 January 2019 in Vilnius
 
More informetion here (link)

2018 Environment and resources Information Days - calls 2019

Information and networking days on the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020, Challenge "Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency & Raw Materials" - 2019 calls - will take place on 11 and 12 September 2018 in Brussels in the European Commission's Charlemagne building, rue de la Loi 170.

The event targets potential applicants to the 2019 calls for project proposals under the Horizon 2020 Challenge 5 "Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials".

Agenda, registration and more info here (link).

Finland to chair HELCOM next two years

Finland’s Chairmanship of the Baltic Sea Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission HELCOM) started in the beginning of July. The key task of the two-year Chairmanship is to update the Baltic Sea Action Plan launched in 2007. Measures should be included that enable to achieve a good environmental status for the Baltic Sea by 2030.
 
On the Finnish initiative HELCOM will prepare a regional nutrient recycling strategy for the Baltic Sea. The aim of the strategy is that valuable nutrients are in efficient use and prevent them from being lost to waters. Practical measures will be included in the Action Plan to reduce nutrient inputs.
 
Climate change will maintain, or even increase, eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. It will also have impacts on the distribution of living organisms and attaining the objectives set for the protection. The work of HELCOM must be further strengthened to understand the impacts and minimise harm and damage. Climate change and adaptation will be one of the key issues in updating the Action Plan. HELCOM activities are to be linked to a wider context for work on sustainable development, i.e. implementing of the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

NCM published Nordic Bioeconomy Programme: 15 Action Points for Sustainable Change

Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordic Council of Ministers Secretariat have published the Nordic Bioeconomy Programme: 15 Action Points for Sustainable Change, which combines environmental, social and economic ambitions for a more sustainable Region. The bioeconomy is of fundamental importance to the national economies of the Nordic countries, and especially important for rural development in large parts of the Region. The programme aims to create new industries and value chains and to facilitate and guide the transition of bio-based industries into technology advanced industries, and to optimise the production and value creation of biomass. The programme sets out a vision for the Nordic bioeconomy based on four pillars:
  • competitive bio-based industries
  • sustainable resource management
  • resilient and diverse ecosystems
  • inclusive economic development
To reach this vision, the programme defines 15 action points under three thematic areas: Innovate – Accelerate – Network. The focus is on development of new policies on regional, national and Nordic level, for increased funding, better education, labelling and certificates, bioeconomy clusters and several other areas. The programme also contains an appendix with sustainability principles that can be seen as a step towards developing common ground and good practices for a sustainable bioeconomy in the Nordic Region.
 
Read the Programme at the NCM website.
 

Publication: The Rapidly Developing Nordic Bioeconomy: Exerpt from State of the Nordic Region 2018

Nordic Council of Ministers has published a reprint of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ State of the Nordic Region 2018 about the Nordic Bioeconomy.
 
Authors:
  • Refsgaard, Karen
  • Teräs, Jukka
  • Kull, Michael
  • Oddsson, Geir
  • Jóhannesson, Torfi
  • Kristensen, Iryna
 
Abstract:
The Rapidly Developing Nordic Bioeconomy is a reprint of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ State of the Nordic Region 2018. The new bioeconomy, and the general shift from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy, is an area with vast potential for the entire Nordic Region, although it is more relevant to some geographical areas than to others.
 
The publication maps the scale and distribution of bio-based industries, such as forestry, fisheries, aquaculture and biogas production and contains informative and concise description of the Nordic Bioeconomy.
 
You can find the publication here.
 

NCM Publication: Baltic 2030 Bumps on the Road: How the Baltic Sea States are performing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The report Baltic 2030: Bumps on the Road provides an overview of the 2030 Agenda implementation in the Baltic Sea Region, aimed at informing strategy and prioritisation discussions for national and regional collaboration. For each of the region’s eleven countries, performance on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is examined and five selected SDGs are discussed at the indicator level. Based on this analysis, the authors recommend seven avenues for action where greater collaboration in the region can support SDG achievement. The report was commissioned by the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and is jointly published by CBSS and the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM). It was drafted by the advisory firm Nordic Sustainability and follows the previous Bumps on the Road to 2030 report published by the NCM in 2017.
 

Call for Proposals: Raising awareness of climate change and its impacts among young people of Northern Dimension regions

Raising awareness of climate change and its impacts among young people of Northern Dimension regions - 2018 Call for Proposals

Contributing to the environmental education of young people in the Northern Dimension regions , thus increasing awareness of the population in the environmental issues and ensuring thoughtful handling of the environmental challenges

Deadline: 21/05/2018 at 15:30 (Brussels date and time)

More information can be found here (PDF).

Maritime activities in the Baltic Sea assessed in HELCOM report

HELCOM released in March 2018 the most comprehensive assessment of maritime activities in the Baltic Sea region currently available – covering distribution of activities at sea, developments over time, related environmental issues as well as future perspectives and scenarios. The vast number of activities addressed include operational and accidental pollution from maritime traffic, fisheries, aquaculture, offshore energy production, cables and pipelines, submerged hazardous objects, and leisure boating.

Read the HELCOM Maritime Assessment 2018here.

Watch a video to see how EBRD and NDEP help Russia to remove spent nuclear fuel in the Russian Arctic

Spent nuclear fuel assemblies stored at Andreeva Bay in Northwest Russia are being removed thanks to work done by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP).

The first shipment of spent nuclear fuel left the base in Andreeva Bay in June 2017, marking a crucial milestone in overcoming the legacy of the former Soviet Northern Fleet and its nuclear-powered submarines.

Under an international initiative financed by the Nuclear Window of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) over 22,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies, which are currently stored at Andreeva Bay, will be retrieved, packaged and removed from the site. The process is being carried out by SevRAO, part of Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom.

The Nuclear Window is part of the NDEP’s Support Fund, which was set up in July 2002 by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to pool contributions from donors for the improvement of the environment in north-west Russia.

The spent nuclear fuel comes from over 100 reactors from more than 50 nuclear submarines and has been stored at Andreeva Bay for the past 35 years. The radioactive material is currently held in dry storage units, some of which are damaged and leaking. The base was closed in 1992 and poses a serious environmental risk.

The strategy for removing the spent fuel from the dry storage units was developed by Russia and international experts under funding from the United Kingdom in 2002, and included building an enclosure over the dry storage units, retrieval of the spent fuel using a machine to provide protection for staff at all times, and repacking the spent fuel into new canisters. The canisters are subsequently transferred to specialised 40-tonne casks for further transportation.

The casks will be stored in the so-called accumulation pad and then transported to the pier by a purpose-built 50-tonne trolley. A specially designed pier crane will load them onto the Rossita, a ship built in – and financed by – Italy and designed to standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the transportation of spent nuclear fuel.

From Andreeva Bay the casks will be shipped by the Rossita to Murmansk. Here the cargo will be moved to purpose-built railway wagons and transported to its final destination, the nuclear reprocessing plant Mayak in Chelyabinsk near the Ural Mountains. Mayak has the necessary infrastructure and skilled resources for the final handling of the spent nuclear fuel.

This video tells the story of EBRD's and NDEP's work to help Russia overcome the legacy of the Soviet nuclear fleet.

Newsletter from Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership available

Main topics:

  • New wastewater treatment plant for Kaliningrad
  • Construction starts in Brest - Interview with Kersti Talving, Senior Manager, NIB
  • NDEP nuclar window: First shipment of spent nuclear fuel from Andreeva Bay

Plus

  • NDEP projects in brief

Read the NDEP Newsletter here.

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.

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