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Results of a scientific and practical workshop "the Green Belt of Fennoscandia: current situation and future prospects"

On June 9-11, 2008 an international scientific and practical seminar called The Green Belt of Fennoscandia: current situation and future prospects took place in Petrozavodsk (RF). The seminar was organized by RAS Karelian Scientific Center, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fish Industry and Ecology of the Republic of Karelia and the Kostomukshsky State Nature Reserve with the participation of the Finnish Ministry of Environment and the Finnish-Russian Working Group on Nature Conservation. More than 80 experts from Russia and Finland attended the workshop.

Participants of the workshop listened and discussed reports and speeches concerning the following issues: current situation and future prospects of the Green Belt zone, socioeconomic development of its individual territories, biodiversity conservation, methods to reveal valuable natural sites and complexes. They also surveyed the information available about natural characteristics of the Green Belt and the results of researches made within the framework of the Russian-Finnish cross-border cooperation in the spheres of environmental protection, cultural exchange and economic development. As a result, among other conclusions of the workshop, it is considered reasonable to continue work on the preparation of a serial transboundary nomination the Green Belt of Fennoscandia (see Preparation of the nomination "The Green Belt of Fennoscandia" (Final Report) doc).

The workshop resulted in the following decisions:

  1. Information concerning current situation, accumulated experience and problems in the field of nature conservation and socioeconomic management of the Green Belt area shall be taken into consideration.
  2. The Green Belt project shall be considered as a possibility to establish an integral ecological-and-economic area where the process of conservation of unique northern nature will be harmonized with historical and cultural specificity of local population and with the interests of economic development of administrative units.
  3. The importance should be noted of maintaining and strengthening of natural links between Specially Protected Areas (SPA) composing the Green Belt of Fennoscandia (GBF), and links between the GBF, Pan-European ecological network and woodlands in the north-west of Russia by means of the development of a network of regional SPAs and conservation of riparian forests.
  4. It is recommended to the RAS Karelian Scientific Center and the Environmental Center of Finland to prepare, within the scope of their respective duties, proposals concerning the composition of the working group to elaborate an international interregional target programme on the establishment and development of GBF. The programme is oriented to nature and culture conservation and economic development of territories involved in the project as well as to pool the data on environmental and social situation in the region.
  5. The project shall contribute to the development of inter-SPA and "SPA - local organizations" cooperation, such as cooperation in establishing Biosphere Reserves. The participants encouraged the initiative of the Kostomukshsky Reserve and the Authority of the Kostomuksha City to create a biosphere reserve within the borders of Muyezersky and Kalevalsky Rayons and the city of Kostomuksha.
  6. The work on the preparation of a serial transboundary UNESCO WH nomination The Green Belt of Fennoscandiashall be continued.
  7. It is considered necessary to accelerate the establishment within the Green Belt area of key (backbone) SPAs, such as the Ingermanlandsky Reserve (Leningradskaya Oblast') and the Ladoga Skerries NP (Republic of Karelia) as well as a number of Russian regional-level SPAs and the Kalevala Park in Finland, which is to be composed of some of the Natura 2000 SPAs.
  8. The importance should be noted of contribution from public organizations and municipal units from border districts towards the development of GBF.
  9. The GBF web-page shall be created within the GAP analysis in the Russian North-West web site (RAS Karelian Scientific Center web portal). It is recommended to the participants to deliver their presentations for further placement on the site.
  10. The proceedings of the workshop shall be published as a fascicle (the Biogeography series) by the RAS Karelian Scientific Center.
  11. It is considered expedient to prepare in 2009 a book the Green Belt of Fennoscandia: from idea to implementation (15-year work experience).
  12. It is recommended to the participants to prepare materials on GBF issues for mass media; it is also recommended to the Green Leaf environmental newspaper to prepare a special issue dedicated to GBF.
  13. The workshop shall be made a regular event and it shall be hold no less than once in 2-3 years.
  14. The participants are pleased to note a high level of organization of the workshop. They express their gratitude to the management of RAS Karelian Scientific Center, Environmental Center of Finland and the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve.