New Barents project improves the state of environment within the transboundary river basins
The subgroups on Water Issues and Nature Protection under the Working Group on Environment launch a new project to strengthen the joint management and planning within the Pasvik and Grense Jakobselv river basins. The new project, Cross-border Dialogue and Multi-Use Planning in the Pasvik and Grense Jakobselv catchements, has been granted funding from the Kolarctic CBC programme along with 10 other new initiatives.
The Pasvik and Grense Jakobselv rivers make an ideal target for cross-border cooperation, since the two rivers are located in the very border area between Finland, Russia and Norway. The Grense Jakobselv river forms the northernmost 35 kilometers of the Norwegian-Russian border, and the Pasvik river makes up to 112 kilometers of the same border, originating from the lake Inari in Finland.
The two river basins are exposed to pollution from industrial and economic activities near and far. Mining is a big industry in all of the three countries, the biggest actor being the Pechenga-Nikel plant operating in the cities of Zapolyarny and Nikel in Russia. In addition to local emissions, the area is also exposed to long distance transported airborne pollution.
Within the new trilateral project, the authorities from Finnmark, Murmansk and Lapland will establish a new Programme of Measures (PoM) for the years 2020-2030. The decade-long joint programme will serve to identify, prioritize and coordinate the future environmental measures in the area. Detailed joint planning is crucial, since all the participating countries have different management practices and environmental legislation – Finland being a member of the European Union, Norway being a member of the European Economic Area and Russia not being member of either.
The Pasvik river and valley have been a long-term prioirity in the environmental Barents cooperation. Read more about the Pasvik programme here.