The list of Hot Spots was defined in a report by the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) in collaboration with the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) in 2003. Barents Environmental Hot Spots are major polluters and/or ecological risk issues. The experts have foreseen a potential for environmentally significant investment projects in these objects.
In 2005, the Ministers of Еnvironment of the four Barents countries - Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden - defined the goal to start launching investment projects in all of the 42 Barents environmental Hot Spots by 2013 with the aim of eliminating these Hot Spots. In 2010, a procedure for exclusion of the Environmental Hot Spots from the list was presented to the Ministers of Environment.
The exclusion projects improve water supply and sewage systems of towns and villages, improve wastewater treatment and waste management, promote energy saving and reduce airborne emissions.
The hot spots are situated in the Russian part of the Barents region that comprises Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Oblasts, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and the Republics of Karelia and Komi.