The mandate of the Regional Working Group on Environment (RWGE) is to work as a consultative body on environmental issues to the Working Group of Environment (WGE). There is close co-operation between the RWGE and the WGE. The WGE may also submit suggestions and give mandates to the RWGE on implementation of special projects. The RWGE and WGE may initiate environmental projects within the Barents Region. Once in two years the Chair of the RWGE is reporting to the Ministers of the Environment of Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland in the Ministerial Conference about the results of the RWGE’s activity during the last two years.
Water quality and biodiversity in the Barents Region have been the highlighted areas of action of the RWGE. The overall goal is to strengthen and coordinate multilateral regional co-operation in the Barents region. This will be done by project implementation and information exchange on several environmental topics. There are many environmental projects carried out by the organisations, which are taking part in the Barents environmental co-operation, such as projects on forestry impacts on surface waters, Atlantic salmon resources and climate change.
Efforts to improve the environmental situation in the area around the Pechenganikel industrial complex close to the Pasvik river are an important part of the work of the RWGE. The Pechenganikel industrial complex is the main threat to the aquatic and terrestrial environments in the Finnish, Norwegian, and Russian border area.
In two phases between 2003-2014 the regional authorities in the counties of Finnmark, Lapland, and Murmansk in collaboration with research institutes completed a joint monitoring project, Pasvik Monitoring Program. The objective of the program was to develop and implement an environmental monitoring and assessment program in the border areas.
The long-term objective of the Pasvik program has been to ensure that the monitoring data covering the state of the environment is reliable, comparable and available to authorities, environmental experts and local people in the border areas. Since 2014, the follow-up of the Pasvik program has been executed under the updated programme,
Environmental Monitoring Programme for Aquatic Ecosystems in the Norwegian, Finnish and Russian Border Area.
TEC - Trilateral cooperation on Environmental Challenges in the Joint Border Area
List of Environmental projects, implemented in the Barents region since 1995 (updated 2013)
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