The Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen officially concluded the 13th Meeting of the Environmental Ministers under the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, which is taking place in Vadsø, Norway on 29-30 November. The delegations are led by the Ministers of the Environment of Norway and Sweden, Permanent Secretary of the Finnish Ministry and Adviser to the Minister of Natural Resources of Russia. Senior officials, representatives of indigenous peoples, regional authorities, and other invited guests are attending the meeting.
Family Photo (IBS)
The Ministerial meeting is finalizing the Norwegian Chairmanship of the BEAC Working Group on Environment (WGE) in 2016-2017. During the meeting, the main results from the work of the WGE in the Norwegian Chairmanship have been presented.
Further elimination of the Barents Environmental Hot Spots in the Russian part of the Barents Region has been the main priority of the WGEs Subgroup on Hot Spots Exclusion. The Barents Hot Spots list from 2003 describes 42 serious environmental problems in the Russian part of the Barents region. Three new hot spots have now been excluded from the list: Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill (A4), Reduction of dust emissions by Vorkuta cement plant (Ko2-1) and Wood processing industry waste management in the nine forest districts of the Komi Republic (Ko7).
Photo (IBS): Participants of the Ministerial meeting visited in the Vardø Vessel Traffic Center.
The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation's (NEFCO) fund Barents Hot Spot Facility is important to facilitate environmental improvements in the Barents environmental hot spots and to implement Support Activities aiming at competence enhancement of regional authorities and enterprisers.
The main activities of the WGEs Subgroups on Nature Protection and Water Issues included the 9th Habitat Contact Forum (HCF), arranged in 2017 in Oulu, further development of the Green Belt of Fennoscandia and the Barents Protected Area Network (BPAN). BPAN has completed the project's second phase, which focuses on marine and coastal cooperation and forest protection. Five new project applications were accepted for funding through the EU cross-border cooperation financial instruments, Nordic Council of Ministers and North Calotte Programmes.
Cooperation on Climate change issues has been one of the priorities of the Norwegian Chairmanship. The Action Plan on Climate Change for the Barents Cooperation has been updated with new climate related projects up to 2020, proposed by the BEAC Working Groups. Another main climate initiative of the WGE is the study "Barents 2050", conducted by the Finnish research institute VTT. The study aims to describe how the Barents region can make the transition to a low carbon society where the goals of Paris agreement on climate change are fulfilled. The goal is to identify challenges, risks and opportunities for the main economic sectors in the region, and how the Barents region can contribute to achieving the goals of the Paris agreement.
The meeting is ending with handing over the Chairmanship of the BEAC Working Group on Environment to Sweden, followed by a presentation of tasks for the coming two years by the Minister Karolina Skog. The Swedish Chairmanship will further work on exclusion of the Barents Environmental Hot Spots, follow-up the “Barents 2050” and the Action Plan on Climate Change, continue emphasizing regional cooperation and finalize the Strategy for Protection of Intact Forest.
Photo (IBS): Vidar Helgesen (Minister, Norway) hands over the symbol of the Chairmanship in WGE to Karolina Skog (Minister, Sweden).
Ministerial Declaration English / Russian
Ministerial Meeting documents