UNEP/GEF Project - Russian Federation: Support to the National Programme of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment

3d Steering Committee Meeting

March 25-26, 2009
NEFCO, Fabianinkatu 34, Helsinki, Finland




on the Third Meeting of the Project Steering Committee



Prepared by:                   the Project Office

Status:                              approved by Project Steering Committee



Table of Annexes

List of Participants 
Agenda of the Meeting    
Progress Report on Project Implementation for the Period from May 2007 to March 2009
The Strategic Action Program for Protection of the Environment of the Russian Federation Arctic Zone (SAP-Arctic)
Progress Report on Implementation of BASES-Demo project   
Progress Report on Implementation of COMAN-Demo project
Progress Report on Implementation of KOLABAY-Pilot project



The 3rd meeting of the Steering Committee for the UNEP/GEF Project “Russian Federation - Support to the National Programme of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment” took place in Helsinki, Finland from 25 to 26 of March, 2009 in NEFCO conference room. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Boris Morgunov, the Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation who represented the Executing Agency (EA).

Meeting started at 10.00 on March 25, 2009. A list of the Project Steering Committee (StC) meeting’s participants is given in Annex I to this report.

Agenda item 1. Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agenda

Mr. Morgunov welcomed participants and proposed to adopt the agenda of the Steering Committee meeting prepared by the Project Office in consultation with both Implementing and Executing Agencies.

The meeting adopted the agenda.

The agenda of the meeting is attached as Annex II to the report.

Agenda item 2. Progress report on implementation of the Project

The Information on progress of the Project implementation has been prepared by the Project Office (PO) for the reporting period from May 2007 to the end of March 2009 and has been circulated to StC members together with all other documents prepared by the Project Office to the 3rd meeting of the Project Steering Committee.

The main Project achievements for the reported period were:

  • consideration and approval of the SAP concept at second IAWG meeting;
  • distribution of the document for comments and co-ordinations among Russian federal and regional authorities, nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and main industrial companies making business in the Russian Arctic;
  • further elaboration and detalization of the draft SAP-Arctic document adjusted to all comments, remarks and suggestions received;
  •  consideration of the next draft of the SAP-Arctic document at third IAWG meeting. All remarks and suggestions, made by IAWG members at the third meeting have been taken into account in the draft SAP document presented to this StC meeting by PO.

An updated list of hot spots for the Russian Arctic was also prepared; three tenders for preparation of regional pre-investment studies (PINS) were held and the selection process was completed. Three lead cooperating organizations (LCO) for PINS implementation in western, central and eastern Russian Arctic regions were selected and started their assessments in September – October 2008.

Two mentioned in the Project Document (PD) main demo projects have already been completed. PO is expecting to receive a final report on the CLEANUP pilot project in the nearest future. One of the additional pilot projects has also been finalised. Two others are in the middle of their implementation.

Project Office has launched the third Project component – Development and Improvement of Environmental Protection System (EPS) – actually, in advance of schedule. The implementation of this component had been planned for Phase II of the Project. To date, nearly all EPS consultants have already been contracted and the stage devoted to analysis of legislation of the arctic countries and to the identification of gaps in the Russian legislation is close to its completion.

The Project Office has established good working relationship with Arctic regional administrations and non-governmental organizations. Some of them sent their proposals for new demo and pilot projects.

The meeting approved Progress Report on the Project implementation and requested the Project Office to prepare:

  •  a brochure on the UNEP/GEF Project NPA-Arctic implementation for the upcoming meetings of the Arctic Council;
  • a format of information materials about the UNEP/GEF Project NPA-Arctic, to agree this format with StC members and to design basing on the agreed format the information materials for their presentation at different international and national forums.

The Progress Report on the Project implementation is enclosed as an Annex III.

Agenda item 3. Expected results of the Project Phase I as of the Project Document and reasonability of their adjustment

Project Manager (PM) informed the StC members that in the judgment of the Executing Agency and IAWG members the benchmarks envisaged in the Project Document for the Phase I have gone out of date. As a matter of fact, the Project implementation went beyond the scope outlined in the PD for the Phase I and comprised already most of components planned previously for the Phase II.

The EA suggested a new edition of benchmarks which were reviewed by StC members. The following benchmarks has been approved and adopted as major outcomes for the Project Phase I:

  • Project Management: Project implementation structures established, including Project Office, Project Steering Committee, Project Supervisory Council and Inter-Agency Working Group.

  • Strategic Action Programme: Strategic Action Programme fully developed and endorsed by relevant stakeholders. Diagnostic analysis document prepared and ready for publication in English and Russian.

  • Pre-investment Studies: Hot spots list updated and finalised. Pre-investment studies successfully carried out and interest of financial institutions preliminary confirmed.

  • Improving Environment Protection System: Report on gap analysis of the environmental legislation applicable to the Russian Arctic with recommendations on improvements prepared and submitted to the Russian Government.

  • Demo and Pilot Projects: Demonstration activities in accordance with the original Project Document fully implemented. New demonstration and pilot projects approved by the Steering Committee prepared and implemented.

  • Project Phase I Evaluation: Project results for all components evaluated by Interagency Working Group. Independent evaluation of the project completed confirming satisfactory implementation of the Project Phase I.

Agenda item 4. Strategic Action Program for Protection of Environment in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation (SAP-Arctic)

PM presented English version of the draft SAP document. In his presentation PM noted that the first official draft of the SAP document has been finalised, approved by Executing and Implementing Agencies and discussed at the 2nd IAWG meeting. The SAP document was reworked in accordance with IAWG recommendations and distributed among Russian federal and regional authorities, NGO and main industrial companies operating in the Russian Arctic. Most responses were positive but some of them with valuable comments and recommendations, which were taken into account by the SAP Task Team (TT). Revised version of the SAP was discussed at the 3rd meeting of IAWG, improved according to its comments and would be distributed again in April among all interested parties. Diagnostic analysis of environmental problems of the Russian Arctic (DA) and Causal Chain Analysis (CCA) are in process of preparation for publication.

PO is looking for support in international promotion of the document and hoping for constructive comments and remarks on the document from StC members and particularly on English, which should be improved in some places.

In following discussion the StC members highly appreciated the work done by PO and the presented SAP document. At the same time, some comments focusing mainly on the financial and institutional mechanisms of the SAP implementation in the Russian Arctic were delivered by StC members. In particular, it has to be emphasised the very important role of PSI of the Arctic Ñouncil, EBRD, NDEP and WB for practical implementation of the SAP-Arctic.

The Meeting decided:

  • to approve a framework of the current draft of the SAP-Arctic document;
  • PO should finalise the document taking into account received from the StC meeting comments, paying special attention to improvement of both the section on financial and institutional mechanisms for the SAP-Arctic practical implementation and on indicators for long-term objectives;
  • StC members send their additional comments (if available) in writing on the SAP document to PO in the nearest future (two weeks) by email.

The draft SAP-Arctic document is enclosed in Annex IV to this report.


Agenda item 5. Progress report on implementation of the Project component - Pre-investment studies

A list of existing hot spots identified at PDF-B stage in the Russian Arctic has been updated. A new list of 100 hot spots has been prepared and a prioritized short list of hot spots (30 hot spots) potential subjects for pre-investment studies implementation has been prepared. Database with description of Russian Arctic hot spots was designed and uploaded on the Project website (http://www.npa-arctic.ru/rus/hs/hs_list_ru.html).

Three tenders for preparation of regional pre-investment studies have been carried out and three lead cooperating organizations with good international reputation for PINS implementation in western, central and eastern Russian Arctic regions have been selected. Contracts with the following bid-winners have been concluded: Royal Haskoning Ltd for Western Arctic (Kola Peninsula and Franz Josef Land), Ramboll Storvik AS for Central Arctic (Arkhangelsk Region, Nenets and Yamalo-Nenets autonomous regions and Komi Republic) and ERM Eurasia Ltd for Eastern region (Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya) and Chukchi Autonomous Region). After signing of the contracts kick-off meetings were held in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Syktyvkar. All three companies started their activities and have already completed the first phases stipulated in the contracts.

During followed discussion the importance of PINS component was emphasized and it was noted that the main output of the component would be investors involvment for investment projects implementation. For example, NEFCO in cooperation with Norway have already some investment proposals. StC members also suggested PO to liaise in the nearest future with other national and international groups committed themselves to the same activities what would provide a unique platform for synergy of the PO efforts in PINS component implementation and would help to avoid undesirable duplication. It was also mentioned that an International Investment Forum (Partnership conference) on the outcomes of PINS component implementation will be held after completion the PINS component.

The meeting accepted the information on the PINS component implementation and recommended to the PO to take into account the StC members suggestions voiced during completed discussion.

Agenda item 6. Info on the beginning of Environmental Protection System component implementation

The EPS component is a beginning of the SAP-Arctic implementation. Work under this Project component started ahead of schedule in June last year. To date, all key consultants including Task Team (TT) coordinator are selected and contracted (totalling 10 consultants were hired and 2-3 more consultants are planned to be contracted). Working document with basic concept of the Environmental Protection System was prepared, approved by TT and introduced to the 3rd IAWG meeting. All remarks and suggestions received on the meeting were included in the document. It was recommended that TT should be concentrated on analysis of national and international environmental legislation applicable to the Arctic to reveal gaps in national legislation. TT should prepare a report for the Russian Government with recommendations on necessary improvements. By now an analysis of environment legislation of all Arctic countries was carried out by TT. This Project component is planned to be finalized in general by the end of this year. In the original Project Document EPS component implementation was mainly placed in the Phase II of the Project.

StC members encouraged start of the EPS component during Phase I of the Project implementation.

The meeting accepted the information on the EPS component implementation and asked PO to keep StC members informed on further progress regarding this very important component. To this end it was suggested that first intermediate results could be considered at the next Supervisory Committee meeting planed for the beginning of this summer.

Agenda item 7. Progress report on on-going and completed demo and pilot projects

BASES - demo project (Environmental remediation of Decommissioned Military Bases on Franz-Josef Land Archipelago) was implemented on Nagurskaya Station (Alexandra Land Island, FJL archipelago) by NGO Polar Foundation. The works were deployed from the expeditionary vessel “Mikhail Somov” in September 2007. A field report was received by the Project office in December and a photo report was uploaded in the official website of the NPA-Arctic Project (http://npa-arctic.ru/). Project Deputy Manager on a basis of the photo and video materials taken during the expedition has prepared a video clip which was demonstrated to the StC members. The video has been uploaded at the Project website in both Russian and English. To date this demo project is virtually finalized. An information on the demo project implementation results is enclosed in Annex V to this report.

COMAN - demo project (Indigenous Environmental Co-management). A contract with a bid-winner (Consortium RAIPON, “BATANI” Fund and GRID-Arendal) was signed on 15/11/2007. At the moment the project is finished and final report endorsed by PO and EA. A final publication of the project results is in process. An information on the demo project implementation principal results is enclosed in Annex VI to this report.

CLEANUP - pilot project (Remediation of the Environment through the use of Brown Algae). A contract with a bid-winner (OOO “Sirena”) was signed on 29/08/2007. Practical implementation of this project started in September 2007 when brown algae plantation was set up in the vicinity of “Nerpa” shop-dismantling plant in the Kola Bay. PO is expecting to receive a final report on the CLEANUP pilot project in May 2009.

KOLA BAY - pilot project (Cleaning of hazardous substances from the bottom sediments of the Kola Fjord. Phase 1. Monitoring of hazardous substances in the bottom sediments of the Kola Bay). A contract with a bid-winner (Non-profit Organization Ecologic Foundation “Environmental harmony evolution fund”) was signed on 15/11/2007. The project was finalized in May 2008. An information on the demo project implementation principal results is enclosed in Annex VII to this report.

BIOREMEDIATION – an additional pilot project (Designing of bioremediation technology for oil sludge and oil contaminated soil in Arctic conditions), approved by the 2nd StC meeting. A tender has been held and a contract with a bid-winner (OOO “NAVECOSERVIS”) has been signed. To date, all initial works are fully completed, experimental site is selected and prepared, special bio-substances are tested. The project will be finalized during spring and summer this year.

TIKSIBAY - an additional pilot project (Removing of sunken wood and ship frames from the sea bottom in Tiksi Bay), approved by the 2nd StC meeting. PO concluded a contract with a bid-winner (OAO “Seaport of Tiksi”). The contract implementation is started on 1st of July 2008 and first progress report on the bay cleaning is submitted. Three stages out of six envisaged in the contract are completed to date. Russian and international experience on this matter is analyzed, all heavy machinery is selected and mobilized, workers are selected and trained, practical work on the bay cleaning is started and four hulls was prepared to be lifted during summer season 2009. Main works under this contract can be executed only in summer season but some preparatory works are also conducted during winter time. A video clip on this pilot project was prepared by the contractor and produced by PO to the StC members. The video clip was uploaded in internet by the contractor and a link to the clip was established from the NPA-Arctic Project official website.

During the discussion followed after the presentations the StC members highly appreciated video materials presented by PO and suggested to intensify in future activities on visualization of the Project outcomes in particular regarding to the demo and pilot project components.

EPA delegation proposed to include training on health and safety practices as a mandatory prerequisite to work performed under the UNEP/GEF Project in particular regarding to handling hazardous wastes, such as obsolete pesticides and abandoned drums.

It was also emphasized that some technical and biotechnological issues appeared, which should be attended to in the first instance during the demo projects implementation under the NPA-Arctic Project.

NEFCO representative emphasized that they supported already some of demo projects and will do it in future.

As for COMAN demo project concerned it was suggested using ethno-ecological councils for wider replication.

The meeting accepted the information on the completed demo and pilot projects and considered the worked fulfilled as successful. PO was requested:

  • to prepare final reports on all demo and pilot projects for publication in accordance with the rules envisaged in the Project Document;
  • to speed up implementation of approved earlier by StC the demo project  on removal of outdated radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RITEGs) in Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and Chukchi Autonomous Region.

Agenda item 8. Presentation of new demo and pilot projects and consideration of possibilities for their support using GEF and donors’ funds.

PM presented several new projects to be financed using donors and UNEP/GEF funds:

1. Destruction of 200 tones of obsolete and prohibited pesticides. The objective of the project is to demonstrate elimination of outdated pesticides, which includes repackaging of pesticides into the UN-approved bags, transportation of pesticides to the incineration place, obtaining permits for transportation and temporary storage, equipment evaluation for the environmentally sound destruction of pesticides, chemical analyses of pesticides designated for destruction; monitoring and evaluation of air emissions and discharges and similar activities. Special document will be prepared on this subject and sent to the StC members.

2. Environmental remediation of the decommissioned military bases on Franz Joseph Land Archipelago (DEMO-BASES-2). A number of hydrometeorological, research, and defence facilities was built in the past on several FJL islands. Almost all these facilities are currently closed down and large stores of equipment and materials are abandoned. As many as 50,000 tons of oil products and lubricants in drums and tanks scattered around the archipelago, including waste oils and several million metal drums containing fuel and lubricant residues. Also PCBs may remain in significant quantities in radar station and aircraft engines left at decommissioned air bases.

In September 2007, NPA-Arctic Project funded an expedition to FJL. Preliminary investigations and testing of remediation technologies on the Alexandra Land Island were conducted.

To follow up started already works an EPA/UNEP Cooperative Agreement funds will be used for site characterization and other studies that can identify the technically most effective clean-up activities at the least cost for large-scale clean-up operations on the Alexandra Land. These will lay a solid basis for clean-up activities on FJL archipelago in future. It is expected that initial activities funded by the Cooperative Agreement will lead to substantial investments in environmental remediation on FJL in the out-years of the GEF-UNEP project. Special document will be prepared on this subject and sent to the StC members.

3. Environmental remediation of the decommissioned military base in Arkhangelsk region (project proposal will be sent additionally).

4. Mitigation of risks for specially protected natural areas associated with transportation of petroleum products in Barents and White seas (project proposal will be sent additionally)

During followed discussion NEFCO representatives mentioned that NEFCO could support all four above projects and demo projects should be definitely connected with defined hot spots in the Russian Arctic.

The StC members noted that PO initiated several demo projects which can be considered as high priority projects for Russian Arctic and could be funded after proper completion of the project documentations. They are:

  • Environmental remediation of the decommissioned military bases on Franz Joseph Land Archipelago (DEMO-BASESII)
  • Destruction of 200 tones of obsolete and prohibited pesticides
  • Environmental remediation of the decommissioned military base in Arkhangelsk region
At the same time, the above projects can not be put on a table as ready ones for funding and they are in need of further improvements.

The StC meeting agreed, that:
  •  a “green light” is given for PO to design the above projects;
  • StC members confirm their interest in these new projects;
  • PO should design in two weeks time projects documentation in cooperation with all interested parties and taking into account remarks of the StC members;
  • completed projects documents should be submitted to EA, IA and other StC members for endorsement;
  • StC members will consider and approve the projects by means of e-mail procedure.
Iceland came up with initiative to support Phase II of TIKSI BAY demo project using Iceland funds already sent to UNEP including geochemical sampling of water and bottom sediments with subsequent chemical analysis of the samples. StC supported this initiative.

Demo project: Mitigation of risks for specially protected natural areas associated with transportation of petroleum products in Barents and White seas - this project deserves an attention but cannot be taken for implementation at the moment. PO should prepare and submit to the StC members an updated project concept.

StC also confirmed two previously approved pilot projects:
  • Localisation and removal from a thermokarst crater two radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RITEGs) of GONG type at the Kondratiev navigation beacon site in Ust-Yanski Ulus of Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The project will be implemented using GEF funds. PO in coordination with EA should upgrade available project documentation and would accelerate the project implementation.
  • Salvation and scrapping of the hunting ship “Teriberka”. The project supported by NEFCO and Murmansk administration. PO should prepare project documentation in close cooperation with NEFCO, regional authorities and in coordination with EA and IA.

Agenda item 9. Integrated Work Plan and Budget up to the end of the Project
Phase I

IWP and budget should be discussed in context of the total Project lifetime. PM shortly explained his vision on the prolongation of the Project Phase I taking into account new benchmarks and a number of new demo projects approved by this StC meeting.  Summer and autumn seasons are the only productive period for outdoor activities in Arctic and we have to extend the Project till the end of autumn 2010 at least. One steering committee member cautioned that the extension would involve further cost for project management and IA/EA costs.

StC members agreed on the Phase 1 extension. When discussing possible prolongation of the Phase 1 the StC members appreciated that independent evaluators of the Project would mention the Project prolongation as a negative point but they can note the fact that virtually two Project phases were implemented instead of one. If the Phase I would be extended PO could definitely held the Investment Forum and have all demonstration activities completed.

StC members expressed also their concern regarding the future and sustainability of all the materials prepared under the Project. The materials should be in use but not just be put on shelf. What to do with project website after the Project completion, who will support it? All this questions have to be attended before the Project closing. A clearly defined sustainability strategy for the Project results needs to be elaborated.
The meeting agreed that:

  • the Phase I will be extended till the end of October 2010;
  • PO will elaborate a new IWP and budget and submit both to Executing and Implementing agencies as well as the detailed programmes and budgets for new demos agreed upon;
  • after received comments they will be incorporated and the updated IWP and budget will be distributed by PO in three days among all StC members for approval by e-mail.

The Integrated Work Plan with the budget will be sent for approval to the StC members by electronic communication.


Agenda item 10. Discussion about the phase 1 evaluation and exchange of views on available possibilities for Phase II of the Project

During lively debate on this item the StC members voiced their opinions and suggestions on the process of the Project Phase II preparation and on their vision of the Phase II implementation, which can be considered also as a new project. The comments can be summarized as following:

The main task of the Phase II is accumulation of funds from different sources with the purpose to move the Project from small demo project implementation to the big serious project with considerable funding.

To focus on financial mechanisms for SAP and demo projects activities implementation.

Without GEF funding the Project Phase II would hardly start but Russia should also make its input to the Project.

The new Project should be based on nationally adopted Federal Target Oriented Programmes and have a sustainable budget.

All the Project results should be widely disseminated using all available possibilities and attracting all available financial mechanisms for the Project support, including PSI of the Arctic Council, EBRD, NDEP and WB.

The Phase II should be growing out of the Phase I and be its extension.

New Phase II should be focused on implementation of the package of the investment projects as a results of PINS component implemented under Phase I. Results of demo and pilot projects should be also taken into account and replicated when larger projects would be elaborated in Phase II.

PINS component implementation and International Investment Forum (Partnership Conference) will pave the road to the Phase II.

The most important thing for the new Project (or Phase II) is SAP implementation in the Russian Arctic and work in the areas of identified hot spots. We should rethink the Phase II concept which was outlined in the original Project Document.

All lessons learned during the Phase I should be taken into account in the process of the Phase II preparation.

Starting from the very beginning of the Phase II preparation the designers should concentrate on institutional capacity building and on attraction of new sources of investments and of new project participants and stakeholders.

The meeting agreed that PO will prepare conceptual document on the Project Phase II taking into account all opinions and suggestions raised during discussion and distribute it among the StC members.

The StC members decided on the Phase I evaluation issue:

  • The Implementing Agency (UNEP) will undertake a Mid-Term Review of the Project Phase I in July – August of 2009.
  • The Final Review of the Project will be executed by an independent evaluator in accordance with UNEP/GEF procedure in May - April 2010 (6 months before the Project completion).
  • IA (UNEP) will prepare a Terms of Reference for both evaluations and conduct both tenders
  •  PO will allocate funds required for both evaluations in the Project budget
  • Details of the evaluations will be discussed at the next Supervisory Council and StC meetings

  Agenda item 11. Closure
  Following an expression of thanks to the participants for their attendance and contribution to the meeting by the chairman Mr. Morgunov in his closing statement, also expressed his thanks to all members of the Project Steering Committee meeting for their active participation and making important decisions that will allow to move Project forward. He also thanked NEFCO for excellent hosting the meeting, donor countries representatives and colleague from UNEP for their constructive work during the Project Steering Committee meeting as well as Project Office for documents preparation and technical support.


The meeting was closed by the Chairman at 18:00 hours on 26 March, 2009.


Photos taken at the meeting...