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Environmental challenges and opportunities in Russia - views of Finnish experts

In Energy & Enviro Finland, Russia Special, 17 October 2007, Finnish experts present their views how to respond to environmental challenges in Russia and to turn them into opportunities through Finnish-Russian cooperation.

Based on long traditions, the cooperation nowadays covers all important areas - air, water, forestry and biodiversity.

The cooperation has resulted in several single improvements for the environment, for example St. Petersburg's wastewater treatment plant, and has also promoted the EU-Russia environmental cooperation.

But to respond to the huge challenges wider and deeper cooperation is needed. The significance of cooperation in environmental issues is increasing due to climate change.

According to the experts, the focus of the environmental cooperation now and in the future would in terms of sustainable development be on

*forestry and forest industries in the context of Russia’s new forest law;
*local energy production from renewable sources and;
*waste management.
Implementation the most projects should start as pilot-scale. In all phases of the projects the keys for success are a functional dialogue and close cooperation with local residents, authorities and businesses.

An important environmental benchmark for Russia will be the ambitious Winter Olympic Games 2014 plan of the Russian City of Sochi. The plan includes strong efforts to save the environment in terms of sustainable development. For instance, the Sochi aims to be carbon neutral and zero-waste city.

As a result, the Sochi sets a new standard in environmental awareness and responsibility and provides true model for sustainable development for entire Russia.

Lauri Kinnunen | alfa
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