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Regional climate change strategies still missing

Climate change is a serious challenge to the Barents Region and regional measures must be taken, a cross-border action plan underlines

The development of regional climate change strategies in the Russian member territories of the Barents Cooperation show little progress despite the centrality given to the issues during the Finnish chairmanship. 

In 2013, the Action Plan on Climate Change for the Barents Cooperation was adopted by the environmental ministers of the Barents member states and has since become one of the key priorities during the Finnish BEAC chairmanship.

The development and implementation of regional climate change strategies in all member regions by the end of 2015 is at the core of the action plan. The focus lies specifically on the Russian territories, where strategic planning for climate change has been absent, and the action plan underlines the importance of sharing knowledge and experience of strategic work within the region.

Despite the approaching end of the Finnish chairmanship and the deadline for implementation, a recent report from the Finnish Ministry of the Environment shows that the work has not yet started in the Republic of Karelia and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Similarly, the Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Komi Republic have only begun the preparatory work and no concrete plan is yet to be seen. 

The climate strategies have been among the top priorities of the Barents Working Group on the Environment, a group which the last two years has been chaired by Russia. The document outlining the country’s priorities for the period reads that climate change is ”one of the major environmental challenges in the Barents Region”.

Russia will this month take over the rotating chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.