Sustainable Development Success Stories

Capacity 21: the Murmansk-Barents sea project

Location Murmansk-Russian Federation. The northwestern territory includes the Republic of Karelia and the Murmansk, Leningrad and Arkhangelsk Oblast.
Responsible Organization UNDP/Capacity 21
Description Economic development in Russia s north-west affects the Artic region directly or thorough trounsboundary pollution. The region has unique forestry and other natural resources, including abundant water reserves. At the same time the region faces problems with highly polluting, obsolete heavy industries, ageing nuclear and military complexes and a range of other problems.

From 1995-1997, UNDP/Capacity 21 assisted the Murmansk Regional Administration in building capacity of key institutions, which enabled the preparation of a sustainable development action plan for the region. It further led to the preparation of a regional investment strategy for socio-economic development.

As a UNCED follow-up, the Federal Government of the Russian Federation issued a Decree in 1996, requiring each region of the Federation to prepare a comprehensive sustainable development plan. The Regional Administration of the Murmansk Oblast requested UNDP/Capacity 21 to assist in the development of such regional Sustainable Development Action Plan, as part of the Federal Programme for the Socio Economic Development of the region. The latter should be approved in 1998.

In August 1995, more than a hundred local experts from a wide variety of Governmental Bodies and Agencies, as well as scientific institutes and NGOs participated in project Task Force Teams and Working Groups to develop a framework document addressing the region's critical socioeconomic and environmental issues.

Workshops were held in the region to achieve consensus among the stakeholders. A Steering Committee, comprised of regional decision-makers and national and international experts, provided substantive guidance. Furthermore, a multi-sectoral Coordination Committee was established to direct and support the above process and finalise the framework document.

Results Achieved
  • In November 1997, the Regional Administration of the Murmansk-Barents Sea region finalised the Sustainable Development Action Plan. In addition, a regional investment strategy, indicating priority areas for national and international financing, was completed.

  • Technical and operational capacities of key institutions were strengthened to increase their effectiveness and to enhance inter-sectoral collaboration. Networking and information capacities of key institutes dealing with environmental issues were enhanced and linkages established between regional and international institutions working on, for example, coastal zone management. Through a series of consultations, meetings and workshops, technical capacities of regional institutions wore improved with maximum usage of regional expertise.

Lessons Learned Prior to the establishment of the Coordination Committee the process of developing the framework document was largely focused on environmental issues. Moreover, scientists prevailed in the process, which reduced willingness among decision-makers to further develop the document into a full-fledged Sustainable Development Action Plan. Once the Coordination Committee was set up, the Regional Administration became the driving force behind the process which safeguarded support at the decision-making level. It had enabled more focus on socio-economic issues, mainstreaming environmental concerns.
Contact Mr. Anatoly Gritsai, Local Coordinator
UNDP/Capacity 21 Murmansk-Barents Sea project
Murmansk-Russian Federation
Tel. (7 8152) 551865 Fax (7-8152) 5591168