Socio-ecological Union

The Newsletter of
the Socio-Ecological Union
A Center for Coordination
and Information

Moscow, Russia -- Issue 2(24), April, 2002








  The Israeli Aggression against Environmental Security in Palestine
  For a long time world media are full of reports on tragic events in Israel and Palestine. People kill people, people kill themselves. Media reports are focused on territorial, ethnic, political and religious aspects of the tragedy, and environmental aspects escape from writers' attention. But state of Palestinian environment and damage caused by the war is not only the consequence but also one of the roots of hostility.
  The report of Palestinial Ministry for Environmental Affairs placed at the site is presented by ISEU members Imad El Baba and Makhmoud El Boutmekh currently working at the Ministry. Mr.El Baba, an ichthyologist graduated from the Chisinau University, Moldova works at the Biodiversity Conservation Department, and Mr.El Boutmekh works at the Waste Management Department.



  The transport ministry of Ukraine plans a ship canal through the Danube biosphere reserve. Under development more than 1,5 thousand hectares of reserved terrain will be lost.
  The building of a channel will cause the destruction of unique animal and plants habitat (94 kinds brought in the Red book now dwell in the reservation), the migration pathes of several millions auks of 133 kinds will be broken. Also it can fully stop the breeding of the Danube herring (now the 95% of the Danube herring is reproduced in this area).
  Despite of the negative conclusion of ecological expertise, the building project of the ship canal goes on. In spite of the Ukrainian and international legislations upsets, in the Ukrainian budget is already stipulated about $5 millions for building a channel.
  The exit to the Black sea through Danube is especially profitable for the Ukrainian Danube shipping company and its ports - Ishmael, Kiliya, Reny, Ust-Dunaysk. However, the Danube delta is largest European aquatic and wetland ground of international value and therefore for preservation of a biological variety of a delta, its unique landscapes are protected by many of international legal acts.
  The reservation is protected by the Ramsar convention, it is introduced in UNESCO's list, getting into a structure of the Ukrainian-Romanian cross-border biosphere reservation. Although the Ukrainian National academy of sciences, nature protection society, Ukrainian ecological organizations offer alternative projects for the channal, the Transport Ministry of Ukraine failed to consider them. Since March, 6 ecological activists start a series of pickets against building a channel in Danube reserve.
  "Even the single disturbance of a safety of reserved objects bring irreciprocal destructions of natural assemblages in these terrains. Even after the termination of obstructing and eliminations of the destabilizing factor the reserved object loses most of its value", - says the release of the Kiev ecology-cultural center and center of ecological enlightenment - "XXI century".

  For more information:
Kiev Environment & Culture Center


  The nature protection community has to defend the grey whales' right to live in court. February 14, 2002 the Presnensky court of Moscow has considered the claim of the citizens and public organizations to The Russian Government and The ministry of natural resources for the ban of activity that puts under threat grey whales of the Okhotsk-Korean population - a disappearing species. As the third parties two oil producing companies - Exon Neftegaz Ltd. and Sakhalin Energy were involved.
  To address in court the claimants were induced by the serious concern by destiny of the unique population of western grey whales. Besides the whale populationa, the projects of mining oil threatens also the richest reserves of bioresources in the Okhotskoye sea.
  In opinion of claimants, to give to the grey whales chance to survive, it is not required to stop any activity on the shelf at all, as it often presented by the petroleum industrials and other opponents. Nevertheless, to protect the nature these projects need to be changed. In particular, it is necessary to stop building a jetty under the project of "Sakhalin - 1" on a field Odoptu, and to remove arrangement of a new oil producing gantry under the project of "Sakhalin - 2" as it is possible further from border of whales' fodder region. The ecologists want also to achieve some changes in routes of pipe lines and ban of seismic survey in the season of a summer feeding of whales.
  This could become a soltion for the problem, instead of mere whale-loving declarations from oil companies. In this session of the court the claimants were represented by the attorneys of the Moscow regional Bar, members of public nature protection organization Legal center "Rodnik" O. Yakovleva and I.Stromova. For the substantiation of the claim they have submitted the petition, in which they asked from oil corporations the information about what kind of industrial activity is planned in the area of grey whales' dwell (in the Piltoun bay) with the concrete of terms of realization works.
  Government of Russian Federation, the Nature Ministry and Exon Neftegaz Ltd categorically objected to a vindication of this information by court. The court under its own initiative has requested from transponders the item of information about ecological expertises in connection with proposed activity in Piltoun bay.
  Thus, the court to the present time hasn't official information about the kind of activity that is planned in a habital of grey whales.
  Unexpectedly representative ofExon Neftegaz Ltd. has declared the petition to exclude the company from among the participants of process. He has justified his stand in the petition, where in particular has declared about "illegalities of the lawsuits": "The lawsuits, being anticipatory, are unconstitutional essentially and contradict the order, established by the operational Russian legislation, of nature management and control behind nature management".
  The above-stated quotation from the petition of the Exon Neftegaz Ltd. testifies to full forgetfulness of the foreign company to the rights of the citizens and to the country, in which territory they going to realize their commercial projects. The Russian sociability has addressed to the court with the claim defending a constitutional law of the citizens on favourable environment guaranteed by the article 42 of the Constitution of Russian Federation, and realising a constitutional law on judicial protection guaranteed by the article 46 of the Constitution of Russian Federation.
  The court has accepted this claim and started its consideration. Calling the protection of public concerns "illegal" and "unconstitutional", the Exon Neftegaz Ltd. puts under doubt major principles of a lawful state and enters the conflicting to the fundamentals of Russian constitutional formation. Besides from the quoted statement of the Exxon Neftegaz Ltd. follows as the Russian court accepting claim of the citizens and public organizations and started its consideration also acted "illegally and unconstitutionally".
  The petition for exclusion Exxon Neftegaz Ltd. from among the third persons of lawsuit in many respects is grounded on positions of "The Agreements for section of production under the project "Sakhalin - 1".
  At discussion of the petition of the company Eckson Neftegaz Ltd. the attorney of the claimants has paid attention of the count that the agreement itself is absent, therefore court and participants of process can't see justification of reasons of the company. In reply to that the attorney of the company has declared, that the agreement even can't be submitted to the court, because it contains the closed items of information. The conclusion arises, that the Exon Neftegaz Ltd. considers, what even the court, has no the right to acquaint with "The agreement on section of production". This reason once again has confirmed full forgetfulness of the company Exon Neftegaz Ltd. not only to constitutional rights of the citizens, but also to the legislation of Russian Federation.
  Despite of more than pressing demand of the company to free them from a trial, the court has refused the satisfaction of the petition.
  Next session of the court is designated on April 9, 2002.

  For more informartion:
"Sakhalin Environmemtal Watch"


  The obligations of the leading European timber industrial companies not to use untouched forests remains an effective means to preserve such forests in north-west Russia.
  To confirm that, for example, January 18, 2002 the general director of Polaria timber company and the quoter of the Kola center of wilderness preservation have signed "The minutes of the coordination of problems of preservation and using forests in a coverage of Polaria".
  In November, 2001 the Kola center found out that Polaria gains wood in the massifs of untouched forests Tenniojoki and Rahmoiva, arranged in the Kandalaksha region of Murmansk oblast (region), near the Russian-Finnish border. Until 1990's these forests were protected from timber-merchants by a band of boundary security buildings. In 1993 the administration of the Kandalaksha region has recognized high value of this nature area and has offered to create the apart-guarded natural terrain in that area.
  In 1996 on conference in Rovaniemi (Finland) the deputies of the Russian and Finnish nature protection offices have decided to esteem both of the massifs as potential objects of a Green belt of Fennoscandia - projected international system of natural reservations. The massifs of Tenniojoki and Rahmoiva were included by the Forest Club of Russian nature protection organizations in the list of potentially untouched forests.
  Per 2'nd half of 1990's the leading European timber companies including Stora-Enso, UPM-Kymmene, Metsaliitto have undertaken not to use timber cutted in potentially untouched forests of Murmansk oblast (region) and Karelia Republic, while all interested parties will come to the compromise about the preservation and rational usage of wood resources in these terrains. In 2001 Polaria planned to cut down about 13 thousand cubic-meters of timber in Tenniojoki and Rahmoiva forest massifs. This fact have doubted capability of preservation of these valuable terrains, and also it became the test for recognized leader of wood-protective policy - Stora-Enso, because Polaria had exported all the timber to Finland and sent it in the form of balances and chip from saw-mills to Stora-Enso's pulp and paper factory in Kemijarvi.
  Kola center of wilderness preservation repeatedly tendered to conduct negotiations for the decision of the conflict. But the Polaria's management and their constant Finnish partner Fromlog Ky was ignored these proposals. After that the nature protection organizations (The Taiga Secure Network, Kola Biodiversity Conservation Centre, Greenpeace Russia, Finnish League of Nature) have addressed to Finnish timber-merchants with the request not to purchase timber, exported by Polaria.
  Having needed their request, the management of Stora-Enso completely eliminated a possibility of delivering Polaria's timber on fabrics of the corporation. These measures concerned not only balances, but also arboreal waste of saw-mills.
  In the end of December, 2001 Polaria and Fromlog Ky have appeared in full isolation on the Finnish market of timber. For the companies the problems with sales of all timber prepared both in massifs of untouched forests and also in remaining terrain have begun.
  Looking up the solution the management of Polaria was compelled to agree to negotiations with nature protection organizations. Now timber-merchants have applied a maximum of efforts to achieve the compromise probably faster. January 9, 2002 the general director of Polaria M.Nazarov and deputies of Kola center have met in the town Apatites of Murmansk oblast (region). January 11 to the quoter of the center was organized the departure on allotments. A week later, January 18, both parties have signed "The minutes of the coordination of problems of preservation and usage of forests in a coverage of Polaria". This agreement became the result of careful analysis of nature protective and economical aspects of this situation and their discussion between the company and the members of Forest club of Russian nature protection organizations. The document has stipulated that Kola center by way of exception has found to possible for Polaria to conduct wood-cuttings under the sanctions, taken in 2000-2001, in quarters of massifs Tenniojoki, which were already highly disturbed by the previous cuttings and consequently mismatched to yardsticks of reference to untouched natural forests.
  The Polaria from their part has undertaken not to conduct wood-gaining in forests of high nature protection value, protected by Wood club, and also in other forests which are included in projects of apart-guarded natural terrains. The management of the company also has undertaken awakely to promote acceptance of the administrative solutions for organization new guarded terrain in Murmansk oblast (region).
  In opinion of the ecologists participated in opening-up and discussion of the agreement, this document completely corresponds to the purpose of the Forest club's campaign for preservation untouched natural forests.

  For more information:
Kola Biodiversity Conservation Centre


  Dear Colleagues,
  A natural reservation, which is located in Lugansk region of Ukraine is seeking to enlarge a territory of one of its branches called "Provalskaya Step". Currently this would be quite a challenging task for a natural reservation in Ukraine, which staff turned to us, non-governmental environmental organisations for support. What we can do is to send our letters of support to the head of local Sverdlovsk district council in Lugansk region, Mr. Alexander Shmal'ts, the general director of association 'Luganskles' Mr. Yanchenko V. I. and to the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine Mr. Sergey Kurykin.
  Please, send your letters of support by recommended post with confirmed receiving or by fax, which is less efficient however. Our non-governmental environmental group "Pechenegi" will collect all letters of support and, we would appreciate if you could forward an electronic copy of your letter to the address of the group:
  WHOM to send your letter of support: pecheneg@ic.kharkov.uaMr. Alexander Shmal'ts Head of Sverdlovsk district council in Lugansk region Town Executive Committee Engels street, 42 94800 Sverdlovsk town in Lugansk region FAX: +38.06434.2.26.46
  The general director of association 'Luganskles' Mr. Yanchenko V. I. - 91045, Ukraine. Lugansk St. Lesnoy proezd 1
  Mr. Sergey Kurykin Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine Khreschatyk street, 5 01601 Kiev FAX: +
  We appreciate your input. A copy of support letter, sent out by our group, which could be used by your organisation as well, are included bellow.
  With best regards, Sergey Shaparenko, head of environmental group "Pechenegi"


  TO: Mr. Alexander Shmal'ts Head of Sverdlovsk local council in Lugansk region Town Executive Committee
  Mr. Yanchenko V. I. General director of association 'Luganskles'
  COPY: Mr. Sergey Kurykin Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine


  Dear gentlemen,
  Health of Ukrainian people and self the existence of independent Ukraine would not be possible without healthy environment. Protected natural reservations play an important role in improving of environment and according to the Law of Ukraine on "Natural Reservations" are created with an aim to support an eco-balance, among others. Current development of a network of natural reservations in Ukraine is not sufficient. This is also stated in the Programme for Perspective Development of Reservations in Ukraine. This programme underlines a need to enlarge territories of natural reservations, and especially those having a highest status for protection.
  One of the most important environmental problems for Eurasia is disappearing steppe landscapes, which area now does not exceed 4% in Ukraine. Long term destruction of natural steppe areas caused water and wind erosion, decrease in live farming and agriculture. We believe that the above mentioned problems in Lugansk region can be solved or diminished by enlargement of "Provalskaya Step". This enlargement will also be in line with the Programme for Perspective Development of Reservations in Ukraine, State Programme for Development of National Environmental Network for 2000-2015, National Environmental Plan, Programme for Rational Use of Natural Resources and Environmental Safety in Lugansk Region until 2005 year.
  That is why we hope will implement state programmes by taking a decision to incorporate to the Lugansk natural reservation "Provalskaya Step" lands of the private enterprise "Proval'skoye" and of the Sverdlovsk forestry.
  With best regards,
  Sergey Shaparenko, head of environmental group "Pechenegi".

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  This issue was written and complied by Sviatoslav Zabelin - the SEU Council Co-Chair,
  Olga Berlova, Victoria Kolesnikova