German-Russian cooperation on climate change mitigation and nature conservation achieves positive results


Landscape Bikin region in Far East Russia. Photo: Pavel Fomenko/WWF Russia

On 16 February Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the German Federal Environment Ministry, and Sergei Donskoi, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, issued a joint statement in Moscow confirming their resolve to continue their cooperation and highlighting the positive results of the environmental work carried out together so far. Since 2008 Germany has provided EUR 18 million through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) to support forest protection projects in Russia, thereby making a key contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through measures to foster conservation and the sustainable use of resources.

In the declaration, Flasbarth and Donskoi praised the successful completion of a four-year forest protection project implemented by WWF Russia together with KfW in the Bikin region of the Russian Far East. Due to its particular importance, President Vladimir Putin designated the area a national park at the end of 2015. "This constitutes a special recognition of our successful cooperation over the last five years. The project is an outstanding example of how mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity and supporting indigenous peoples can be successfully combined," explained State Secretary Flasbarth.

Within the framework of IKI, the German Federal Environment Ministry is supporting a range of forest protection projects in Russia, since forests play a key role in climate change mitigation by storing carbon. The project region on the Bikin River in the Russian Far East has a special significance as it is home to an intact primeval forest unlike any other in the world.

As part of the project, various innovative approaches were developed to finance protection measures. One such approach involves promoting the production and sale of local, sustainable products by the local population. The proceeds have enabled the long-term protection of the area. These best practices demonstrate that forest and climate protection can also be economically viable. The measures developed within the framework of the project could also be applied in other regions of Russia with similar conditions for financing forest protection.