Elena Vikulova and Alexey Bakhtov, representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) of the Russian Federation, were interviewed in July 2014 at the Working Group meeting of CCAC partners in Paris about the main MNRE activities in line with CCAC.
Why did the Russian Federation become a partner in the CCAC?
The CCAC is a unique international format that is at the same time voluntary and provides opportunities for countries to share best practices and innovative solutions.
Currently Russia is interested in developing international cooperation and sharing expertise, and also in deep scientific research on the impact of black carbon on the environment, climate and human health. Russia can offer positive examples of international cooperation on black carbon, such as a two-year project reducing the impact of SLCPs on human health and environment, and a project on the development of an inventory system in frames for the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.
An important task is to work out a comprehensive system of monitoring and impact assessment, and to find ways to converge economics and environmental science for the purpose of environmental conservation. Hence the CCAC appears as an attractive strategic partner for Russia, as it is purposed to be long-term and oriented toward tangible results.
How, specifically, does the Russian Federation want to work with the CCAC?
There are several initiatives that fall into line with our work, including the heavy-duty diesel, agriculture, and waste management initiatives. We are exploring the possibility of working with the CCAC on other initiatives as well.
We are also interested in finding ways to work with the CCAC through the St. Petersburg Initiative, an international public-private partnership platform with the purpose of strengthening existing multilateral cooperation mechanisms (such as CBSS, HELCOM) in the area of environmental protection. It has been established to unite representatives of state agencies, business associations and civil society, and to generate practical ideas and specific proposals for the preservation of the Baltic Sea ecosystems. One of the key features of the St. Petersburg Initiative (SPbI) is its drive for practical results. Its projects aim to reduce negative impacts on the environment from shipping, agriculture and other sources. Sustainable growth in the region should be attained through development of clean technologies, innovations, shared expertise, partnerships, etc.
Alexey Bakhtov and Elena Vikulova, Russian Federation, during the CCAC Working Group Meeting held in Paris, July 2014
Do you see areas where the CCAC and the St. Petersburg Initiative have similar interests?
The most obvious area of linkage is green shipping. CCAC’s Green Freight Initiative and the green shipping branch of the St. Petersburg Initiative apparently pursue common goals. The greening of maritime transport is becoming increasingly important not only because of more stringent requirements by international organizations, but also because of the urgent need to provide a healthy environment, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. We believe that acting jointly among the partners of the St. Petersburg Initiative, we can make the Baltic Sea Region a model region for "green shipping” by 2020.
A partnership like the St. Petersburg Initiative or the CCAC can be very effective if the partners really cooperate. What do you think is most crucial for international cooperation to happen in the area of black carbon?
For potential cooperation in black carbon emissions, effective communication is crucial. The St. Petersburg Initiative is open to any proposals for cooperation that will trigger public-private partnerships throughout the Baltic Sea region. We are convinced that the St. Petersburg Initiative is a suitable platform for developing and implementing projects and programs, both national and international. Up to date information about its activities is available at the web site www.spbinitiative.ru.
At the same time we are hopeful that through the CCAC we can find other common objectives and interesting connections, such as domestic and agriculture waste management.
Elena Vikulova is Head of the Division of International Organizations in the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.
Alexey Bakhtov is a senior specialist-expert in the Division of International Organizations. Currently he is responsible for coordination and administration of the Saint-Petersburg Initiative, a public-private partnership platform aimed at improving the environment in the Baltic Sea region. He also leads several other efforts in international environmental cooperation.