5.6 Environmental non-governmental organizations

5.6  Environmental non-governmental organizations

The rights and duties of non-governmental and other non-profit organizations in the field of environmentalism are legally defined in Article 12 of the Federal law «On environmental protection» (№ 7-FL of January 10, 2002).

Baikal region has more than 100 registered environmental non-government organizations (NGOs). Environmentally-oriented NGOs of Baikal region are among the most active ones in Russia [4,6,11].

Irkutsk region. In 2012, Irkutsk-based «Baikal Ecological Wave», a regional non-government organization, organized and held scientific «Baikal expedition», which relied on the involvement of other non-governmental organizations, the local population, academic and educational institutions, to assess the current state of bays of Lake Baikal and to identify indicators of their current state. The members of the project discovered high concentrations of phosphates (up to 0.25 mg/dm3), large-scale proliferation of Spirogyra and blue-green algae (Anabaena lemmermanni). In Chivykuysky Bay, they identified excessive proliferation of Elodea, which at some places had the biomass concentration of 26 kg/m2. The amount of liquid wastes discharged by tourists in the village of Monakhovo was estimated at 160 tons over a season.

The NGO conducted:

-  the conference «The role of civil society in sustainable development of local communities» and webinars on the topic in the villages of Bolshoe Goloustnoe, Maloe Goloustnoe and the town of Baikalsk with the support from the municipal administrations;

-  8th International conference «Rivers of Siberia and the Far East» (together with WWF), the results of which were published in form of the conference proceedings (pic. 5.6.1).

Pic. 5.6.1 A conference session

In 2013, «Baikal expedition» was continued and resulted in the following outputs:

-  the assessment of species distribution on Olkhon island was carried out for Astragalus and Craniospermum listed in the Red Books of endangered species of the Russian Federation and Irkutsk region;

-  the state of the relict grove of Populus suaveolens in the delta of the Goloustnaya river was examined;

-  the calendar «Save the plants of Olkhon sandy coast» and the postcard «Relict poplar grove» were published.

The inter-regional non-governmental organization «Greater Baikal Path» (with the support of the group of companies  En+) in 2013 conducted:

-  winter project (March 20-29), in which volunteers from Moscow, Murmansk and Kemerovo cities participated. The project participants removed snow off a 500-meter stretch of the path in the village of Tankhoi in Baikalsk Nature Reserve (pic. 5.6.2), and made a board on book-crossing for the visiting center;

-  on May 25-26, a team of 12 volunteers participated in the reconstruction and clearing of a spring located at the 26th km of Baikalsk highway. The campaign was supported by the group of companies En+. The volunteers constructed a bowl for collecting water, cleared the water path, and reconstructed the steps leading to the spring;

-  four summer projects were realized, all dealing with the construction of the tourist paths «The path to clean Baikal», «The path to the waterfall land», «Deep into Khamar-Daban-1» (pic. 5.6.3) and «Fairytale land-1» within the Baikalo-Lensky reserve.

Pic. 5.6.2 A stretch of a path for the people with reduced mobility

Pic. 5.6.3 A volunteer camp in Baikalsk Nature Reserve

On March 28-29, 2012, the non-profit partnership organization «Let’s conserve Baikal together» held the regional children’s environmental festival «Baikal kaleidoscope». The participants of the festival were school children of Irkutsky (2 teams), Slyudyansky, Usolsky, Cheremkhovsky (2 teams), Shelekhovsky, Olkhonsky, Taishetsky, Ust-Kutsky and Angarsky districts of Irkutsk region and the team of Irkutsk Palace of Art. In 2012, the number of participants rose to 96 people, thanks to the financial support of the group of companies En+.

On March 27-28, 2013, the same organization again conducted the regional children’s environmental festival «Baikal kaleidoscope», in which 14 teams from 8 districts of Irkutsk region took part.  The festival took place in Baikalsk city.

In 2012, the Center of Additional Education for Children of Irkutsk region conducted the convent of school forestry associations (June 22-26). The 11th convent of school forestry associations of Irkutsk region was held at the Irkutsk sports and recreation complex. The co-organizers of the convent were the Forest Management Agency of Irkutsk region and the Forest Protection Agency of Irkutsk Region. The general sponsor was «Yilim-Group». There were 45 teams from the region’s state autonomous institutions, municipal educational institutions as well as teams from Krasnoyarsk city, Altai region, Zabaikalsky Krai and the Republic of Buryatia.

The Center co-organized the 12th regional convent of school forestry associations held (pic. 5.6.4) on July 1-5, 2013. 46 teams took part on the meeting - 39 teams from Irkutsk region, 7 teams from Altaisky, Zabaikalsky, Krasnoyarsky, Omsky, and Novosibirsky regions and the Republics of Buryatia and Sakha-Yakutia. Awards were distributed in the categories «Best school forestry association», «Young zoologist», «Young botanist», «Forest pathfinders», and the category of best means of visual agitation «Lets save forest alive».

Pic. 5.6.4 Participants of the 12th regional convent of school forestry associations

Irkutsk cinema fund organized the 11th Baikal international festival of documentary and popular-science movies Man and Nature». 116 movies from 28 countries were screened. Apart from the Russian movie-makers who presented 54 movies at the festival, film directors from Austria, Germany, Israel, Spain, Russia, the USA and Japan brought their films.

The official opening of the 1st Water Forum of the participants of the project «Pure waters of Pribaikalie – public water-protection movement» took place on November 30, 2012. The administration of Rosprirodnadzor in Irkutsk region was one of the partners of the water-protection project, launched by the regional branch of the All-Russian Society for Nature Protection. This project was implemented with the support of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Education of Irkutsk region and was recognized as one of the best among socially significant projects. The participants of the «Pure waters of Pribaikalie» included more than 60 environmental associations working at educational institutions of 22 administrative units of the region. During the stay in summer camps and while taking part in expeditions, school children had an opportunity to acquire skills of research work and water body passportization.  The 1st Water Forum was attended by young environmentalists from Ust-Kut, Bratsk, Irkutsk, Cheremkhovo, Sayansk, Ust-Orda Buryat autonomous okrug, Slyudyanka, Kyutunsky, Usolsky and other districts of the Irkutsk region.

In 2013, the 12th Baikal international festival of documentary and popular-science movies «Man and Nature» was conducted. Movies were screened during the period from April 1 to October 30, 2013. The documentary «The great Siberian rivers Lena» directed by Pavel Fattakhutdinov received «The best documentary» award, while the popular science film «Thin Ice» by David Sington and Simon Lamba (Great Britain, New Zealand) received «The best popular science movie» award.

Republic of Buryatia. The regional non-governmental organization «Gran» is executing a joint UNDP and Coca-Cola project «Every drop matters» (2010 – 2013). The project is intended to preserve water resources, ensure access to pure drinking water, develop ecotourism, and strengthen the sense of environmental responsibility in local people. During the four-year project period, the organizations – grant winners implemented 40 subprojects in Ulan-Ude city and districts of the Republic of Buryatia and Irkutsk region (pic. 5.6.5). Within the framework of the project, «Gran» has published a book for junior and middle school children – «Baikal chest». The book was recommended by Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Buryatia to be used as a supplementary school-book.

Pic. 5.6.5 The environmental campaign “Bon-aqua for Baikal”

In 2013, «Gran» implemented the project «Why does nerpa cry?». Within the framework of the project, an exposition was created featuring nerpa and composed of the colorful dioramas «Nerpa rookery» with stuffed nerpas from the museum funds and «Winter lair» with a stuffed calf; various children’s activities were organized, including master-classes (sculpturing of nerpa figurines, painting of souvenir magnets in form of nerpa, etc.), games, contests and screening of a movie on nerpa.

The non-commercial partnership «Greater Baikal Path - Buryatia» organized the following activities in 2012:

-  launched cooperation with colleges and universities of the Republic, based on the obtained positive experience of educational activities in orphanages;

-  an ascent to Munku Sardyk Peak. Pollution of White Irkut River was detected, this is because many drivers and mountain climbers use the ice covered channel of the river as a road while ascending, up to the point of confluence of the rivers Muguvek and White Irkut;

-  construction of the infrastructure on the Sleeping Lion Mountain (Tarbagataisky district) was continued, and it was second year since the works commenced;

-  an expedition to Shumak (natural park of the regional significance) was organized.

In 2013, the partnership «Greater Baikal Path – Buryatia» performed works on improving the existing paths (Maksimikha – Ust-Barguzin; Khoito-Gol - Shumal; Arshan – Verkhnyaya Berezovka). Illegal cutting was taking place near the tourist camp Maksimikha. During the three-week period, participants of the work camp cleared the path off cutting waste and placed markings on trees. A model path was built on a stretch between the localities Arshan and Verkhnyaya Beresovka. Within the framework of the ecotourism forum «Baikal+20», a master-class for guests was held at the path. The path is equipped with the modern infrastructure elements - entrance ensembles, signs, viewpoints, and information stands. A stretch of the Moscow highway between the villages Tankhoi and Pereemnaya was explored. Many elements of the old infrastructure have remained intact and the path could be used for building a bicycle road.

The team of the project «Let’s conserve Lake Baikal» opened its 10th anniversary camp season of the International Baikal Shore Volunteer Service. From July 18 to August 15, 2012 the camp was visited by 47 people. Intensive work of cleaning the shore was done - piles of garbage were excavated and sorted, 43 m3 of glass, 28.3 m3 of plastic, 14.6 m3 of tin and 68.6 m3 of mixed garbage were collected and shifted for proper disposal (pic. 5.6.6).

Pic. 5.6.6 Garbage collection

In 2012, the Lake Baikal Conservation Foundation organized:

- the ecological camp «Khakusy»;

- the first charity marathon «Preserve Lake Baikal together with the whole world», devoted to the Day of Baikal, was organized on August 17 in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Republic of Buryatia. The raised funds (1 million rubles) would be spent during the next summer season on cleaning and providing necessary facilities at the places of public recreation on the shores of Lake Baikal (in particular, in the towns of Gremyachinsk and Goryachinsk in Pribakalsky district) (pic. 5.7.7).

Pic. 5.6.7 Participants of the first charity marathon «Preserve Lake Baikal together with the whole world»

In 2013, the Fund initiated the research expedition «TransEurasian flight Leman – Baikal». The expedition’s objectives were to develop new methods and devices for air and water sounding, enhance knowledge on the impact of forest fires on carbon cycle, develop proposals on complex environmental protection measures for the area covered by the expedition and attract public attention to the environmental issues common to Europe and Asia.

Besides, the Fund supported implementation of the following projects:

-  a winter expedition of the Student’s Science Society of the Geography Department of Moscow State University was organized in the Republic of Buryatia;

-  an exposition devoted to the expedition «The submersibles MIR in Lake Baikal» was installed in the National Museum of the Republic of Buryatia;

-  a joint expedition with the Far East Expedition Center of the Russian Geographical Society with the objective of studying the population dynamics of Baikal nerpa;

-  the environmental campaign «Clean Ice of Lake Baikal» in Barguzinsky district of the Republic of Buryatia;

-  the international forum on ecology and tourism «Ecotourism in Lake Baikal region».

In 2013, the Buryat Branch of the Russian Geographical Society took part in the following activities;

-  the expedition «In the footsteps of Przhevalsky» (in the honor of the 150th anniversary of the first expedition) (pic. 5.6.8);

-  summer schools in geography and environmental sciences on the basis of the international ecological and educational center «Istomino» (pic. 5.6.9).

Pic. 5.6.8 Participants of the expedition at the museum of the town of Kyakhta

Pic. 5.6.9 A session of the summer ecological school at the conference hall of the International Ecological and Educational Center “Istomino”

Mongolian Environmental Civil Council (MECC) was established in 2008 at the First National Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations. MECC with 700 NGOs being its members and branches in 21 aimags can be called an umbrella organization. Supreme authority of MECC is the national council of environmental NGOs that convenes once in two years. At the convention, the board of directors and supervisory boards of MECC are selected and policy documents for the next two years are discussed.

MECC's main functions are the provision of information and services to non-governmental organizations engaged in environmental activities and coordination of cooperation between the government and other organizations [12].

Besides MECC, there are other NGOs, such as «Greenpeace Mongolia», «Gal-Undesten association», «Golomt TSEKH», «United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes», «MUEM», «Nogoon Has», «Restoration management», «United TMT movement», «The future without nuclear radiation», that are active in the field of environmental protection. At the web site of the Environmental Information Center, there is a list of Mongolian environmental NGOs with description of their work and directors’ names.

In addition, within the framework of the project «Integrated Natural Resource Management in the Baikal Basin Transboundary Ecosystem», in 2014 the NGO «Mongolian Water Forum – Ushelts» initiated the establishement of a network of the environmental NGOs that work within the Lake Baikal and Selenga river basins. The list of organizations united into the network is available in the «Friends» section of the «Baikal Information Center» web portal.


1. Convention on Biological Diversity www.cbd.int/countries/default.shtml_country=mn

2. Convention on Biological Diversity www.cbd.int/countries/default.shtml country=ru

3. Transboundary diagnostic analysis of the Lake Baikal basin   http//Baikal. Iwlearn.org

4. State report “On the state of Lake Baikal and measures for its protection in 2013” – Irkutsk. Siberian Branch of “Rosgeolfond”, 2014. – 462 pp.: http://www.mnr.gov.ru/regulatory/list.php?part=1258

5. Mikheeva A.S., Tulokhonov A.K., Ptitsyn A.B., Tsybekmitova G.T. / Institutional mechanisms of regulating nature management within transboundary territories/ In the book “Environmental cooperation in the transboundary regions: Russia – China – Mongolia”. Chita, Poisk Publishing. 2012. - Part 2. - p. 52-60.

6. State report “On the state of Lake Baikal and measures for its protection in 2012” – Irkutsk. Siberian Branch of “Rosgeolfond”, 2013. – 436 pp.: http://www.mnr.gov.ru/regulatory/list.php?part=1258

7. ФГУНПП «Росгеолфонд», http://geol.irk.ru/baikal/

8. Журнал «Мир Байкала», www.mirbaikala.ru

9. Природа Забайкальского края, http://www.nature.chita.ru)

10. A website of the “Green Earth – Green Future” NGO, “Ecological education: Environment – friendly children”, http://veg.mn/page/50

11. White book of Baikal basin, http://bic.iwlearn.org/ru/druzya/belaya-kniga-basseina-ozera-baikal-obschestvennye-organizacii

12.  Environmental Information Center, Environmental organizations, human resources information center, Database of NGOs, http://www.eic.mn/orgstaff/nongovernment.php

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