«Non-governmental organisations have no right to make anyone abide by environmental regulations and laws or to obligate to do concrete actions for the sake of nature. But NGOs can bring various nature conservation problems directly to the public, tell the truth about what happens, and catalyze by their activities various changes necessary to improve nature conservation».
А.Yu. Yaroshenko, Head of Forest Department, Greenpeace-Russia
We felt the need to conduct public monitoring, first of all, when it was necessary to assess and predict the aftermath of the industrial project “East Siberia – Pacific Ocean Oil Pipeline” with its terminal in Perevoznaya Bay, Khasan district. This project caused indignation and protests among the scientists in the Russian Far East and local people, because it threatens the critically endangered wild Amur leopard population and sea inhabitants of the nearby Far Eastern Biosphere Marine Reserve in the Peter the Great Gulf of the Sea of Japan. Moreover, it posed a danger that spawning rivers in that area could be polluted. Thanks to joint efforts by scientists of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and local and foreign NGOs, we managed to urge project designers to change location of the oil terminal, and thereby reduce ecological hazards to human health and the environment. During construction activities the Phoenix Fund together with other NGOs monitored construction sites, revealed violations and informed appropriate supervisory agencies in order to ensure compliance with ecological laws.
Soon, another project – Sakhalin Island-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok Pipeline – appeared. Nobody denied the necessity of provision of gas supply to Primorsky krai, but given our experience with the oil pipeline project, we together with our partners decided to keep an eye on the construction of the gas pipeline.
Every year new industrial development projects start in Primorye, and now ecological problems provoke heated debates among representatives of local communities during the sessions of the Community Council under Primorsky Interregional Environmental Prosecutor’s Office. The Phoenix Fund is an active member of this Council, and also is a member of the Working Group on Amur Leopard Conservation established at the international symposium in 2010.
Our main goals are to increase ecological information availability for the public, to assist state environmental supervisory agencies, to increase efficiency of state environmental monitoring and provision of the information about accidents and emergencies to the public, to conduct independent monitoring over industrial objects which were not included in the monitoring programme by the state agencies.