The Russian Federation is a Party to the Ramsar Convention as the legal successor of the USSR, which joined the Convention in 1975.The Russian Federation has the greatest amount of wetlands in the world on its territory, including 35 Ramsar wetland sites, with a total area of 10,3 million hectares.
License areas of oil deposits usually coincide with wetlands. These licenses are located on different categories of land, including nature conservation areas. In some cases these are Ramsar sites (five sites) or SPNA.
The Ramsar Convention suggests following the principles of wise use, which are based on an ecosystem approach, taking into consideration ecosystem services, and the multistage principle of decision making.
During the seminar it was discussed if the oil companies are ready to work according to the rules proposed by the Ramsar Convention on the one hand and if the legislator is willing to integrate the proposed measures and regulations into current law on the other hand.
The theme of the seminar aroused much interest. Over 40 participants took part in the discussion, among them people from 11 NGOs and scientific organizations and 16 people from oil and gas companies, including Surgutneftegaz, Yamal-SPG, SN-Invest, TNK-BP, Tatneft, TNK-Nyagan, Sakhalin Energy, Shell, and Total E&P Russia.
Companies shared their experience in mitigation and minimization of impacts on wetlands, based on modern technologies and methods of planning and management of the production cycle. There were examples of implementation of compensating measures for species protection and restoration of ecosystems. It was discussed that there are some gaps in the legal base for implementation of several technologies for the minimization of impacts. The companies present expressed the opinion that the principles offered by the Convention are often implemented and exist in corporate practice, but need serious work to be fully integrated in the sphere of regulation.
Consultation with companies and scientific and non-governmental organizations will continue during preparations for the Position of the Russian Federation at the 11th Conference of the Contracting Parties of the Ramsar Convention.
The partners of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in organization of the seminar were: the UNDP project implementation office in the Russian Federation, Wetlands International, WWF Russia.
Official opening – Mr. Nuritdin Inamov, Head of Department of Foreign Affairs of Ministry of Nature Resources of Russian Federation and T.Minayeva, Wetlands International
Presentation of Ward Hagemeijer, Wetlands International – on wetlands ecosystem services
Lubov Malyshkina, Surgutneftegas – on the work on the shadow Ramsar list site
Alexey Grigoriev, expert for Greenpeace, on oil spills in marine environment
Victoria Broje, Shell, Huston, on oil spills response experience
Alexey Knizhnikov, WWF Russia on bird cleaning issue
Natalya Tsarenko, Sakhalin Energy, in the experience on bird habitats protection while oil and gas operations in Sakhalin
Evgeny Strelnikov, Yugansky Nature Reserve, on bird population monitoring in relation to oil and gas impact and sites connectivity.