23. Dezember 2005

New Russian Legislation on NGOs

This Post gives some links about the recent Duma decisions on the new Russian NGO law.

Peter Lavelle, an US think tank, comments on the 2nd reading on the law, referring especially on certain amendments in comparsion to initial bill version

In another comment Lavelle observes the controversial debate on that law http://www.untimely-thoughts.com/index.html?art=2076

Bellona, a Norwegian environment foundation, also looks upon the 2nd reading on, with focus on foreign NGOs and the registration process for Russian NGOs http://www.bellona.no/en/international/russia/envirorights/info_access/41344.html

In another article Bellona stresses the so far mostly unnoticed point, that by the new law foreign and international organizations cannot longer operate in the so-called "closed cities" in Russia (which are a dark heritage of the former Soviet nuclear activities, mostly with high contaminations in their surroundings) http://www.bellona.no/en/international/russia/envirorights/info_access/41357.html

In his "Russia´s NGOs: It´s not so simple" in the IHT Nikolas Gvosdev looks on Russian NGOs with a considerably critical eye http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/12/08/opinion/edgvosdev.php

In an intense deeper going analysis Human Rights Watch critizices the law right from the legislative beginning http://hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/russia1105/

A profound legal analysis of the new law is done by EurActive, an independent media portal dedicated to EU affairs http://www.euractiv.com/Article?tcmuri=tcm:29-150717-16&type=News

The "International Center for Not-For-Profit Law" deals with the law on its initial draft status with links to the Russian and English texthttp://

Also from "International Center for Not-For-Profit Law" comes a lenghty analysis http://www.icnl.org/PRESS/Articles/2005/20051111.htm

2. Dezember 2005

How dangerous is it to live democracy in Belorussia?

Civil engagement in Belorussia - a nightmare?
Tatsiana Khoma, a 21 year old student at the Belarus State Economic University (BSEU), seems to have to pay a high price for being engaged just for students interests. In beginning of november 2005 she attended a conference of the "National Unions of Students in Europe" (ESIB), taking place in Reims, France. ESIB is an umbrella organisation of 44 national unions of students from 34 countries Tatsiana in Reims was among about 100 participants from all over Europe. - On November 24th the Universities administration informed her, that she will be expelled due to the fact that she attended ESIB's European Student Gathering "Higher Education and European Citizenship", without notifying the university. Tatsiana Khoma did not notify the university because of two important facts: firstly will the law on reporting your whereabouts to the university not take effect until two months, and secondly did she only visit the conference during the weekend.
All people under controll?
Belorussia is known as the country of one of Europe's last dictator, Aleksander Lukashenko, a man, who on his presidential website openly announces his motto: "I sometimes have to take unpopular decisions. I know that I will not be liked because of that." It seems, this kind of "top-to-bottom-education" is introduced in all the hierarchy of the country. At least Mr Vladimir Nikolaevich Shimov, Rector of the BSEU, seems trying to become a "small Lukashenko". Such methods seem to help a personal career - but not civil engagement for the interests of all people. Time by time some Belorussion organisations demand their participation also in the structures of NGO Baltic Sea cooperation. But sorry, ladies and gentlemen, please give us an explanation about such authoritarian behaviour - why it can happen, and why without your common and loud protest?

Students organisations are shocked
The European studentsorganisation ESIB strongly condemns the actions taken by the Belarus State Economic University, as an "unacceptable violation of student and human rights [with special reference to articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights]". ESIB has sent a letter to the Rector of the BSEU, for to demand stopping of the actions against Tatsiana Khoma, and to allow her to continue her studies at the BSEU without any further harassment from the management of the University.
But their is not much hope. The girl did not only to leave the University, but also her room at the dormitory.
The Norwegian Association of Students has started a campaign in favour of Tatsiana, and have already collected hundreds of signatures for three aims:
a) Tatsiana Khoma should be allowed to continue as an ordinary student at Belarus State Economic University (BSEU).
b) Tatsiana Khoma should be allowed to stay in her dormitory.
c)All students in Belarus should be able to engage in the student movement both nationally and internationally.
"It is completely unacceptable that a student representative is treated this way and we want to show that Norwegian students strongly dissapproves of these actions", says ?yvind Reidar Bakke, President of Studentenes Landsforbund (StL).

Any chance for a change?
Tatsiana's case now seems to becomes an object of diplomacy. Even ministries and rectors conferences row up for support. The Swedish Minister for Education also wrote a letter of protest. And there is - what a wonder - a reaction! In an open letter published at the Belarus State Economic University website, the rector declares that he will stand by his decision to expel Tatsiana Khoma. He says that Tatsiana "performed a rude violation of the inner regulations of the University and demonstrated her straight unrespect for BSEU as an organization which is legally and morally responsible for the students’ security during their educational process" and that the decision "was made in accordance with the norms of the Republic of Belarus legislation in the field of education". He also critizises the international organisations who have written to him so far.

ESIB chairperson Vanja Ivosevic says: "I think the main reason why no one asked the rectors' permission to send Taciana to France is the simple fact that this course of action is unheard of anywhere else in Europe! It is a human right to move and travel freely." ESIB is still appealing to governments and international organisations to ask the rector to reverse the decision of expulsion.

25. November 2005

Proposed law seen as threat to operation of NGOs in Russia

As finnish paper HELSINGIN SANOMAT reports, a new law in Russia could make the work of independent russian NGOs more difficult. Also AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL raises a voice of concern.

"Finnish and international civic organisations have expressed concern over their possibilities to continue operating in Russia in the future. The Russian Parliament is preparing to pass a law that would place tight restrictions on the activiteis of non-governmental organisations in the country. President Vladimir Putin expressed his support for the proposed bill in an interview on a newscast on the television channel Rossija on Thursday. He also promised to hold further discussions on the details of the bill with the senior members of the Duma.

The law, which would require all NGOs to register with the Ministry of Justice, could come into effect in 2007. The NGOs anticipate difficulties particularly for human rights and environmental activists, as well as for religious groups. However, the new law is not expected to cause many problems for social and health work, which the majority of Finnish organisations in Russia are involved in.

Nevertheless, Frank Johansson, executive director of the Finnish section of Amnesty International, sees the proposed law as very alarming. "This bill is likely to result in quite an extensive dampening of the operation of free civic organisations in various parts of the Russian Federation", notes Johansson. While Amnesty International in Finland does not expect the new law to have any effect on its own operation, it could substantially hamper the work of Amnesty’s press office in Russia. Furthermore, there is a risk that certain Russian cooperative organisations which are funded by various foundations could be closed down, argues Johansson. The Russian cooperative partners are the main concern of other civic organisations as well, even though nobody knows yet what the consequences of the proposed new law will eventually be.

"The Russian organisations have warned us that the new bill could lead to problems, hence hampering our cooperation", notes Merja Hannus, the Secretary General of the Finland-Russia Society. The society is carrying out tasks related to various issues including social equality, and training civic organisations in Russia. The Vaaka association is a Finnish voluntary group whose activities include collecting baby clothes to be delivered to Russian Karelia. "We have no Russian staff and no office in Russia, but we trust that we will be allowed to operate quite freely from Finland", says Tiina Seppälä of Vaaka. Project Manager Lea Ylitalo of Karjalan Apu ("Karelian Aid") believes that the forthcoming changes will not much apply to the Russian operations of social and health groups.Arja Käyhty of the Dikoni project agrees. "Our work has met a very positive response in Russia, for we have not expressed any criticism that would undermine the foundations of Russian society", Käyhty concludes."

"Russian Federation: Draft law -- the latest in clampdown on civil society", writes AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL on the same issue. "By allowing government officials to deny registration to NGO's according to such vague criteria, there is a grave risk that decisions on which organisations are allowed or banned will be politically motivated," said Nicola Duckworth.

Baltic Sea Foundation for Environmental and Regional Development + Support Circle "Livonian Common Weal and Economic Society" of 1792

The (in English) "Baltic Sea Foundation for Environmental and Regional Development", (in brief: "Baltic Sea Foundation") is an Estonian civic law (registered name: Läänemeere Keskkonna- ja Regionaalarenduse Sihtasutus) body corporate which will shortly be inserted in the Estonian official register of private non-profit organizations (NGOs).

The seven Founders hold, either Estonian, or Swedish or German nationalities. They have different professional and social back-grounds. But, since years, they practice exceptionally good neighbourhood relations in Western Estonia (peninsula of Noarootsi / Nuckö, close to the spa of Haapsalu / Hapsal).

They found together under the roof of the Foundation to demonstrate their firm willingness to undertake joint activities for the benefit of civic society and common interest, not only in Estonia, but Baltic Sea region wide.

Continued below....


The "Support Circle 'Livonian Common Weal and Economic Society' of 1792" (in brief: Livonian Common Weal) is the German counterpart of the "Baltic Sea Foundation".

The Support Centre, for the time being, is an informal body. But it is intended to transform it, as soon as possible, into a civic association or - even better - into a foundation, incorporated under German civic law.

The denomination "Livonian Common Weal", at one hand, draws the attention on an example of singular dedication which is fully in-line with the aims and objectives of the "Baltic Sea Foundation"; at the other hand, it intends to bring the successor countries of Livonia - Estonia and Latvia - closer to each other via general interest non-profit co-operation.

Cosmopolitanism was a characteristic of the old noble "Livonian Common Weal and Economic Society"; its heritage is honoured by practising this attitude.

Continued below....


Baltic Sea Foundation


The Foundation approaches its action fields of “Development of Environmental Protection” and “Regional Development” in a complex way, i.e., always having in mind the civic society and social contexts because only a broad view can produce long lasting effects.

This methodology requires close and permanent exchange with the people, taking into account their backgrounds and, additionally, confidential relations with the official authorities and with other common interest institutions, in the country and abroad, as well.

The Founders are convinced that progress is driven, above all, by the engagement of the inhabitants themselves, especially those of the new EU countries, in the shaping of their habitat and its future. They aim at reaching sustainable solutions through general interest activities, with the help of the Foundation or its allies.

The principal promoter of the Foundation and its actual Chairman of the Supervisory Board is Juergen Lewerenz (tel. + fax in Germany – October to May: +49.2642.1532 and in Estonia – June to September: +372.47.41193. Permanent postal address: Am Bach 12, D 53424 Remagen, Germany; additionally, in Estonia during his above mentioned stay there: Mikutalu, EE 91201 Pürksi, Noarootsi; e-mail: lewerenz.juergen@freenet.de).

Over decades, Jürgen Lewerenz has accumulated experience with developing and reform countries (MEE) and with the subject related national and international, private, as well as official, institutions. Only during half of his professional career he fulfilled desk-duties at administration head-quarters. During the other half, he worked in Latin America, in Bangladesh and within and for all three Baltic countries[1]. He also served the EU Commission PHARE and TACIS Programmes.

The remaining Founders live at Noarootsi in Western Estonia, or close to the place. They are: Birgit Eldh from Spithami / Spithamn, Nova commune, with an additional residence on the island of Gotland; the couple Elar and Leili Piir, both from Noarootsi, Valeri Đeripov and Alar Uus, also from Noarotsi, and Liivia Leškin from Haapsalu.

The Foundation has been able to win a General Secretary. He is the new pastor at Noarootsi parish who, besides from his half-time parsonage attends – heroically – the inmates of the not far away Estonian central jail.

It can be anticipated that the Foundation has to contract paid personnel, in a not too far away future. Because of the absence of sufficient revenues from invested financial resources of the Foundation, personnel costs and other expenses will have to be covered from project budgets.

The task ahead is immense and long lasting. Under the given circumstances, collaborators are needed who volunteer, assuming charges and sacrifice.

State programmes will be utilised but subsidies must and will only be complementary resources; they will be employed to reach targets quicker. They must never be a substitute for own efforts and responsibility.

The Estonian Ministries for Environment and for Regional Development (in Estonia, under the roof of the Home Ministry) and the – vast by its space but small by the number of inhabitants – municipality of Noarootsi have contributed valuable advice during the stage of designing the Foundation because the public authorities of the country require reliable, safe, autonomous, civic society based, democratically operating common interest minded executing bodies with whom they can work together for the success of reconstruction and development programmes.

Ahead of giving the Foundation its actual shape, it has been discussed to develop, out of the Noarootsi based local, half-official nature and environment institution (SILMA), a communal foundation with a wider objective, i.e. including “regional development”.

Finally, this transformation could not be reached because of the decision of the Estonian State to re-organise the public nature and environment protection and to separate it from the local authorities; this field will become directly State governed[2], at the end of the current year.

By defining the whole of the Baltic Sea basin as its sphere of activities, the Founders have freed themselves from local narrowness and from too strong influence by communal policy, without giving up the friendly relations with their home municipality and their place of origin.

The Foundation has been registered, only a few weeks after its notarial enactment and, thus, it is now a body incorporate.

Within short, it will be entered in the National Register for Common Interest NGOs (“NGO Register”). This is the entrance door for bidding for the execution of official projects from nature and environment or regional development programmes, or for requesting official support for projects under its own responsibility.

The Foundation will co-operate closely with like-minded national and expatriate personalities and with analogous bodies, especially with such from EU countries.

Consortial relations (with Germany and Sweden) have commenced, long before the Foundation has been enacted.

The communication, within the Foundation and with the external world, inside and outside Estonia, will be preferentially in English.


The first projects of the Foundation will be closely related to its region of origin. These are, for the moment:

(English language commented) fotos show– to be presented in the Baltic States and in other Eastern or Western countries, as well – on the theme “Nature and Environment (possible sub-theme: ‘Birds’) in Western Estonia and a (to be defined) German reference region”, with special attention to the rich but, nevertheless, also in Estonia endangered natural circles, comparing the Estonian situation with the damage done in the respective German region. Harmful human influence; lessons learnt from mistakes; decided upon consequences and such still in discussion; protective and nature repair measures – all will be shown and described.

Co-operating (preferably: boarding) schools in Estonia (candidate: “Noarootsi Gümnasium” at Pürksi, Noarootsi municipality – due to its close relations with the here traditionally settling ethnic Swedes, usually called the “Swedish Secondary School”) and in Germany (suitable candidates are envisaged but because of un-concluded discussions, it would be premature to name them here) shall participate actively in the preparation of the event, from the start on.

The co-operating schools shall host the presentation. Boarding houses – where they exist - shall be used and, additionally, other suitable places in the neighbourhood of the schools (in Noarootsi: Lyckholm / Saare Manor, which focuses birds protection, and the close-by Lyckholm Museum).

The schools co-operation shall go hand-in-hand with a partnership between their home municipalities. This could partnership could be supported under the EU Commission “Town Twinning Programme”.

To this end, measurable own efforts have to be contributed which, in this case, could be produced (certainly mostly in kind), without major difficulties, or by the students, or their teachers, or the parents, or the municipalities, or other helpers.

On the German side, an experienced nature protection institution of a “Land” has committed itself to donate exposition material, out of its own stock or to procure it from its partners, and to help with specific know-how.

The event shall take place during the summer 2006 vacation period when the facilities of the schools and the boarding houses are available.

The preparatory period is short but sufficient – if all involved get started soon. (If not, the project will have to be postponed.)

Subsequently, the exposition shall “migrate”, not only in the Baltic Sea region but also in the West and beyond the Baltic Sea countries.

It would be desirable to develop, out of this first co-operation, a durable cohesion between the schools, their students, the parents and the teachers.


Professional movie on bird’s life in Western Estonia – one of the most important European migrating birds’ spots – for TV. This project idea originates from the local Noarootsi nature and environment body, SILMA (about SILMA, see above). Actually, with the assistance of like-minded institutions abroad, producers and connections with media institutions are sought. Interested individuals and institutions are welcome.


Local (= Western Estonia) conditions adjustment of techniques for the use of alternative energy resources – envisaged focus: geo-thermal heating -, with the help of qualified professionals, producers and independent institutes. Success promising contacts are under way.


Because of the close relation to the operational field “Regional Development”, the Foundation will also act for the rescue and restoration of monuments (and, within this context, for the re-activation of examplary, still to-day valuable, traditions). The project sketched below is actually discussed:

Restoration, in-line with valid rules and regulations for national monuments, of the roof of Riguldi (Swedish: Rickul; German: Rickholtz) Manor in Noarootsi municipality which is covered with - now widely damaged - Rhenanian slate (the manor buiding is actually owned by the City of Tallinn where it runs a summer school for mentally handicaped children), plus the transportation of the slate material - from the (usual) river Rhine shipping port of Andernach (Germany), via the North Sea and the North Sea – Baltic Sea Canal (or through the “Skager Rak” and the “Kattegatt”) and the Baltic Sea - to a port close to the Manor site, with a traditional sailing cargo-boat, formerly owned by Swedish Estonians and now completely re-habilitated by their grand-children and helpers.


Financing of services (such as: purchase commissions; health care; official administration and public services matters) for aged, remote living “singles” with poor income (test region: Noarootsi), out of the sale of attractively packed high quality products, on the basis of raw materials coming from home gardens, from forest and fields and processed by the aged themselves, including a mailing service, on “peasant’s markets”, at touristic crossings, during summer time.


Development of western (medical and catering) standard health centres (focus: re-habilitation medicine and nursing of handicaped persons), in the neighbourhood of the famous and attractive spa of Haapsalu / Hapsal (tradition: curative mud baths; see –for the history of the spa: http://www.framare.ee/) for Western European patients (model: Haapsalu’s success with social welfare and private Finnish client?le), in partnership with innovative, cost effectiveness and internationally minded Western institutions (rehabilitation and nursing centres, especially their training and logistics branches; insurers; concerned official bodies) – as alternative for hiring personnel from this region for Western service institutions.

In spite of the relatively low salaries in Estonia, returners would be enabled to increase their savings capacity because of the considerably lower local cost of living, compared with the Western high-cost host countries. They would be in a position of benefiting from Western type professional up-grading without being deprived of their personal, institutional and material connexions.


Generation of a system of thorough and in-depth audit of common interest or needy target groups oriented institutions which use “other persons’ money”, i.e. public subsidies and/or private donations, coming from internal sources or from abroad or who handle people’s savings.

The proposed system would enhance the much needed trust of supporters and costumers of such institutions and, at the same time, it would help to cleansen the NGO and the self-help world from abuse and incompetence.

This type of audit would be much more intense and far reaching than ordinary commercial audit or State Supervision ever could be. Also the conduct and the performance of leaders and managers would be judged.

The official control organs would be backed by the new system. They could rely on it what would not only ease their work burden; it would fortify the autonomy, the acceptance, the spread and the effectiveness of the audited institutions, for the benefit of the national community, as a whole.

Possible extra costs – compared with conventional controls – would be, by far, exceeded by a safety and acceptance surplus. The audited institutions would not be oppressed; on the contrary, their chances to survive and to grow would increase.

Under such a control regime, community supporting institutions, most probably, would pop up in big numbers, non-profit NGOs and commercial enterprises of this type, as the so-called self-help businesses, i.e. co-operatives, mutual societies or communal businesses, as well.

The failure of the numerous, often very expensive, attempts to re-activate people’s banks, mutual insurance societies and other financial institutions, serving low and middle income groups in the “transition economy” countries, was mainly caused by the absence of safety, caused by unsatisfactory control mechanisms. Therefore, the emerging self-help enterprises did not convince the authorities and the public did not trust them either.

The best way to develop the suggested system quickly would be the voluntary submission of the addressees to it. The proposed mechanism could be managed by associations of which the audited are members; the main role of the State Supervision bodies would be to keep a vigilant eye on the performance of the self-control system, instead of controlling individual “grass-root” institutions.

The best suited and most reliable model would be the so-called association audit, practiced, since long ago and successfully, by co-operatives and savings banks in Germany and in other countries of Continental Europe.

The positive social impacts and the competitivity, for which the financial institutions of these groupings are known, are, above all, based on their effective self-audit mechanisms, a fact which merits to be highlighted.

It would be in vain to request direct involvement of the mentioned groupings but access to their special know-how could be opened via technology facilitation agreements.

For the Eastern Baltic Sea Region inhabitants, the proposed modality is not absolutely new because, until World War II, there were successfully operating cooperative banks, mutual savings, loans and insurance societies, as well as muncipality banks in almost every place which – of course – practised self-audit, in a similar way as described above.

A valuable heritage of business culture of the Baltic Sea Region would be re-born with the application of this control mechanism.

Possible partners for the promotion, the preparation and the introduction of the new modality could be forward looking business auditors in the Eastern Baltic Sea Region and, additionally, the responsible State Supervision authorities and – of course –accountability minded leaders and managers of non-profit and commercial NGOs (the “Baltic Sea Foundation” included).

Co-operating partners could be Western auditors who intend to create a rewarding new field of attractive and competitive activities, beyond their usually practiced range of activities.


Complementary contributions and co-operation

The fortune of the Foundation – the main pillar of each institution of this type – is still rather modest because free resources are scarce among the Co-Founders.

Each of them contributed – apart from paying the erection expenses – according to the individual possibilities. The most urgent need was to reach the minimal amount required for the official registration.

It can be foreseen that no major additional endowments will come from the Co-Founders group. Each of the Founders possesses some property but this is entirely required for the subsistence of the family and as protection against risks of life.

Therefore, the Foundation is looking for complementary contributors. Money donations are especially welcome but also real estate may be donated, for instance restituted property in the Baltic countries which is not exploited by the title holders themselves.

Donations may be addressed directly to the “Baltic Sea Foundation” or – which will perhaps be preferred by those living (and paying taxes) in Germany and by citizens of other Western countries, to its German counterpart, the “Livonian Common Weal” (see below).

The Foundation’s intention is to co-operate with like-minded persons and institutions, especially for bidding consortia for the execution of official and private projects and for self-governed undertakings, with or without external support.

Since the Foundation is actually still unable to contract paid personnel und because the Founders have little free time, the call for volunteering collaborators is repeated, at this stage.


Livonian Common Weal (Society)

The “Support Center ‘Livonian Common Weal and Economic Society’ of 1792 is the Germany based counterpart of the “Baltic Sea Foundation”.

In addition to its support function, the “Livonian Common Weal” may operate in other fields which are compatible with the objectives of the “Baltic Sea Foundation” and the good traditions of its historic patron.

The “Livonian Common Weal”, for the time being, is handled by Juergen Lewerenz alone.

The Support Circle has been startet informally but it shall be transformed – hopefully soon – when additional persons or institutions join and more material and personal resources find together under its roof, into a registered civic society or, even better, into a German civic law foundation.

German income tax deduction possibilities (EStG – Einkommensteuergesetz - and AO - Abgabenordnung) played an important role when conceiving and locating the Circle.

The title “Livonian Common Weal and Economic Society” (its German name: Livländische Gemeinnützige und Ökonomische Societät), founded in 1792 in Riga, was incorporated because it is an intentions close example for the new “Baltic Sea Foundation”.

The Society is an out-standing intellectual monument and a tradition of good practice which merits to be honoured; it is worth-while to re-habilitate it.

The “old” Livonian Common Weal Society, for a century and a half, has been a positive expression of Baltic Sea culture which, since centuries, had many ties with the West, not only with the German speaking world.

The (old) “Livonian Common Weal Society” operated, for the benefit of its home region, until the beginning of World War II.

It held very closely ties with fellow institutions in the neighbouring regions of Livonia, the “Courland Economic Society” of 1836 (in German: Kurlaendische Oekonomische Gesellschaft) and the “Estonian Agricultural Association” of 1839 (in German: Estlaendischer Landwirtschaftlicher Verein).

In 1813, the “Livonian Common Weal” was transferred to Tartu (Dorpat). This domicile was kept until the end of its activities (in 1939).

In the middle of the 19th century the Society was re-named into “Imperial Livonian Common Weal….” to stress its close relations with the Zaristic crown. This name was kept until the separation of the “Baltic Provinces” from Russia, at the end of World War I.

The split of the Livonian territory and the annexion of parts of it to the, at that time, newly created, countries of Estonia or Latvia, respectively, made the undertakings of the “Livonian Common Weal” somewhat more difficult. Its co-operation with Latvia weakened a bit but, nevetheless, it kept its original orientation towards the whole region and its progress.

The activities ended with the destruction of civic culture in the Baltic Region and the isolation imposed by the occupants.

The reconstruction efforts can become effective if the initiator is not left alone. At the end of the presentation he re-iterates his wish to win personal and material support.
[1] Juergen Lewerenz was – in the period 1992-1993 - the first long-term EU adviser for Estonia (Bank of Estonia – Eesti Pank). Apart from his official job, he volunteered, upon request of the President of the Central Bank - anonymously and without honorary or consent of the EU Commission, for the design and the introduction of the new Estonian currency. All this took place, ahead of the return of the country to the international central and commercial banking community. His experience during these harsh and conflictive times was laid down in his (German language) book, titled “Banken im Baltikum. Gestern. Heute. Morgen?” (Banks in the Baltic. Yesterday. To-day. Tomorrow?) Fritz Knapp-Verlag. Frankfurt/M.. 1997. Germany. ISBN 3-7819-0590-X
[2] Noarootsi will be incorporated into one of eight Nature and Environment Districts, each of them with a Regional Office. The Regional Office for Noarootsi will be 50 km away. To maintain, nevertheless, the local ties, it is envisaged to keep a local Liaison Centre at Noarootsi. Projects will no longer be executed directly by the authority but delegated to suitable NGOs, such as the Foundation. It may well be that also such undertakings which started, ahead of the reform, and which are already financed out of State ressources, will be included in this transfer. The foundation would like to apply for such projects, or as commissioned body, or for their execution under its own responsibilty.

3. November 2005

Meeting of German NGO-Initiative for Baltic Sea Cooperation in Hamburg, 29.10.2005

Fruitful meeting
On Saturday, 29th of october, the German NGO-Initiative for Baltic Sea Cooperation came together for an annual meeting. 14 participants met in the house of the Lawaetz-Foundation, Hamburg.

Our meeting was attended by 14 people, including Mr Jan-Axel Voss, advisor on Baltic Sea Cooperation at Federal Foreign Office, Berlin.
(contact: Jan-Axel Voss, Auswärtiges Amt, Ref. E 07-9, Berlin,

The participants:
Albert Caspari, Verein INFOBALT, Bremen,
Stefan Hansen, Hohe Tied e.V., Kiel, greenbalt[ät]aol.com
Lutz Hüttel, FIDEA e.V., Hamburg, webmaster[ät]fidea.de
Burkhard Luber, Stiftung DIE SCHWELLE, Bremen,
Gerhard Maschack, Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus, Bremen, gmaschack[ät]web.de
Frauke Rubart, Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus, Bremen, fraukerubart[ät]aol.com
Bernd Scheda, Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus, Bremen, info[ät]kulturzentrum-lagerhaus.de
Maik Schulz, Verein BaltiCult, Neustadt-Glewe/Ortsteil Tuckhude, maik.schulz-2.vorsitzender[ät]balticult.de
Karin Schmalriede, Lawaetz-Stiftung, Hamburg, schmalriede[ät]lawaetz.de
Alicja Skodowska, Deutsch-polnische Gesellschaft, Hamburg, alchemikde[ät]yahoo.de
Hans-Joachim Tiefensee, Verein INFOBALT, Bremen, joachim[ät]infobalt.de
Christian Wellmann, Schleswig-Holstein Institute for Peace Research (SHIP/ Kiel), wellmann[ät]schiff.uni-kiel.de
Hartwig Zillmer, Deutsch-Polnische Gesellschaft, Hamburg, ha.zillmer[ät]web.de

In the first part of the meeting we gave some time to everybody to introduce each NGOs work and projects. Participants came together from four different Federal States: Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Bremen.

Later we continued our meeting with a short review on the BALTIC SEA NGO FORUM in Gdynia/Poland. All participants of NGO FORUM 2005 regarded the Forum as very useful for better cooperation with especially polish NGOs, as it was a good chance for meeting and discussions. Some new projects were born at the NGO FORUM, and part of them even realised already in 2005. Especially positive reports came from Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus, Lawaetz-Stiftung, INFOBALT and from FIDEA. Many German participants felt the FORUM as being one day too short - not much time to really get to know people and finish discussions. Other remarks were, that it was, as always, important to get a picture also of the meeting place outside the conference-halls (to get an impression of the atmosphere at the spot). Some people expressed their wish to have a place for introducing their projects at future NGO FORA, others wished to have more young people involved into Baltic Sea NGO Networks activities.

Mr Voss told about his experiences in his new job as advisor for Baltic Sea Cooperation at the German Foreign Office. It was an open and friendly discussion of different views and experiences. Mr Voss told about some topics raised by the Islandic presidency during recent meetings of CBSS-officials: measures against traficking, for energy-networking, Baltic Sea as PSSA - particular sensitiv area, Baltic Sea wide radiation-measuring, and the willingness of CBSS for more cooperation with Ukraine.
During the discussion a question came up on experiences of "NGO-support-offices" in East-European countries. As German NGOs don't have such offices, they are not able to hold a constant contact and propose more cooperation. Many of German NGOs believe that they do not know much about the situation of NGOs in other countries and lack a constant contact to "NGO think tanks" in Baltic Sea countries. The communication inside the Baltic Sea NGO Network seems to be too sporadic and changeful for getting a constant input on the situation in CBSS-countries, but of course we hope for improvement in future.

Some decisions of our meeting:

1) As the update of our webpage www.cbss-ngo.de would cost too much money (which we don't know where to get from), we open another common (english language) webpage, which es easier to handle, and cheaper.
The adress is
www.baltic-ngo.blogspot.com , and contributors of Baltic Sea NGO Network are also invited to participate.

2) We continue to inform all members of German NGO Initiative for Baltic Sea Cooperation by an Email-Newsletter. It is open to every NGO interested. Contact: post

3) We continue to hold annual meetings of our NGO Initiative. We will try to change meeting places, for holding travel costs acceptable for all participants. After having had meetings in Kiel, Berlin and Hamburg the next annual meeting in 2006 will be held in Rostock. We will decide about the date after getting to know the date for BALTIC SEA NGO FORUM 2006 in Sweden.

4) We discussed possible speakers for thematic networks of the Baltic Sea NGO Network.

Environment - Annelie Ehlers (CCB-network) or Stefan Hansen (Hohe Tied) greenbalt[ät]aol.com - further information can be asked from Stefan Hansen

Culture - Lutz Hüttel, FIDEA.
webmaster[ät]fidea.de Lutz will write a paper on his interpreation of the activities on this field.

Human Rights - Burkhard Luber
luber[ät]dieschwelle.de. Burkhard already wrote a paper on the issue and put it on our new Website www.baltic-ngo.blogspot.com

Social affairs - Karin Schmalriede (
schmalriede[ät]@lawaetz.de). Karin regards the field of all possible social activities as too broad and general, and will write an own paper on what she can do.

Voluntary work - Stephan Malerius, "German-Russian Exchange", Berlin,
stephan.malerius[ät]gmx.net . Stefan is ready to tell about many experiences with voluntary projects of "German-Russian Exchange", also in Ukraine.

Civil security - no one of us acitive on this field.

Regional development (possibly together with culture, Lutz Huettel will write a paper on the topic)

5) We decided on a new version of common paper on the aims of our German NGO-initiative. The German version of this new paper (which will renew the "Berlin declaration" of 2001) will be possible to access at our common webpages soon.

6) We will collect proposals from different NGOs regarding the 1.preparatory meeting for BALTIC SEA NGO FORUM 2006, which is planned to be arranged in Copenhagen 27.-29.1.2006.
Some first proposals are: Fishery, discussion between social NGOs/Trade Unions/fishery associations/environmental NGOs, traffic in the Baltic Sea region, alternative journalism, NGO capacity building, conversion.

7) We discussed possibilities to have an "Baltic Sea Office" for the German NGOs. Since we did not see realistic sources for financing, this option seems to be still an illusion. But on the other hand activities of the German NGO-initiative for Baltic Sea Cooperation can not be arranged only on voluntary base (as from 2001 until now). The government of Hamburg offered support and consulting for EU-programmes, but condition is that it should fit into the interests of Hamburg town (as we do not concentrate on one Federal State only, this condition is difficult). In Bremen the "Culture Center Lagerhaus" offers rooms for such Baltic Office, but still some money is needed to cover the costs. We will continue in evaluating the possibilities.

Albert Caspari
www.infobalt.de / post[ät]infobalt.de
NGO Initiative Ostseekooperation www.cbss-ngo.de

1. November 2005

Human Rights, NGOs and the Baltic Sea Region

On a meeting of the German Baltic Sea NGO Initiative at Oct 29, 2005 in Hamburg I have been asked to act as the German contact person for the NGO Baltic Sea Network on the issue of Human Rights. The subsequent paper lists some aspects of the Human Rights topic and deals with the question how NGOs generally and NGOs in the Baltic Sea countries specifically can promote that topic. Comments are welcome!

Contact: hubluber@web.de * Work: http://www.dieschwelle.de/ *
Blog: http://www.nienburg44.blogspot.com/

Dr Burkhard Luber
The Human Rights, Non-Governmental Organizations
and the Baltic Sea Region

- An initial navigation of uncharted waters -

Making the Human Rights universally was an act of the Western Allies against German Fascism in the mid of the 20th century. That it has been a Western concept is symbolized in choosing New York as the United Nations headquarter. Launching the Declaration of Human Rights demonstrated what the WW II winners thought to become world-wide standard. For more than five decades this concept did not face major problems (Cynics might say: It had not much genuine impact on the international community either). References to Human Rights worked well for inauguration speeches, sometimes it was a tool of reciprocal reproaches in the East-West Conflict. But it never underwent the major test, whether the UN countries would take the concept earnest and work with emphasis against countries violating Human Rights on a major scale.

Three events at the end of the last and the beginning of the current millennium changed this situation:

The disintegration of Yugoslavia with its broad-scale violating of human rights showed the sensitivity of the Human Rights concept and its application in conflicts of multi-ethnic countries.

The development of religions in the world has two contrasting spiritual tendencies. On the one hand you see an impressive secularization. Religion becomes less and less a decisive reference point for the population. It is merely an individual attitude not having a societal impact. On the other hand we see the renaissance of religious intolerance and fanatism.

The 911 terrorist attacks in the USA changed the dealing with the HR concept in three ways:

First it marked the long lasting universalism of the Human Rights concept. More and more people and countries are challenging this Human Rights uni­ver­salism by ranking religious values higher than observing Human Rights standards. That has even lead to an increasing disqualification of the Human Rights concept as a “Western imported product” to dominate the world. For an increasing number of countries the universalism of Human Rights is no longer valid, though so far none of those countries has acquitted its UN membership.

But 911 has also another 2nd consequence for the weakening of the universal Human Rights concept: Since the Bush administration narrowed its policy guidelines to concentrate more or less totally towards the war against terrorism, the universal observance of Human Rights became obsolete. Bush became more and more insensitive towards the Human Rights account of the allies he chose in his anti-terrorism strategy. That is at least evident for such authoritarian regimes like Turkme­nistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Third consequence: Countries beside the USA took Bush´s anti-terrorism strategy as a welcome chance to claim membership in this anti-terrorist alliance. That gave them the chance to declare as "terrorists" also in-house freedom-fighters, seeking secession minorities and other counter-government actors on their own territory. Prominent example is Russia´s stance against Chenya and other independence movements in the Caucasus, but other governments in Africa and Asia are taking that chance of political rhetoric too and more might take it in future. So Bush´s crusade against terrorism generates a severe decrease of relevance for the Human Right concept.

The Relevance of the Human Rights concept for NGOs
NGOs are natural partners of the Human Rights concept, since their specific contributions to a civil society - like: gender issues, lobbying for minorities and free media - can mostly take their justifications from the “Declaration of Human Rights”. NGOs can be watch dogs, which monitor the Human Rights account of their own government and society and - based on the universalism of the Human Rights concept - also internationally. NGOs are also suitable Human Rights monitors, since they are closer to the societal reality and the needs and wishes of the population than higher ranking administration and governments. And due to their small organization profile and well elaborated information exchange and brainstorming capacities, NGOs can better formulate designs for addressing and solving single Human Rights deficiencies than large government ministries and agencies.

When addressing the question whether there are there specifics for the Human Rights work for NGOs in the Baltic sea region one has to make a short political assessment of that region. Its political changes since the end of the Cold War are significant: Beside Sweden, Finland and Russia all the Baltic Sea region countries are now NATO members and beside Norway and Russia all are EU members too. However simultaneously to the membership expansion of NATO and EU in the Baltic Sea Region the relevance of both these GOs has dramatically decreased. NATO (at least as an independent military factor of itself, i.e. more than a mere logistic contributor to the US worldwide military strategy) does not play an important role in all curren$t major military events (Wars on the Balkan, Iraq War, War against terrorism). NATO´s irrelevance is matched by an EU being in a major crisis due to growingly irritations from the consequences of its recent expansion, its failed constitution ratification process and the looming danger of not having a properly approved budget in 2007. This is the broader international political context in which NGOs in the Baltic Sea Region are acting and the question is whether specific fields of NGOs work in that region can be defined. Here are some proposals:

Minority issues
which are relevant for the Russian minority in Estonia and Latvia. Here NGOs can contribute to stabilize a fair and just minority regime which can also have relevance to other European regions of multi-ethnicity (like SO-Europe and the Roma in Central Europe).

Work Employment Issues
which are relevant for all Baltic Sea countries be they tigers (Estonia) or trailers (Germany). Based on Article 23 of the Declaration of Human Rights, NGOs can contribute with proposals how to implement the Human Right for employment in economies, in which profit increase and work force decrease are complementary to each other. NGOs should publicly brainstorm the issue of unemployment much more ambitious than their governments do it, since governments for decades are unsuccessfully waiting for more economic growth with the vague hope that this would generate new jobs. Employment concepts drafted by NGOs could contrast that blind road thinking of governments by emphasizing that unemployment is no longer a temporary event but is the structural consequence of growing digitalisation and miniaturization of more and more economic processes which demands less and less human work force. NGOs can contribute to the current debate about the future of global economy and work force by shifting the focus of this debate from helpless seeking for government assistance programs. NGOs can emphasize that large areas of the economy do not need full employment of the available working force, which means that the employment issue is no longer a technical task, but has become an issue of justice and just distribution of the continuously decreasing number of necessary work forces in the production field.

Human Rights Issues which have a latent relevance
for all societies in the Baltic sea region like: Gender equality, protection of children, decreasing of violence in the mass media and the entertainment industry, right for conscientious objection against military service, protection against unjustified surveillance of the state against its citizen, freedom of mass media.

If NGOs in the Baltic Sea Region will deal with such Human Rights issues above, they will have sustainable relevance for this region as constructive and critical partners of governments and other major players in that area. Thus they can play an important role for the civic societies in their countries and the Baltic Sea Region.

To fulfil their monitoring roles adequately, NGOs should especially use all relevant electronic information and online publication tools (like emailing lists, blogging, podcasting etc), since their ease of use, low price level and quick public impact makes them highly appropriate tools for the NGO community, thus favoring their aims and work more than the traditional tools of NGO-commitments. Thereby NGO have the chance to act towards governments and big players in the society and internationally on an equal level of competence and efficiency.

13. September 2005

EU-Russia agreement on cod-fishing 230% over scientific advice

2005-09-09 CCB Press-release on the outcome of the 31st Session of the International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission (IBSFC), 5-7 September 2005, Visby, Sweden

EU and Russia agreed on fishing quota 2006 for the threatened eastern cod stock, at a level 230 % higher than the scientific advice. Overexploited Baltic cod stocks are still at risk for the long-term survival.
Now the Baltic cod stocks management for 2006 are in the hands of EU Ministers of Fisheries that have a chance to agree on a more precautionary management and lower the quota for Baltic cod in the autumn.
2/3 of all wild Baltic salmon river populations are threatened, but IBSFC’s recommendations still allow for extensive catches of the salmon in mixed open-sea fisheries.

Eastern cod stock (east of Bornholm)
In the last session in the history of the IBSFC (the European Community and the four accession countries have declared their withdrawal from the Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Resources in the Baltic Sea and the Belts, also called Gdansk Convention) EU and Russian delegations agreed on a fishing quota of 49 220 t for the threatened eastern cod stock for next year, which is 230 % higher than the scientific advice from International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (14 900 t for 2006). The ICES advice for quota corresponds to a fishing mortality that could ensure a spawning stock biomass (SSB) of minimum 160 000 t in 2007. If the quota is higher than 15 000 ton for 2006, it is not consistent with the precautionary approach.
The agreement also means that the 2006 fishing quota for eastern cod stock is 15 % higher than in this year (42 800 t for 2005).
The political discussions on cod fisheries have not resulted in any major reduction of the fishing effort and cod fishing quotas. The concept of "business as usual" will go on.
We wonder how long this policy of Baltic Sea governments and EC can continue. The Baltic cod stocks are still at risk for long-term survival, and we are coming closer and closer to a situation when the cod stocks may collapse, which will heavily affect the whole Baltic Sea ecosystem. A collapse of the cod stock would also destroy the fishing industry. A change for a responsible Baltic cod fisheries cannot wait. The EU Ministers of Fisheries still have a chance to agree on a more precautionary management and lower quota for Baltic cod in autumn.

Baltic salmon management
Many Baltic wild salmon river populations are threatened. Wild fish, predestined to return to their home rivers, are caught in a mixed (reared and wild) salmon fishery in the open sea. Salmon fishery rules must be changed to secure a safe return of spawners to all wild rivers.
The agreed catch levels for salmon in the Baltic (without Gulf of Finland) for 2006 are 460 000 fish and 17 000 fish for the Gulf of Finland (same level for both areas as in 2005).
The high ongoing salmon exploitation rate, will threaten the survival of many weak salmon populations, especially in the Gulf of Finland where the situation of the wild salmon is extremely serious.

For more information contact:
Mr Gunnar Noren, CCB International secretariat, phone +46-18-71 11 70, mobile +46-70-560 53 52
Mr Piotr Gruszka, Green Federation GAJA, Szczecin, Poland, mobile +48 601 77 4543

25. August 2005

Youngsters still do not trust politicians, but interest in NGOs grows

8030 young Europeans between the age of 15 and 25 have been interviewed face-to-face: What do you think about politics? How do you see your opportunities in participation? Do you believe in success of such your activities?

"Political Participation of Young People in Europe - Development of Indicators for Comparative Research in the European Union" (EUYOUPART), this was the title of a study undertaken in 2003 and 2004. The results were recently published.
The wide spectrum of participating countries (Austria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, United Kingdom) contributed to the identification of relevant and valid indicators for young people's involvement in politics.

As main findings and tendencies the authors of the study listed the following:

"The interest in politics among the interviewed youth varies greatly. The most interested youth live in Germany with 51%, whereas young people in the UK (30%), Estonia (29%) and Slovakia (28%) are least interested. Italy comes second with 43% closely followed by Austria with 42%, and France and Finland rank next with 36% and 35% respectively.
The study clearly shows that a majority of young people is not interested in politics (37% interested vs. 63% disinterested in total). This study, however, gives rise to the hope that the young Europeans´ interest in politics might increase with the age. The overall majority believes that voting is the most effective form of political participation, and a comparatively high percentage also makes use of their right to vote.

Although the European youth shows little trust in political parties, many feel close to a certain party. NGOs seem most trustworthy to the youth, they gain more and more importance. The young people believe working for NGOs to be more effective than working for political parties. The youth´s perception of the future, however, differs widely: whilst young Estonians prove themselves to be optimists and their peers in the other participating countries have a mostly positive picture of their future, the Austrian and German youth fears deprivation and has an overall pessimistic attitude.

Finally, there is to say that whilst the youth shows an increasingly more critical attitude towards the prevalent political system, they still make use of their participative rights and duties within the representative democracy. As a social and political form of expressing their opinion, protest is becoming increasingly important for them. New social movements and new political organisations are well considered and are more attractive than the traditional ones. Participation in these new forms is growing."

Single country reports are ready for download (PDF-files) at the Website of German Youth Institut.
United Kingdom

5. August 2005

Halonen defends NGOs and Baltic Countries

Halonen defends Baltic Countries at press conference with Putin

source: HELSINGIN SANOMAT, Friday 5.8.2005

President Tarja Halonen gave an exceptionally strong defence of Estonia and Latvia during an outdoor press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Finnish President’s summer residence Kultaranta in Naantali.
Putin had lamented what he saw as the poor treatment of Russian-speaking minorities in the Baltic Countries. Halonen said that the legislation of Estonia and Latvia are acceptable, and that she would have hoped that Russia would have ratified the border treaties Estonia and Latvia.

There was also some disagreement on the roles of non-governmental organisations. A few weeks ago Putin hinted that various Russian environmental organisations had received funding from Finland to prevent Russia from building oil terminals on the Gulf of Finland.
At a press conference late Tuesday morning, Putin said that he takes a positive view of cross-border cooperation of NGOs - with certain reservations.
"I oppose the financing of political activities... I oppose the use of environmental protection as a means of competition", Putin said.
President Halonen saw the new sewage treatment plant in St. Petersburg, and the Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki as good examples of what can be achieved by cooperation between states and among NGOs.
"Naturally it is not possible to co-opt the NGOs, nor is it a good idea to try to do so, but friendly support, also on the side of government, for the activities of such organisations is part of today’s Europe", Halonen said.

Putin said that he hoped that Halonen could attend the opening of the new sewage treatment plant in St. Petersburg in September. Halonen said that she probably would attend.

In spite of their disagreement on certain issues, both presidents insisted that relations between Finland and Russia are in good shape.
"A desire to cooperate was the clear message", Halonen said, summing up the significance of the visit, after seeing her guest off to Turku Airport on Tuesday evening.

29. Juni 2005


"Clean Dvina - Clean Baltic" Summer Camp

From 28 of July to 4 of August the international environmental camp "Clean Dvina - Clean Baltic" will take place in the area of Novopolotsk city. The participants of the camp will focus on the problem of the obsolete pesticides disposal dump and its influence on the ecosystem of the Western Dvina and the Baltic Sea. One of the largest pesticides disposal dumps in Belarus is situated in the area of Verhnedvinsk city, within some kilometers from the Western Dvina inflow. According to the official information there were buried 455 tones of about 47 types of pesticides, including chlorine-organic. It is quite possible that the amount of pesticides as well as a number of types is higher. The present conditions of the disposal dump causes alarm among the environmental activists.

Activists of different environmental NGO's from Belarus and other countries are coming to the international environmental camp "Clean Dvina - Clean Baltic" to express their solidarity in the cause of water protection and solution of the dangerous pesticides disposal dump. Among the organizers of the international environmental camp "Clean Dvina - Clean Baltic" international environmental camp "Clean Dvina - Clean Baltic" are:Environmental group Foundation for Realization of Ideas, Minsk, Belarus;International Environmental Group Ecodefence! Kaliningrad, Russia;Latvian Green Movement, Latvia.Supported by Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB).

Why is it important?
Western Dvina is one of the most polluted rivers in Belarus.. Baltic is a region of the utterly varied flora and fauna, a region which is threatened by the pollution of chemical substances - pesticides. . Pesticides are the extremely toxic pollutants which pose a real threat to the environment and human health. . The Verhnedvinsk pesticides disposal dump is one of the largest disposal dumps of the dangerous chemical waste products in Belarus.. There is a real threat of releases of high toxic chemicals to the environment in the water area of the Western Dvina and the Baltic Sea. . Health consequences from pesticides impact are very considerable. Such pesticides are capable to cause embryotoxic and mutagenic effects. The health injury usually doesn't appear in the exposed adult population, but rather, in the offspring. . Officially, this pesticides tomb has no owner. None official structure accounts this dump, the verifications are irregular.. The population of the neighbouring villages and settlements is not informed on the health consequences from pesticides impact and does not emphasize the real threats. The local authorities don't inform citizen about the imminent danger.. There is an idea to burn these obsolete pesticides from the tomb in special incinerator as a solution of this problem. Incineration of these chemical substances can be a source of other dangerous substances. Organizers of the camp advocate:. Conducting of a complex independent environmental monitoring on the territory of Verhnedvinsk hot spot.. Preventing usage of incinerators or cement kilns as a solution to the obsolete pesticides problem.. Dissemination of the information about the present condition of the disposal dump and the fatal consequences of the pesticides usage. Actions planned during the international environmental camp "Clean Dvina - Clean Baltic 2005": The summer camp activities can be divided into two constituents: educational and informational:Educational part includes trainings, workshops, and lectures for the participants on the problem of chemical pollution and toxic chemicals management, water resources protection and chemical safety, effective public work of NGO. Informational part includes actions and events directed on attraction of the attention of the local population, local authorities and Mass Media to the problem of the disposal dump; elaboration of the possible problem solving; discussion on the possible cooperation among different NGO's on the issue of water protection. How to take part: . Make sure that you are definitely incited to take an active part in the activities of the international environmental camp "Clean Dvina - Clean Baltic", get into gear, and participate in actions, trainings, lections.. Make sure that you are able to spend a week in very modest conditions. . Fill the registration form, send it to the headquarters of the Camp and wait for the prompt reply. BE ATTENTIVE! Those who wish to take part should send the fulfilled form to the Headquarters of the Camp before the 17 of July 2005!The Headquarters of the Camp provide accommodation, food for all participants for the whole period of the camp; travel reimbursement is available only for participants from Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia.

Headquarters of the Camp
Please send the registration forms, questions and suggestions to the underwritten address:info@friby.org

For further information please contact the Headquarters:

In Belarus: +375 29 685 81 44, +375 29 658 74 45, e-mail: info@friby.org

In Russia (Kaliningrad): + 7 911 45 20 412, e-mail: gruzdi@gmail.com

In Latvia+3719173047e-mail: alda.ozola@zalie.lv

10. Juni 2005

Kaliningrad NGO honoured with award

Russian NGO ECODEFENSE! in Kaliningrad was awarded with the “ENVIRONMENT FOR PEOPLE” Prize for the protection of the Baltic environment and environmental education of students, teachers and politicians.
On the 8th of June letter from International Department of the City of Kalmar (Sweden) has reached the office of environmental NGO Ecodefense! In Kaliningrad. “We are very glad to inform you that the City of Kalmar has decided to give you the environmental prize “Environment for people”, - writes its author, Anders Engstrom, International Department official. As it is stated in motivation part of the prize’s evaluation committee, Ecodefense! was awarded with this honorary prize for its directed actions carried out with the aim to reduce pollution in the Baltic Sea. Also committee members specially note Ecodefense! environmental training activities for teachers, pupils, politicians and the public.
“The comprehensive training and campaign work has become a model method in encouraging people to become active in environmental matters for sustainable development on local, regional and international levels”, - says evaluation committee in the awarding decision. Significant factor for the final decision of the committee was active cooperation of Ecodefense! with different structures, state and private, municipal and public in most countries around Baltic Sea.
Such campaigns as “Clean river – clean Baltic”, that has resulted in starting of wastewaters treatment facilities construction on pulp-and-paper enterprises of Kaliningrad region of Russia and “Stop D6!” that has united environmentalists from Kaliningrad, Lithuania and Poland in the effort to prevent oil pollution of the Baltic Sea through oil drilling; support of the Svetly town citizens in their struggle to prevent construction of the oil terminal nearby by means of first environmental referendum in Kaliningrad region;
environmental information agency that includes press-service and publication environmental magazine; legal rights’ protection campaign; environmental education projects and other Ecodefense! activities were truly appreciated by Council of City of Kalmar.

The prize will be graced to Ecodefense! representatives during celebration of Hanseatic Days in Tartu, Estonia on July 2nd. “Environment for people” awards are made by DIE HANSE network to individuals or organizations that have contributed in some way to improving the environment of the Baltic Sea and the shipping waters of the Hansa League. DIE HANSE is an active network of towns and cities that historically belonged to the association of merchant towns known as the Hanseatic League, or had lively trading exchanges with it. The new HANSE (www.hanse.org) was founded in 1980 in the Dutch town of Zwolle and since then it has become the world's largest voluntary association of towns and cities.

For additional information, and direct contact: Ecodefense! phone +7 911 4520412, +7 0112 580286; ecodefense@ecodefense.ru

6. Juni 2005

The Corrupted Nuclear Industry Is Mortally Dangerous for Russia

Declaration of non-governmental organizations concerning the arrest of the former Atomic Energy Minister Adamov

On May 2, 2005 in Switzerland the former Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Evgeny Adamov was detained on suspicion of diverting money intended to improve Russian nuclear security. The former minister is accused of embezzlement of several million dollars of American taxpayers' money.

Actually, corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation in the nuclear industry are much more serious.

From 1998-2000 Minatom (the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry) received as international assistance more than $270 million for a waste management program – funds that, according to the Russian Court of Auditors, “were not registered and reported”. As officials from the General Prosecutor’s Office reported in 1998, the top management of the largest nuclear industry plant, Mayak, used forged documents to smuggle radioactive materials. Thefts of high tech equipment became an ordinary practice at national nuclear power plants: in 2002 alone at the Leningrad NPP the theft of hundreds of water flow meters and machinations with servo-motors were exposed. This is just one aspect of the problem.

Most accidents at nuclear plants are caused by human error. When the attention of nuclear industry workers, irrespective of their position and status, is focused on commercial machinations, while neglecting safety of the country, which causes threat of new accidents similar to the one in Chernobyl.
Therefore we, Russian non-governmental organizations, call on President Putin and Prime Minister Fradkov to urgently reconsider the energy strategy of the country, to reject plans to construct new nuclear reactors and other dangerous projects, proposed by the head of Rosatom (construction of floating NPPs, plants for reprocessing irradiated nuclear fuel, construction of international radioactive waste repositories).
Today in Russia, it is possible to produce 30% of the total energy requirements of the country using technically and economically available renewable energy sources (while the share of nuclear energy in the total energy balance is less than 4%!). The potential of energy saving in the total energy balance is at least 40%. Expenditures to develop these environmentally friendly energy sources will be considerably less than expenditures for nuclear industry development. At the same time, available uranium stocks for the thermal nuclear energy industry are exhaustible, as oil and gas are.

We call on the top authorities of the country to show their political will in order to create conditions for investing scientific, labour and financial resources in energy saving and development of renewable energy sources.

V.A. Chouprov, Greenpeace Russia Energy Department Coordinator
A.V. Yablokov, President of the Centre for Ecological Policy of Russia
M.A. Piskunov, Board Chair of the Center for Assistance to Citizen Initiatives, Dmitrovgrad.
A.M. Vinogradov, Chair of the Balakovo Division of the All-Russian Environmental Protection Society
N.I. Mironova, Chair of the NGO “Movement for Nuclear Safety”, Chelyabinsk
S.I. Zabelin, Co-Chair of the Council of the International Social-Ecological Union
A.V. Toropov, Siberian Environmental Agency, Tomsk
L.V. Popova, Director of the Centre for Nuclear Ecology and Energy Policy, Co-chair of the Council of the International Social-Ecological Union
A.A. Talevlin, Vice-President of the Chelyabinsk NGO “Pravosoznaniye”
E. Murzakhanov, Board Chair of Tomsk Environmental Student Inspection (TESI), Tomsk
V.Slivyak, Ecodefense
M.P. Rikhvanova, Co-Chair of Baikal Environmental Wave, Irkutsk
V.S. Vedenkov, Chair of the Krasnoyarsk Division of the Movement “For Human Rights”
B.V. Nekrasov, Siberian Environmental Alliance, Tomsk
V.T. Semyashkina, Save Pechora Committee, The Republic of Komi
N.V. Kalinina, Board Chair of the Amur Ecological Club “Ulukitkan”, Blagoveschensk
G.B. Anosova, Director of the Baikal Centre for Public Environmental Assessment
A.V. Lebedev, the Bureau for Regional Outreach Campaigns (BROC), Vladivostok
P.E. Osipov, Director of the Amur Regional NGO “AmurSEU”
I. Shaidullin, Board Chair of the NGO “Chisty Gorod”, the Republic of Tatarstan
A.S. Gorelik, Public Committee of Human Rights Protection, Krasnoyarsk
O.L. Podborskaya, Coordinator of the Coalition “Zhivoe Pravo”, Krasnoyarsk
A.A. Babiy, the International Society “Memorial”, Krasnoyarsk
S.G. Shapkhaev, Buryat Regional Baikal Association
S.V. Pogozhev, “Respectable Citizens’ Society”, Krasnoyarsk
A.A. Polkovnikov, “The Union of the Unemployed in the Krasnoyarsk Krai”, Krasnoyarsk
O.V. Khristolyubova, Regional Rights Protection Committee, Krasnoyarsk
D.A. Puntus, All-Russian Society “Znaniye”, Krasnoyarsk
O.V. Bodrov, Board Chair of Zeleny Mir, Sosnovy Bor – Saint Petersburg
N.A. Zubov, Executive Director of the NGO “Krasnoyarsk Regional Ecological Union”, Krasnoyarsk
O.G. Likhtina, Chair of the Non-Governmental Rights Protection Organization, Krasnoyarsk
E.V. Spirin, Chair of the Sosnovoborsk Representative Office of the NGO “Krasnoyarsk Regional Environmental Union”, Sosnovoborsk
L.Ya. Zubova, Chair of the NGO “Academy of Russian Medicine”, Krasnoyarsk
D.N. Levashov, Deputy Chair of the Regional Environmental NGO SPES (Social Legal Ecological Community), Nizhny Novgorod Region, Dzerzhinsk
V.I. Dmitrieva, ISAR, Far East
A. Kozlovich, Ariston, Karelia
M.A. Shingarkin, Public Foundation “Grazhdanin”
E. Kruglikova, Apatity Ecological Centre “Gea”, Murmansk Region
A.P. Laletin, “Siberia Forest’s Friends”
O.A. Chernyagina, President of the Kamchatka League of Independent Experts
N.L. Kutepova, the Ozersk Social Ecological NGO “Planeta Nadezhd” (Planet of Hopes), Chelyabinsk Region
T.I. Savchenko, Magadansky Environmental Centre
O.Ya. Moskvina, “SoDeistvie tw”, Magadan
G. Smirnov, Chukotka Ecological Association “Kaira-Club”
A.E. Kaplin, President of Volga interregional public foundation of collaboration
R.G. Miniahmetov, Director of Institute of social ecology and sustainable development
I.B. Shafrutdinova, Chairman of Council of Ulianovsk regional branch of Allrussian movement “Green Planet”
V.V. Zaharov, Chairman of “Russian Green Movement”
Y.A. Fedorin, Chairman of Council of “Green Wave” movement, Chelyabinsk
F.G. Kobzhasarova, “Fatiha” movement, Chelyabinsk
A.V. Zimenko, Biodiversity conservation center
A. Arbachakov, AIST, Mezhdurechensk