The seven-years experience of the EcoInfoCentre shows the urgent need in its services, especially in view of absence of other similar centres in St.Petersburg and Leningrad
region, the area with population of about 7 mln. The Ecoinfocentre in St. Petersburg has become a major informational, methodical and consultative resource in the following spheres:
• Baltic Sea protection; river watch/river basin management; sustainable coastal development; wastewater management; LA 21, etc.
• Sustainable energy solutions, energy efficiency, energy saving, renewable energy sources
• Sustainable solutions to transport and air pollution problems, promotion of public transportation and bike routes; energy-efficient and environmentally friendly transport, etc.
• Public participation in decision-making, protection of environmental rights, etc.
• NGO co-operation, NGO networking, NGO institutional development.
• Green Consumerism.
The Ecocentre work for public participation and lobbying in 2001-2007 included:
• Organising NGO participation and NGO proposals to Public Hearings on: a new cargo port in Lomonosov, cleaning / restoration of Strelka river, St.Petersburg Ring Road, new Statute of nature reserve Lebyazhye (Ramsar area), Nordstream project, and many others.
• Legislation related activities: comments to Federal Water Code, Urban Code, several laws concerning EIA, comments to the Law on St.Petersburg General Plan, preparation of St.Petersburg Law on Green Areas, preparation of St.Petersburg Law on Forming Environmental Culture, etc.
The Ecocentre organised many seminars, conferences, and trainings in 2001-2008. The major of them were:
• International conference “Nature and Society” – 2002,
• Russian Estonian conference on local initiatives for sustainable development – 2004,
• International conference on Climate and local action for reduction of CO2 emissions – 2006,
• International conference on Environmental Responsibility of Business – 2007,
• International and regional conferences and seminars on sustainable wastewater technologies, application of energy efficiency and renewables in NW Russia, Green
consumerism, environmental education, education for sustainable development, etc.
During seven years, the EcoInfoCentre has been successfully working as NGO networking resource:
• EcoInfoCentre initiated and gave basis for the Round Table of Environmental NGOs in St.Petersburg and Leningrad region created in 2005 for co-ordination of their activities.
• It has become the resource centre for the North-West Russia Rivers Network which was established on 10 January 2004. Presently, this network unites over 20 NGOs and environmental groups.
• It is the methodical and resource centre for SPARE (International School Programme for Application of Resources and Energy) network activities.
• It serves as the networking centre for an inter-sectoral group of activists working on transport and air pollution problems in St.Petersburg.
• It is operating as a CCB information centre, distributing CCB publication both to the Centre’s visitors and at different events organised by the Centre and by other organisations.
• It is the unique methodical centre for the network of Public Information Centres on Energy Efficiency in North-West Russia.
• It is the focal point of CBSS-NGO process in Russia in the environmental field.
• It is a part of the Russian network of inter-sector (NGO-GO) environmental information centres of North-West Russia, created in 2006.
• It is the focal point of Russian Socio-Ecological Union in St.Petersburg. The example of the EcoInfoCentre was highly appreciated and used for multiplication to create similar Centres:
• in Apatity (Murmansk region) and Lomonosov (Leningrad region), joint project, 2003-2004;
• In Pskov, Novgorod, Kaliningrad, and Arkhangelsk, initiated and methodically supported by the St.Petersburg EcoInfoCentre within the project “Strengthening the Influence of Environmental Information in North-West Russia”, 2005-2007.
Seven Years of Experience – Conclusions
The Ecoinfocenter raised public environmental awareness, showed opportunities for strengthening public participation, assisted the development of the public
environmental movement, and contributed in sustainable solutions of various environmental problems. The St.Petersburg has proved to be the information and resource centre of high
demand and importance for environmental NGOs, activist groups, youth environmental groups working on environmental protection in St.Petersburg, Leningrad region and
North-West Russia. The Centre implements very important activities on strengthening environmental NGOs and the public sector on the whole in the region.