Russland: Chupa, Karelien - hoch im Norden
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Russia: Chupa, Karelia - far up in the North

What is at issue:

The "Basin Council of the North Karelia Coast" is a forum for all citizens interested in sustainable development. It aims to promote the exchange of information and raise awareness of coastal management, nature conservation and development. To this end, projects for nature conservation and sustainable development are implemented and environmental education is conducted.

The Basin Council is a non-profit organisation, founded in 2003 with the support of WWF Russia and the Lighthouse Foundation. The Basin Council has some 100 members, primarily active citizens from the Chupa Region on the White Sea: Fishermen, teachers, business men and women, representatives from local government. There is close co-operation with local government, the official bodies of the Republic of Karelia, scientific institutions on the White Sea such as the Universities of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk biological stations as well as the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Basin Council is also developing contacts with the Finnish community of Taivalkoski.

With its own projects and initiatives around the core of the Basin Council, the remote region continues to evolve.

Out of the project, the culture developed at the Arctic Circle: Festival White Noise

What's happening now:

In 2018, the project will contribute to the formation of a self-responsible regional development and support the implementation of the protection strategy of the Barents Sea Ecoregion, which is part of the engagement of WWF Russia. Strategic objectives for the Greater Barents Sea as well as for the Chupa region are the protection and restoration of natural ecosystem processes and functions in order to preserve the diverse communities, the promotion of civil society and the possibilities of alternative, sustainable farming by e.g. environmentally sound tourism, small scale coastal fisheries and sustainable forestry. At the same time, experiences will be gathered with the establishment of marine protected areas in Russia and models for the introduction of participatory approaches in coastal zone management will be developed.

What we have achieved:


  • Study on sustainable tourism in the Loukhi district of Karelia
  • Support of start-ups of rural and cultural tourism in (successful) participation in the first round of the All-Russian competition "Cultural Mosaic of Small Towns and Villages
  • The plans for the establishment of the reserves "Old Lakes" and "Kumozersky" were presented to the population. However, there is resistance, which must first be cleared up in a discussion process.
  • International Conference on Science and Practice in the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the White Sea - Ways of Conservation and Development". The main topic of the conference in 2019 was the rational use of natural resources

2016 -2018

  • Under the umbrella of the Basin Council, an volontary group of nature conservation inspectors was formed under the leadership of a full-time inspector. Their tasks include the knowledge and control of specially protected natural areas and the enforcement of conservation status.
  • Planning the construction of wastewater treatment plants with government support to treat 260,000 cubic metres of wastewater in Chupa.
  • Nature conservation measures on the Varzuga River.
  • Numerous educational events for children, adolescents and adults.
  • Organisation of the 5th international scientific and practice-oriented conference "Natural and Cultural Heritage of the White Sea".
  • Planning for further development of the cultural infrastructure in Chupa: Establishment of a geo-center in a central administrative building as a museum on the history and geology of the region, using an old mill complex for cultural and tourist purposes.
  • Organization of the fourth International Science Conference on the Cultural Heritage of the White Sea.
  • Revival of traditional techniques for salt extraction from seawater and its marketing in the tourist sector.
  • Organization of a conference on the protection and regeneration of Atlantic salmon in the rivers of Karelia.
  • Preparation of a study on the establishment of a geological monument of regional importance.
  • Organization of the interregional regatta "Kandalaksha Bay Cup"
  • Organization of the third conference on the "Natural and Cultural Heritage of the White Sea".
  • Practical support and participation in the festival "White Noise" in Chupa.
  • The practical support of the children's leisure "Gold of the White Sea".
  • Investigation of different rivers as habitat of the European freshwater pearl mussel.
  • Support of local initiatives in the development of tourism offers.
  • Meetings and "round tables" with stakeholders in sustainable tourism.

2011 - 2015

  • The Basin Council has evolved into an institution and is now a contact point for tourists and the organizational base in project implementation. The Board of Directors, as a permanent advisory body to the organization, reassembled in 2011
  • Carrying out a pilot project on biowaste
  • Chupa Yacht Club introduces students to sport and Karelia's nature
  • Various training and further education opportunities for students, nature guides
  • Improvement of the visitor guidance infrastructure in the protected areas of the region
  • Participation of the Basin Council in the establishment of new protected areas
  • Agreement on an eco-trail in Letnaya Bay
  • Establishment of a trekking route on the historic post office
  • Archaeological expeditions and investigations and publication of cultural historical documents
  • Concept for a local history museum and a geological exhibition
  • Preparation and realization of the ethno-cultural festival "White Noise".
  • Various exhibitions, sports competitions and lectures as a contribution to cultural life in the region
  • International exchange of experience with Slowfish in Genoa, Italy
  • Activities of the Basin Council are considered non-political and no signs of a "foreign agent" are revealed. The work of the Basin Council was recognized by the Russian Ministry of Justice as being of public benefit and social orientation.

2003 - 2010

  • SWOT Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses and Opportunities and Threats for the introduction of sustainable resource management with the participation of the population on the coast of Karelia.
  • Formation of a coastal council
  • Establishment of an initiative center as a regional meeting point in Chupa
  • Offer of outdoor ecological courses for children and the publication brochures on the regional environment for tourists
  • Involving the young generation in regional sustainable development in summer eco-school
  • Increase employment in tourism through partnership with tour operators
  • Process for the design of a nature park with the participation of the municipalities in planning and development
  • First approaches for tourist activities in diving and sailing
  • Studies on the impact of tourism on coastal landscapes and the potential of the coast for nature tourism
  • Procurement of financial resources for a garbage truck and its operation in cooperation with the municipal administration
  • Improvement of municipal administration and spatial planning in Chupa,
  • Organization of seminars for local fishermen on legal and scientific background
  • Professional and recreational fishermen organize themselves under the auspices of the Basin Council
  • Initiative for the reorganization of fisheries in coastal waters of Karelia with regard to fishing zones, fishing rights, quotas and quota sharing
  • Self-organization of artisanal fishing and securing their rights in some fishing zone

Details from preceding project phases:

Project archive

White Noise
"White Noise" festival stage
Environmental education with children
Environmental education with children
Seminar on the cultural history
Seminar on the cultural history
 touristic infrastructure
Improving the touristic infrastructure

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Who has done it

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