Current and Ongoing Programs
Baikal Watch’s objective is to achieve permanent protection of Lake Baikal and its Siberian and Mongolian surroundings, and to restore the integrity of the environment throughout the region by:
- Promoting the growth of the local environmental movement and of regional grassroots organizations in particular;
- Educating the local public, and providing for the participation of the people in making regional environmental policies;
- Strengthening the rule of law in this part of the world;
- Supporting the development of economic alternatives, such as ecotourism, and other sustainable activities.
In keeping with this mission, this Earth Island project has initiated a number of different programs, all of which have been organized in collaboration with local Russian and Mongolian partners. These principal partners (all of whom have received ongoing financial and organizational support through Baikal Watch) include:
- Baikal Ecological Wave (Irkutsk)
- Baikal Center for Environmental Research and Education (Irkutsk)
- Buryat Regional Organization for Baikal (Ulan-Ude)
- Mongol Ecology Center
The following is a comprehensive list of our ongoing programs:
The Great Baikal Trail
Earth Island and its various Russian partners have started to build the GREAT BAIKAL TRAIL. This trail will travel around this great Siberian lake, some 1200 miles in all, and in so doing, it will connect 3 national parks and 4 nature reserves along the shores of Baikal!
These training programs have been developed to build the capacity of Russian and other former Soviet colleague non-governmental activist groups, with over five hundred “graduates” to date, and with dozens of local and national groups “prospering” from the financial, legal, and other operational and “informational-support” systems offered by Earth Island Institute.
Eastern Russia Oil and Gas Program
Through education, research & monitoring, preparation of impact assessments, and filing legal suits in Russian courts, as well as through heightening public awareness and calling for action, Earth Island has assisted local and national groups as they attempt to “convince” multinational oil companies, investors, and Russian bureaucrats, so that these latter take maximum precautions for protecting the environment in the oil-rich regions of the Russian east.
Save the Russian National Parks
Baikal Watch has provided international training for hundreds of park officials from throughout Russia, and has arranged numerous ecotours that benefit the parks. It has worked closely with and otherwise lobbied Russian and US government agencies, as well as the World Bank, as they plan for multi-million dollar support programs that are keeping the parks alive during these difficult financial times in Russia.
North Asia Mining Program
This project is geared to stop environmentally dangerous gold/uranium/coal mines in eastern Russia and nearby Mongolia, both by supporting public involvement, and by helping prepare official environmental impact assessments on the individual mines. With collaborating closely with renowned mining experts at Southwest Research and Information Center, we also promote ecologically clean technologies for existing mines, while helping secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical supplies for those local people whose health has been adversely affected by the radioactivity released through mining.
Save the Nerpa and other Eco-Education projects at Lake Baikal.
For the last two decades Earth Island Institute has worked in close concert with the Baikal Ecological Wave, as they key in on educating the local public and government decision-makers, to make sure that they are all aware of the value of wildlife at Baikal, and especially of the importance of the Baikal nerpa, the only fresh water marine mammal species in the world. In addition, we are presently engaged in a new nature-interpretation training program at Baikal, where, alongside local partners and the Lake Baikal Heritage Foundation we are providing extensive instruction to a new corps of professional interpretive guides, who in turn are now able to educate tourists and locals about the many natural treasures that abound in this region of the world.