Strategy 3. Raising public awareness of the Lake Ladoga region problems and involving the general public in decision-making. Promoting the region's identity as an area unique both ecologically and historically.
One of the priority tasks in promoting sustainable development in the region is involving local population in the solution of local nature conservation problems and raising their awareness of the situation in the region. Several public and non-governmental organizations are already working in the Lake Ladoga area, but the general public know very little about these projects. Mass media tend to report only of serious problems (calamities), such as the case with the Syass river pollution by the Syassky pulp-and-paper mill in the spring 1999. Practically no positive or educating information is provided.
The situation can be altered by means of an ad-hoc publishing
programme which will include publication of the guides to the Lake Ladoga
region, popular science reference book on Ladoga and adjacent areas, various
promotion materials (calendars, postcards). Another component of this work is a
TV project, which implies that the regional TV companies will be regularly broadcasting stories about the Lake Ladoga region (see Annex 9.3).
Public awareness will be raised the and people concerned with the problems will be involved in nature conservation in the Lake Ladoga region by addressing specific target-groups. Public awareness activities including dissemination of newsletters, brief identification manuals, etc. among such groups as hunters, fishermen, mushroom-gatherers and so on in the relevant organizations will first of all broaden their erudition so that they can become sources of the basic information on the state of the environment and biodiversity in individual areas.
The main component of public awareness activities with the long-term perspective of developing an environmentally literate and responsible society is environmental education among younger children. A priority task in this connection is to expand the Naturewatch programme in the region (project implemented by StPNS BFN with support from WWF, Sweden). Another promising project will be the organisation of eco-tourism for children in the region (an example is the Russian-Danish scout team working in the Nizhne-Svirsky reserve). Simultaneously, a system will be developed for training qualified nature conservation specialists in specialised higher education institutions of the region.
Development of certain sectors and attracting investments to the region will be much enhanced by dissemination of information and promotion materials about the region. Such activities should begin with creating and exchanging photo- and video-materials among partner organisations in Europe (e.g., via the StPNS BFN "Ecovestnik" project). Another part of it is extending co-operation with tourist agencies, which promotion campaigns include also information about the Lake Ladoga region.