Project proposal:

Monitoring of oil development in traditional indigenous lands of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Winfried K.Dallmann, Norwegian Polar Institute, and
Vladislav V. Peskov, Association “Yasavey”

This project proposal was proposed for funding to the council of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region ( BEAR ), Indigenous Peoples’ Programme, in early 2004. The Council could not allocate any funding due to the current lack of available means, but expressed interest recommended strongly to pursue other funding possibilities.

Background and motivation

The Association of Nenets People “Yasavey” has documented numerous violations of Russian environmental law by oil companies in various areas of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO). Reindeer pastures have been ― and are continually ― destroyed and polluted To collect and make easily available data on this development, an Internet-based electronic GIS [1] database showing these activities is envisaged.

Aims and objectives

1. To produce a GIS map database to the scale of 1:1 mill. of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug providing information on

   - indigenous settlements and traditional land use areas;

   - oil activities (drilling sites, pipelines, damaged tundra areas, spills, etc.);

   - development of the situation through annual comparison (preferably spring and autumn).

Such a database can be used towards management and authorities to achieve actions against the illegal development, and towards oil companies for negotiations on compensation claims.

2. Training staff of Yasavey in GIS systems and use of GIS data.

3. Stimulate similar projects in other areas of the circumpolar North.


1. Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI)
Contact person: Winfried Dallmann (research leader “Geokart” and ANSIPRA network coordinator); e-mail:,

2. Association of Nenets People “Yasavey”
      Contact person: Vladislav Peskov (President of “Yasavey”, leader of RAIPON’s Information Center ); e-mail:,

3. Possible participant: Nenets Information and Analytical Centre (NIAC), department of NAO administration. Participation is not yet clarified, although steps have been taken to involve NIAC in the project. NIAC’s participation would facilitate cooperation with the ongoing project “Nenets Environmental Database”. The project would gain from NIAC’s participation, but can be carried out without them.

Work programme

Phase 1:
Duration: ca. 1 year from the start of funding.
Within phase 1 a GIS geodatabase will be established. Easily accessable thematic data will be collected and entered. Easily accessable means that the data are contained in available documents, or available from analysing one set of satellite images. The resulting preliminary database will be made available on the Internet as an interactive map database. A series of paper plots covering the data of the GIS database will be also be made and issued together with a written project report.

Phase 2:
Duration: ca. 1 additional year.
Within phase 2, staff of Yasavey will undertake travel to relevant communities within the NAO in order to get up-to-date, local information on the communities and oil-related activities. Data will be added into the database. One or two sets of satellite images, taken one year later (spring and/or autumn), will be analysed in order to monitor changes in selected areas with expected new activities. A series of paper plots covering the updated dataset of the GIS database will be be made and issued together with a second project report.

Phase 3:
After the second phase, monitoring and data supply into the database will continue at a rate dependent on available funding. No further funding would probably still allow to add continuously available data into the database. Annual satellite monitoring will only continue with further funds.

Preliminary setup of the database

Besides standard geographical data, the database will contain information as listed below. The database allows to switch on or off various thematic layers showing the items in the table below by point and line symbols, colours or shading. The preliminary setup (below) will be evaluated during the project. In addition, relevant photos will be linked to respective localities.



Towns / non-in­di­genous settlements

total population

% Nenets

% Izhma Komi

main activities


Indigenous villages

total population

% Nenets

% Izhma Komi

% related to reindeer breeding


Nature use areas

type of nature use (reindeer pasture/ calving site; fishing /spawning grounds, hunting grounds, etc.)


season of use



Reindeer pastures

name(s) of breeding unit(s)

type of unit

ethnic affiliation

seasons of use


Protected areas

type of protected area


established (year)



Exploitation license area


year of approval




Oil installations


type of installation (drilling rig, work camp, harbour, etc.)

year of establishment /


type of activity



Traffic lines

type of traffic line (road, track, pipeline, power line, etc.)

year of establishment

relation to oil business



Impact areas

type of damage (oil spill, eroded tundra,etc.)

age of damage

degree of damage



Other relevant installations

type of installation






The language of the Internet GIS database is English. The possibility of a bilingual (English and Russian) database will be considered. The project reports will be written in English and Russian (translated by the participants’ staff).


We do not consider it necessary to list a detailed budget here. The overall budget is calculated to be ca. US$50,000 for phase 1 and US$40,000 for phase 2.

[1] Geographic Information Systems