Persistent toxic substances, food security and indigenous peoples of the Russian North

Spring 2002
AMAP Secretariat

A joint project between Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberian and Far-East of the Russian Federation (RAIPON), the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)

In 1998, AMAP, an international programme of the Arctic Council, presented an Assessment Report on Arctic pollution issues. This report described how persistent toxic substances (PTS) have a tendency to be transported to and accumulate in the Arctic region. The AMAP assessment also concluded that Arctic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to exposure to PTS, and that certain Arctic indigenous communities in Greenland and Canada have some of the highest exposures to PTS of any populations on the Earth. This is the result of a number of factors, among which the cold Arctic climate, lipid-rich food chains, and lifestyle of indigenous peoples, in particular their reliance on traditional foods, all play an important role.

Preliminary studies have shown that the levels of PTS in the Russian Arctic environment can be significally elevated. At the same time, as a result of recent economic changes in the country, consumption of traditional food by indigenous peoples in the Russian Arctic semms to be increasing. For these reasons, the Arctic Indigenous Peoples Organizations – Permanent participants of the Arctic Council, in collaboration with the AMAP Secretatiat, have initiated with financial support of GEF implementation of the project “Persistent Toxic Substances, Food Security and Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North”.

Main objectives of the project are:

Anticipated outcomes of the project are:

Current geographical scope of project implementation:

Project activities:


In addition to GEF funding, the project is financially supported by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, USA, WMO, UNEP, Nordic Council of Ministers, University of Tromsø (Norway) and Salamander Foundation (Canada).
Significant voluntary contributions, covering provision of data and information and technical and logistic support, are made by Russian governmental bodies (Ministry of Health, Russian Federal Service for Hydrometerology and Environmental Monitoring, and Ministry of Natural Resources) and a number of research institutions.


The project is coordinated by RAIPON and the AMAP Secretariat. The project is a part of the circumpolar assessment and monitoring activities concerning PTS impact on human health conducted by all Arctic countries within the framework of AMAP activities.

Project implementation started in February 2001; and will be completed by the end of 2003.

Contact information:

RAIPON: Russia, 117415 Moscow, Prospect Vernadskogo 37, Bldg. 2, Office 527.
Tel/fax: +7 095 930 4468, e-mail:

AMAP Secretariat: Strømsveien 96, N-0032 Oslo, P.O.Box 8100 Dep., Norway.
Tel: +47 2324 1630, fax: +47 2267 6706, e-mail: