Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.
Environmental monitoring in Estonia
Switzerland has equipped Estonian laboratories and monitoring stations with modern devices and financed the training of personnel. This has given Estonia comprehensive, reliable environmental data on water, air, radioactivity and natural disasters.
Protecting the environment
- To increase the reliability, scope and efficiency of the environmental monitoring system.
- To gather reliable and comprehensive environmental data.
- To ensure data and information transfer towards the European Commission as required by EU directives in these fields.
- To enable politicians to propose appropriate measures reducing environmental pollution, increasing living standards and promoting sustainable economic development
- The eight recipient public agencies and research institutions will benefit from updated equipment and training.
- Estonian public authorities will benefit from better data allowing them to propose appropriate measures and to report required data to the European Commission.
- The population of Estonia and Northern Europe benefit from improved living conditions, sustainable economic development, a less polluted environment and reduced health risks.
- Upgrade of environmental laboratories, environmental monitoring stations, the early warning system and the sampling techniques by providing relevant measurement and data analysis equipment as well as modelling software.
- Related technical assistance to various state agencies and research institutions.
- The Estonian environmental monitoring system is more reliable as a whole: collected monitoring data shows 90 per cent reliability.
- The scope of the Estonian environmental monitoring system is increased: More than 90 per cent of the crucial data get systematically collected.
- Efficiency of the Estonian environmental monitoring system is improved: Costs related to the production of one unit of environmental monitoring data are reduced by 40 per cent.
- Effectiveness of the Estonian environmental monitoring system is improved: 70-89 per cent of relevant geographical locations are used for environmental monitoring.
- Competence of the specialists carrying out the environmental monitoring has been improved: More than 200 persons have been trained in using the new/upgraded equipment.
- National Coordination Unit
- Estonian Ministry of Finance and Estonian Ministry of the Environment
Currently the Estonian laboratorial capacity is weak compared to EU requirements and several chemical analyses are ordered from the laboratories of more advanced EU member states. The implementation of this Programme will contribute to the development of Estonia's monitoring and laboratorial capacities. As clean water resources, high ambient air quality and radiation safety are of vital importance for humans and ecosystems, the current programme is focused on development of surveillance capacities in these sectors.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Several Estonian universities, research centers and other institutions
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 8’500’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 8’426’190|
Phase 1 01.12.2011 - 30.06.2016 (Completed)
Estonia is sparsely populated and has vast swathes of virtually untouched landscape. The country is characterised by its proximity to water: Estonia has more than 1,500 islands and 1,000 lakes and its coast is 3,800 kilometres in length. Numerous marshes, upland moors and forests shape its landscape.
The collection of reliable environmental data is crucial to preserve this unique natural landscape, putting the Estonian authorities in a position to take well-founded decisions to protect the environment. For Estonia, high air and water quality, radiation protection and the prevention of natural disasters are especially important. For this reason, environmental monitoring has been improved in these areas in particular.
Modern equipment and training
Switzerland participated in the purchase of modern measuring and analysis devices and the necessary training of staff. Switzerland contributed to a total of eleven environmental monitoring projects:
- The Estonian air quality monitoring network has been improved. New methods and analytic devices enable better measurements of harmful substances and fine particulates, and this in turn has enabled the development of action plans to deal with air pollution in urban areas. Swiss and Estonian experts conducted a measurement campaign together to enable Estonia to benefit from experiences already gathered in Switzerland.
- Thanks to training and new equipment, the specialists at the Estonian environmental research centre are now able to analyse 33 harmful substances in Estonia's waters. Among other things, the aim was to prevent harmful substances from getting into the food chain.
- Estonia's radiation monitoring system has been modernised. Older monitoring stations and the communication system have been updated so that Estonian environmental authorities can issue prompt, reliable warnings in the event of cross-border emergencies.
- A Swiss company supplied equipment to Estonia to allow satellite monitoring of contaminated sites and transportations of hazardous substances.
- Using funds from the enlargement contribution, researchers were able to purchase devices to monitor the sediment development in the coastal region and the quality of seawater. The data collected forms the basis for appropriate measures to protect water resources and manage the risks associated with climate change
Reliable, comprehensive, immediate environmental data
Thanks to these eleven projects, Estonia has been able to improve its implementation of EU regulations on environmental monitoring. Data collection costs have fallen by 40%.