Protect Biodiversity And Indigenous Peoples Rights On Sakhalin Island

Protect Biodiversity And Indigenous Peoples Rights On Sakhalin Island

  • Overview

    Vision / description

    Driven by the need to protect environment and contribute to sustainable development of Sakhalin Island, Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. (Sakhalin Energy) teamed up with the joint project of UNDP and Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF). Since 2012, Sakhalin Energy and the Project Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation into Russia’s energy sector policies and operations (Project) have been making significant efforts to better lives of indigenous peoples and contribute to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity of the largest island in Russia.

    Project objectives

    Sakhalin Energy, operator of Sakhalin-2 project, undertakes a large number of long-term programmes for environmental monitoring, including monitoring flora and vegetation, avifauna, mammals, soil, ground waters, river ecosystems and the marine environment of Sakhalin. The company’s eco-priorities are built in core corporate policies, including Sustainable Development Policy, General Business Principles, Health, Safety, Environmental and Social Action Plan, Biodiversity Standard.

    The Project has been promoting approaches deployed by Sakhalin Energy to develop the action plan for biodiversity conservation with national companies and regional government. Aligned with the best national and international practices, the company’s biodiversity conservation plans support major endangered species – the Western Gray Whale and Sakhalin Taimen.

    Western Gray Whales:
    Since 1996, Sakhalin Energy has been implementing joint programmes to study and monitor the gray whales, given every summer gray whales feed off the northeast coast of Sakhalin near oil and gas field.

    In response to the concern raised by Sakhalin Energy, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) created the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP) in 2004. A panel of 12 independent scientists provides scientific advice on how the company can minimize risks associated with its operations.

    In 2016, the Project addressed IUCN with a request to support review of the guidelines on monitoring of gray whales in Russia through WGWAP expertise. Improved guidelines will help strengthen measures to prevent or minimize harm to this critically endangered species.

    The Project communicated to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment monitoring and reporting practices by Sakhalin Energy and Sakhalin-1 project operator as part of monitoring programmes on gray whales. These practices were recommended as a benchmark to report on corporate biodiversity conservation programmes in the Arctic. In 2015-2016, the major Russian oil and gas companies – Gazprom, Rosneft, LUKOIL and Yamal LNG – adopted suggested tools for their reporting.

    Sakhalin Taimen:
    Sakhalin Energy and the Project work together to support the Sakhalin taimen, the rarerest salmon species. In 2007, Sakhalin Energy started a programme to identify taimen habitats in the river systems along the pipeline to ensure that production activities would not put the existence of this species at risk. In 2011, a new phase was launched under the programme, based on the basin-oriented approach to the study of ichthyofauna, including the Sakhalin taimen.

    In 2015, the Project capitalized on expertise and best practices of Sakhalin Energy in devising the programme aimed to monitor the Sakhalin taimen so that to equip other national gas and oil companies with operations in the taimen habitat with a toolkit to conserve this rare fish that is on the list of endangered species in the Russian Red Data Book.


    Sakhalin Indigenous Peoples:
    In response to the request from the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North Siberia and Far East and supported by the Project, Sakhalin Energy has been continuously engaging with indigenous peoples.
    Under this Project and by the recommendations of Russian Association of indigenous peoples of the North Siberia and Far East (RAIPON) a special component of Indigenous Peoples was included. Led by the company, a Working Group on corporate social responsibility helps share knowledge on how to engage with IPs effectively and implement best national and international standards, including free, prior and informed consent.

    Current progress

    Along with biodiversity conservation activities, efforts to engage with small indigenous peoples are reflected in annual sustainable development reports available at

    Due to its significant efforts in responsible production, Sakhalin Energy was ranked third in the 2015 WWF-Russia rating of national oil and gas companies –

    Sakhalin Energy willingly shares its experience on biodiversity and indigenous peoples programmes and several cases were published in the UN Global Compact International Yearbook. –

    The company’s plans and capacities towards biodiversity conservation

    Project URL

    Sustainable Development Goals

    5. Gender equality; 7. Affordable and clean energy; 8. Decent work and economic growth; 10. Reduced inequalities; 11. Sustainable cities and communities; 12. Responsible consumption and production; 13. Climate action; 14. Life below water; 15. Life on land; 17. Partnerships for the goals

    Partnership types of interest

    Standards and guidelines development

    Regions / countries / territories

    Asia: 40 countries

    • Afghanistan
    • Armenia
    • Azerbaijan
    • Bangladesh
    • Bhutan
    • Brunei Darussalam
    • Cambodia
    • China
    • China - Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region)
    • China - Macau (Special Administrative Region)
    • China - Taiwan Province
    • Christmas Island
    • Cocos (Keeling) Islands
    • Cyprus
    • Democratic People's Republic of Korea
    • French Southern and Antarctic Lands
    • Georgia
    • India
    • Indonesia
    • Japan
    • Kazakhstan
    • Kyrgyzstan
    • Lao People's Democratic Republic
    • Malaysia
    • Maldives
    • Mongolia
    • Myanmar
    • Nepal
    • Pakistan
    • Philippines
    • Republic of Korea
    • Singapore
    • Sri Lanka
    • Tajikistan
    • Thailand
    • Timor Leste
    • Turkey
    • Turkmenistan
    • Uzbekistan
    • Vietnam

    Europe: 52 countries

    • Aland Islands (Finland)
    • Albania
    • Andorra
    • Austria
    • Azores
    • Belarus
    • Belgium
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Bulgaria
    • Channel Islands
    • Croatia
    • Czech Republic
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • Faeroe Islands
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Gibraltar
    • Greece
    • Holy See
    • Hungary
    • Iceland
    • Ireland
    • Isle of Man
    • Italy
    • Latvia
    • Liechtenstein
    • Lithuania
    • Luxembourg
    • Madeira (Portugal)
    • Malta
    • Monaco
    • Montenegro
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Republic of Moldova
    • Romania
    • Russian Federation
    • San Marino
    • Serbia
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (Norway)
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
    • Ukraine
    • United Kingdom

    Detailed location

    Sakhalin, Russia

    Issue areas

    Biodiversity; Climate Change; Energy; Gender Equality; Human Rights; Human Trafficking; Indigenous Peoples; Persons with Disabilities; Principle 1; Principle 2; Principle 7; Principle 8; Principle 9; Women's Empowerment


    Existing partners

    Sakhalin Energy Investment company Ltd., UNDP, Exxon Neftegas Limited

    Preferred partner organisation(s)

    Academic; Business Association Global; Business Association Local; Company; Small or Medium-sized Enterprise; Social Enterprise