Every Drop Matters supported many projects within Russia, covering the programme's three pillars.

As one of the world’s largest and most beautiful freshwater bodies on earth, Lake Baikal attracts visitors from around the world to enjoy its pristine waters. Maintaining its clean waters and coastline is critical to maintain this natural treasure and the development of the regional economy, particularly its growing tourism industry. EDM empowered local communities and civil society to protect Lake Baikal by financing a series of 30 small grant projects to support the sustainable tourism industry; raise awareness on water conservation; clean-up of coastal environments; and build infrastructure to provide water supply and collect waste. It also developed an award winning educational toolkit – the Baikal Box – used by hundreds of teachers and many fold more students in the region. Many thousands more people were engaged through film festivals, photography exhibitions and international media campaigns to protect the Lake’s natural beauty and invaluable ecosystem services. In its second and third phase, EDM focused on reducing water contamination from municipal waste and growing tourism operations through awareness raising and educational activities, as well as direct clean-up campaigns. As a result, thousands of people benefited from improved access to areas around the lake, higher water quality, a healthier ecosystem and more attractive sustainable opportunities for eco-tourism.


Phase one

  • Financed eight small grants projects in six local communities
  • Created the “Baikal Box” educational tool kit and trained 500 teachers to use it
  • Supported clean up campaigns that removed 1.7 tonnes of solid waste from Lake Baikal’s coastlines
  • Engaged over 2,800 people in public events and media campaigns to protect Lake Baikal
  • Improved access to drinking water for 600 people and the living conditions of over 6,000 residents through improved waste management

Phase two

  • Financed 14 small grant projects benefiting more than 180,000 people
  • Improved access and ecosystem health to areas around Lake Baikal
  • Improved water access to 7,500 people
  • Introduced the Baikal Box to schools throughout the Republic of Buryatia, who honored the toolkit with the “State Prize for Education”

Phase three

  • Financed eight small grant projects
  • Installed or improved water systems to directly improve access to water for more than 2,000 people
  • Contributed to saving 15,000 m3 of water
  • Engaged more than 60,000 people in public awareness raising event ranging from government, civil society, farmers, schools and resource managers


Title: Baikal Lake community program – For a cleaner future
Location: Baikal Lake Basin, Republic of Buriatia
Budget Phase 1: 195,534 USD (EDM: 145,000 / Co-financing: 50,534)
Budget Phase 2: 205,212 USD (EDM 144,500 / Co-financing: 60,712)
Budget Phase 3: 123,000 USD (EDM 95,000 / Co-financing: 28,000)
Implementation period: 2012-2015
Implementing agencies: UNDP Russia, Baikal Information Center


The Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain (VAF) is one of the greatest river valleys in the world. It is formed by the great Volga River and its branch, Akhtuba, dividing above Volgograd city. The territory of the Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain Nature Park includes internationally important RAMSAR wetlands and has been nominated for the status of UNESCO biosphere reserve. However, the hydrological regime of the floodplain has been significantly transformed posing major risks to the health of its ecosystem. The EDM project conducted successive projects to demonstrate best practices to restore the health of local ecosystems in three lake regions: Sotovo, Sazany and Zapornoye.  In Lake Sotovo, EDM removed a dam which helped increase the flow of water and restore the lake area from less than 600 m2 to more than 100,000 m2. Through further efforts to restore wintering fish basins and spawning grounds the numbers of fish and nesting bird species continue to increase, making the area more attractive to nature tourist and supporting local economic development.  In Lake Sazany, the natural channel and lakebed were cleared and several unapproved and ecologically destructive small dams removed. This helped increase the lake’s flooded area by 40% and some 300 hectares. A number of further measures taken improved fish stocks and habitats for birds and wildlife as well as the recreational areas for tourism and local residents. To ensure progress is sustained and can be replicated elsewhere, monitoring networks, guidelines and study books were produced and disseminated to hundreds of local stakeholders.  Phase 1 Lake Sotovo In Lake Zapornoye, action was taken to increase the flow of water and storage volume of the lake as well as local access for recreational use of local residents and tourists. The lake’s surface area was increased by more than 10% – over 7,000 m2, and the overall volume is expected to increase by more than 250,000 m3 during normal flooding years. As the ecosystem restoration progresses, a continued increase of local use from residents and tourist is expected.


Phase 1 – Lake Sotovo

  • Removed a dam blocking flow into the lake, enabling an increase in lake surface area area from 574 m2 to more than 100,000 m2
  • Created wintering fish basins, and restored fish spawning grounds and increased the number of fish and nesting bird species
  • Conducted surveys of the local flora and fauna and planted 1,000 trees were planted around the lake
  • Provided benefits to 6,100 local community members and tourists from improvements to the lake environment
  • Raised awareness on ecosystem protection and restoration through campaigns and production of educational booklets, calendars and publications  

Phase 2 – Lake Sazany

  • Increased the flooded area of Lake Sazany by over 40%, roughly 300 hectares
  • Restored the natural hydrological regime of the lake by clearing the natural channel and lakebed and removing several small dams
  • Improved habitats for native plants, birds, fish and wildlife
  • Improved over 11 hectares of recreational and tourist areas around the lake
  • Installed fish spawning and overwintering sites and increased fish stocks
  • Restored natural vegetation cover by removing invasive species and replanting 3,200 seedlings plants from seven native species
  • Established and built local capacity to run ecosystem monitoring networks
  • Engaged 500 people in awareness raising events on sustainable resources management and wetland restoration
  • Produced guidelines and educational materials on ‘Restoration of lake Sazanie ecosystem’, ‘Invasive plants in the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain’ and ‘Restoration of floodplain forest ecosystems’.   

Phase 3 – Lake Zapornoye

  • Cleared the natural channel and the Lake bed, resulting in restored flows and an increase the lakes surface area by 10%, or 7,290 m2 in the first year, which reach as high as 250,000 m2 during a normal flood year.
  • Planted 4,000 woody plants, 1 100 native flowering plants, 700 marsh plants, and re-introduced 27
  • Reintroduced native species to the lake environment, which will gradually improve the natural environment.
  • Improved access and local infrastructure to enable local communities, and tourists, gain better access to Lake Zapornoe.
  • Organized visits for local communities and tourists and raised awareness on ecosystem conservation to over 3,000 people   

Title: Wetland restoration in the Volga-Aktuba floodplain (Lake Sotovo, Lake Zapornoye, and Lake Sazany projects)
Location: Volgograd region, Volga-Akhtuba nature reserve
Budget Phase 1: 126,484 USD (EDM: 50,000 / Co-financing: 76,484)
Budget Phase 2: 101,113 USD (EDM: 50 286 / Co-financing in kind: 50,827)
Budget Phase 3: 90,014 USD (EDM: 50,000 / Co-financing in kind: 40,014)
Implementation period: 2011-2012 (Lake Sotovo) 2013-2014 (Lake Sazany) 2014-2015 (Lake Zapornoye)
Implementing agency: UNDP Russia (Lake Sotovo), Volgograd state social and teachers training university  (Lake Zapornoye and Lake Sazany projects)

EDM Russia Wetland

Russia’s waters are unique in their scale and beauty, amounting to nearly one fourth of the available global freshwater resource. Maintaining these waters similarly provides unique challenges and opportunities and requires committed action across generations of Russian citizens.

In a series of projects EDM worked through education, public awareness, and training to promote sustainable water use, water stewardship, conservation of water-based ecosystems and climate resilience in communities across the country.  In the first phase, EDM held a series of events throughout Russia to increase awareness on water and environmental challenges. These events included dedicated events for specific water bodies within Russia, such as Lake Baikal, the Volga River, and the Black Sea, and also a series of film festivals throughout the country. The Russian version of Black Sea Box was launched in September 2012, and quickly applied in more than 150 schools. Drawing from EDMs experience of wetland restoration activities, two workshops on the subject were held. During 2013 Lake Baikal Day, EDM organized beach clean-up activities along the lake’s shores, along with a creative writing competition featuring 200 school children. Building up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the project collaborated with Coca-Cola, Sochi City Administration and the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee to hold a series of events within the city during late 2013. This included a visit from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov, who joined a Black Sea Box game with students aimed to promote collaboration for ecosystem protection. In 2013-2014, the H2O Environmental Film Festival was hosted in several locations throughout Russia, including Moscow, Ulan-Ude, Sochi and St Petersburg. Each event included the presentation of several environmental documentaries, lectures, photo exhibitions, creative art events and waste clean-up activities, and reach a very broad audience in Russian society.  

Beginning in 2014, the ‘Climate Box’ was created to provide a new educational toolkit for children focused on climate change. Targeted to students aged between 9 and 12 it provides a fun and interactive way to improve their knowledge of the science behind climate change and its implications. The Climate Box has been presented to the Ministries of Environment and Education in Russia, along with Moscow City Government, Sochi City Government, and several education organisations, NGO’s, teachers, and news media. After their translation into English and review by experts from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international version of the Climate Box was presented at the COP21 in Paris in December 2015. To date, 13,500 students in Moscow and Sochi had been educated using the Climate Box, which will continue to be disseminated widely across Russia and internationally.    


  • Launched the Russian version of Black Sea Box in September 2012, and distributed 754 boxes to 157 schools
  • Held a three-day Black Sea Box workshop for 88 teachers from 30 schools in Sochi, Russia and three from Ukraine that piloted BSB lessons
  • Held 25 ‘training of trainers’ seminars for school teachers in Sochi in partnership with the Sochi City Department of Education
  • United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov, joined a Black Sea Box game
  • Arranged a H2O film festival gathering 4,000 active participants in several locations throughout Russia
  • Arranged and participated in Volga, Black Sea, and Lake Baikal Day activities including workshops, clean-up events and press conferences involving over 3,300 people.
  • Held public events in conjunction of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games
  • Distributed 1,400 Climate Boxes to 141 schools in Moscow and Sochi used in lessons provided to 13,350 school students
  • Trained 80 teachers to use the Climate Box in their classes and schools
  • Developed a free interactive Climate Box mobile application
  • Directly reached over 2,000 people in project events and communications, and received wide media attention
  • Presented the Climate Box at major national and international forums, such as COP 21 and the Climate Neutral Olympic Games workshops   


Title: Education and advocacy for water stewardship and sustainability and Climate change, water awareness and education – Climate Box
Location: Russia
Budget phase 1: 85,000 USD (EDM 70,000 / Co-financing: 15,000)
Budget phase 2: 106 408 USD (EDM: 100,000 USD / Co-financing: 6,408 USD)
Budget phase 3: 152,000 USD (EDM 105,000 / Co-finacing 47,000 USD)
Implementation period: 2012-2016
Implementing agency: UNDP Russia


Partners and contributors

UNDP Russia • UNDP GEF • Baikal Information Centre • Volgograd state socio-pedagogical university • Volga-Aktuba floodplain nature park • Frunzenskoye community administration • LLC Ovoschevod • Bright Hearts volunteer group • Volga-Akhtuba National Park Authority • Leninskiy District Authorities