The paper explores the impact and sustainability of environmental assistance coming to Russia from EU-based public and private foundations, and its implications for environmental governance. Geographically, the study ’encompassed all the assistance projects awarded in 1991–2016 involving beneficiaries from Pskovskaya Oblast’. This region is potentially an important target for EU investments in environmental infrastructure, due to its location by the EU border and high value of natural capital. The study demonstrates how the assumptions offered by the international aid literature (mostly derived from the global South) apply to Russia. We found major limitations to the assumption that co-financing provided by recipients ensures project effectiveness (demonstrating the acceptance of the donor's agenda) or sustainability (providing interest to the maintenance of outputs). Tangible assets are normally co-financed only if the investment was in agenda anyway (and therefore the donor gets only time gains, although this can be a valid purpose too); soft outputs (plans, surveys, policies, etc.) are usually co-financed in-kind, and therefore cannot secure any additional commitment. Likewise, physical infrastructure often ends up mismanaged due to low or no maintenance budgets available, while maintenance of soft outputs is too much dependent on contextual factors beyond the co-finance paradigm.
Scopus subject areas
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- effectiveness of international assistance
- EU transboundary cooperation
- sustainability of international assistance