current-day Russia. However, we recognize the unique history of Russia and understand that successful approaches in the United States may not be effective in Russia and vice versa.
The United States is still adjusting to the role of NGOs. While they have become a permanent fixture on the American landscape, there are still creative tensions and synergies both within the NGO community and between the NGOs and governmental and economic interests.
There are many different types of NGOs, with various agendas, with different constituencies, and with different capabilities. Advocacy, data-gathering, and analytical groups, in particular, are represented at this workshop.
Of special interest to the American specialists are several aspects of environmental activities in Russia. How are NGOs able to participate in the governmental decision-making process? Does the government try to discourage such participation? Do NGOs have access to data used by the government in its decision-making—and how do they bring their own data to the process? Do NGOs have the scientific capacity to be credible advocates for specific policies and how well do they link to Russian scientific institutions?
Again, we thank the Russian Academy of Sciences, in particular Dr. Natalia Tarasova, for organizing this meeting, and we look forward to productive discussions about the role of environmental NGOs in the decision-making processes.