cooperation was also the focus of the Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council and, on a bilateral basis, of Norwegian-Russian consultations. Norway emphasized the need for improving nuclear safety and the prevention of waste from nuclear power plants and submarines in Russia. Of special Norwegian concern were acid emissions from nickel production facilities at the Kola Peninsula. During President Yeltsin's visit to Norway in March a solution to the financial problems seemed to have been found. However, by year's end the project was at a standstill.
Norway was expected to meet its commitments under the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. New measures to control hydrochlorofluorocarbons and methyl bromide were being considered, whereas regulations on hydrobromofluorocarbons were adopted on 25 September. Preparatory work was being done in 1997 of the Nitrogen Oxides Protocol under the 1979 UN Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. Norway favoured a protocol aiming at cost-effective reductions based on critical loads, corresponding to the 1994 Protocol on Sulphur Emissions.
Norway emphasized the need for a protocol under the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity on safe international transfer of living modified organisms. An amendment of 23 February 1996 was made to the Gene Technology Act of 1993, requiring reporting of Norwegian activities involving gene technology abroad. Finally, Norway implemented two important environmental directives adopted of the European Union pursuant to the treaty on the European Economic Area: Directive 85/337 on Environmental Impact Assessment and Directive 91/689 on Hazardous Waste.
Harmonization of the Swedish laws with the European Union's ( EU's) environmental acts continued in 1996. Through the amendment of the Nature Protection Ordinance (SFS 1996:203) in March, Sweden established 75 protected areas to fulfill the requirements of the EU's Wild Birds Directive. Amendments were also made to the Ordinance on the Protected Species of Fauna and Flora (SFS 1996:370) and the Ordinance on the European Ecolabelling System (SFS 1996:465) to bring these acts into closer harmony with EU requirements. The most significant harmonizing legislation was the Ordinance on Hazardous Waste (SFS 1996:971), adopted in September,