The 2nd Altai Ecological Forum ‘Thread of Nature’ took place on 30 September – 1 October 2022 in Gorno-Altaisk. It was organized by the Roscongress Foundation, the Government of the Republic of Altai, and the Altai Republic Development Centre.
“The environmental agenda is among the priority ones for the Russian Federation. The Republic of Altai is a unique region that we must strive to preserve. It is important that the Forum has adopted the format of open dialogue that involved related industries as well. It has also become the platform for experience and opinion exchange. I am confident that we will continue developing it, while its results will be woven into legal practices in Altai Republic. Moreover, the experience participants got through practice exchange could be used in other regions of the Russian Federation. Next year, we will present the results at the 3rd Ecological Forum,” said Oleg Khorokhordin, Head of the Republic of Altai.
Russia demonstrates a consistent policy in implementing the environmental agenda, and a focus on broad cooperation in the field of environmental protection. Over two days, the Forum brought together 190 experts, delegates and speakers, whose task was to improve legislation in the field of nature management and environmental protection using mechanisms of legal regulation for the introduction of resource-saving, energy-efficient and low-waste technologies and advanced processing of raw materials and waste.
“The Forum is a great opportunity for public officials, business, education, and research communities to develop dialogue and exchange practices in enhancing environmental efficiency of economies. We have received multiple new ideas and practical proposals, but we need to act together,” emphasized Alexander Stuglev, CEO and Chairman of the Roscongress Foundation.
Environmental problems require joint efforts at the intergovernmental level. It is extremely important to raise the environmental agenda at Russian and international business platforms, to build dialogue and involve representatives of all stakeholders in the search for environmental solutions.
“Now we need to review our approaches to the consumption of natural resources. We need to focus on preserving them, improving access to social benefits, and finding a balance between environmental sustainability and economic growth,” said Herman Gref, Chairman of the Management Board of Sber. In his view, moving towards a more holistic understanding of the role of humans in the development of technology would create a transparent interaction between society and nature, with intelligent human activity becoming a determining factor in the development of both society and the economy. Ecological thinking is formed when each person perceives the surrounding world as part of themselves. “If we do not have ecological thinking, we are unable to act in the same fashion. The new type of thinking will ensure the transition from the traditional understanding of economic growth through higher consumption to a sustainable economic growth that factors in the balance between nature and society and contributes to improving the quality of life.”
The Republic of Altai has been declared a territory of young environmentalists. The Republic is creating groups and classes in local kindergartens and schools, where children do their best to preserve the unique nature of the Republic of Altai. So, the project of young environmentalists has been presented at the Forum. It will be supported by the Altai Republic Government and curating organizations that will act as tutors for them. I am sure that only this immersion format can effectively develop ecological thinking.
“The environmental agenda remains relevant, as it is part of the regional sustainable development strategy. The regions are still the focus of the policy despite the changes in the social and economic conditions. The Republic of Altai has been the leader of environmental ratings not only because of its unique location, but also because of its leadership’s ability to integrate conservational approaches into economic models. At SPIEF, Oleg Khorokhordin signed an agreement with DOM.RF to create a nature park ‘Karakol Lakes’, an important step for the region. This initiative will make tourist routes safer and more comfortable. Yet, this project will involve public control. Apart from tourism, other industries are important for the region’s economic development. They include agriculture and production of dietary supplements as part of the pharmaceutical industry. I am confident that the Republic of Altai will become a great example of balanced regional development, where the creation of economic potential does not harm the unique nature,” shared Daria Kislitsyna, Director of the Department of Regional Programs, Social Research Expert Institute (EISI).
An equally important thematic vector of the Forum was the discussion of the tourist code. At the session 'Tourist Code', prepared jointly with the Ecosophy project of the ‘Russia – Land of Opportunities’ presidential platform, experts discussed the prospects for development and the degree of influence of domestic tourism on regional economies, and identified the role of ecotourism in shaping a respectful attitude of society towards the environment.
The idea of harmony between recreation and environment is the basis of environmental tourism, rapidly gaining popularity in Russia. The ideology of saving the environment, rational use and responsible consumption of natural resources naturally lies in the concept of saving people’s own resources and health, forming a system of values based on a healthy lifestyle and respect for traditions, these concepts became the main theses of the session ‘Beyond Health and Traditions: Altai as a Place for Environmental Tourism’.
“The propaganda of value-based mindset as the cornerstone of healthy lifestyle among younger generations is one of the most important tasks for the government and the society. It is necessary to improve the social status of physical education and sport, introduce new forms of health, fitness and sport, and develop sport for everyone. Supporting family values plays an important role in this process. We need to set a good example of a full healthy happy family for the rest of the world,” Oleg Apolikhin, Director, National Medical Research Radiological Centre of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation; Senior Expert on Reproductive Health, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.
For more information about the Forum sessions, go to the ‘Events’ section.
Sber was the Title Partner of the Forum; REO and Phosagro were General Partners; Sovcombank was the Official Partner.
The Forum media partners were: Izvestia, TASS, Russian Media Group (RMG), Lenta.ru, Gazeta.ru, Sekret Firmy, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Vedomosti-Ecologia, 1MI Holding, FederalPress, Regionalnaya Energetika I Energosberezhenie magazine, Ecosfera, and Ecologia.