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The Environment in the Far East: Current Objectives and Long-Term Prospects
5 September 2019
09:30—11:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Regions and business are involved in the environmental reform

Business is willingly getting involved in this [waste treatment, — Ed.]. Most of Russia’s regions have joined the reform, local systems were created, regional operators were selected, and tariffs were set. There are payment related problems, but we were ready for this. We need to give governors credit: everyone is involved in this process — Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.

We are advocating gradual tariff increase for waste treatment, and even before this raise is effective, we decided to be proactive and in 2018 we collected 27% of all packaging of all fractions separately and recycled it, and we are the largest producer of juices and non-alcoholic beverages — Irina Arkhipova, Public Affairs and Communications Director, Coca-Cola HBC Russia.

We have the numbers for 2019, and if I am not mistaken this year private investment made up about 20 billion roubles. Out of 79 projects submitted or under construction only 6 are state-owned. Looks like business is growing after all — Maria Morgun, Chief Editor, Live Planet TV; Anchor, Correspondent, FSUE "All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company" (FSUE "VGTRK").

The federal project [Clean Air, — Ed.] embraces 12 cities and two measures: decrease in total emissions in these cities by 22% and zero cities with high or very high pollution level — Ramil Nizamov, Deputy Head, Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources.

The Russian Copper Company is involved in the Ecology national project. We are already introducing cutting-edge technologies at our mining and metallurgical facilities. These technologies were selected with due attention to potential risks for the community. It is a very important factor — Natalia Gonchar, Vice President for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at Russian Copper Company.

Environment is a relevant issue for all countries

Experts state that as of now 12.5 million deaths annually are related to reversible environmental risks, including 4 million — a third — that fall on the Asia Pacific countries. It is a global problem, it is a problem for the whole world — Anna Popova, Head, Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing.

ISSUES
Low environmental awareness level in our society

I am pro small and medium business. But look at what small and medium businesses do on Lake Baikal? They build endless campings and recreational places. These businesses strive to earn as much as possible. Did at least one of those tiny hotels — I do not mind them in general — have waste water treatment facilities? No, because business does not care — Sergei Ivanov, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

It does not matter how efficient was our outreach, it is not enough, not just because there are certain phobias. I believe that environmental protection is just entering the spotlight. And while leaders, ministries and President’s Staff are alarmed, regular people do not see it as a must — Alexey Likhachev, Chief Executive Officer, State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM.

No natural disasters prevention system

As for the Far East, I would like to draw your attention to forest fires. <...> Forest fires happen every year. I keep mentioning my favourite quote from Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov. Do you remember this invaluable piece: „Everybody knew about the fire in Voronya Slobodka a day before it happened“? Just like here: the eastern part of Russia is always on fire — annual forest fires either in spring or in summer — Sergei Ivanov, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

Unbiased difficulties in setting up a waste treatment system

Long delivery distances, large regions, remote communities — there are lots of them, including rural ones. That is why difficulties arise in this department. In the European part of Russia where everything is dense — this is where most people live and most waste is generated which already turned into a business — such problems are scarcer — Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.

The most neglected part of all is the municipal solid waste — it is the most neglected environmental part of the huge Ecology project worth 4 trillion roubles. Why? It is clear why: because we have never addressed it. We are so much behind the civilized world, I can acknowledge that — Sergei Ivanov, Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

SOLUTIONS
Creating information systems about environmental status

The Ecology project is very versatile. We are presenting Нацпроектэкология.рф — it is an information system which we will use to inform people in our country and everybody else who would like to see our steps about our further actions up until 2024 — Dmitry Kobylkin, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.

The essence of our work with the Ministry, Rosprirodnadzor [Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, — Ed.] and business is the following: through local systems that are still under way we need to understand where most of the waste is generated — the Minister was right to call it business. It will help us better understand volumes and composition, which is still unknown in most regions as of today — Mikhail Karisalov, Chairman of the Management Board, Chief Executive Officer, SIBUR .

Now regional programmes under the Clean Water project are getting approval. They will be implemented before 2024, and we are doing this work together with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and Rospotrebnadzor [Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing, — Ed.]. Before 1 October, we plan to have an understanding for every facility in each region involved in the Clean Water project. We plan to make an interactive map which will make it clear — what projects are under way and what results are expected under each of them — Maxim Egorov, Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing, and Utilities of the Russian Federation.

Legislation for public-private partnership in environmental protection

One of the most important tasks is to create legislation that would endorse public-private partnership and make it possible in such areas [remote areas, — Ed.], so that people can invest in infrastructure — Nikolay Nikolaev, Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on Natural Resources, Property and Land Relations .

If we want to turn ecotourism into a profitable industry, we need to create a whole system of relations between the government and business, between business, national parks and appropriate ministries and agencies. Because the market of ecotourism has no rules now — Zarina Doguzova, Head, Russian Federal Agency for Tourism.

Introducing cutting-edge technologies for environmental protection

We have a system that catches 95% of coal emitted into the air as waste. I believe it is very important. <...> Coal mining volumes are rising, waste is growing, while our system reduces waste and collects additional coal for mining companies — Ildar Neverov, Chairman, Committee for Ecology, Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia).

Over the last 25 years, we have achieved reproduction of over 2 thousand falcons all over the world, while we started with zero. <...> If we release the bird into the wild, the environmental conditions get 2–3 times better than before we released it — Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment United Arab Emirates.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS