A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5,000 people working in Russia and abroad.

The Foundation works alongside various UN departments and other international organizations, and is building multi-format cooperation with 173 economic partners, including industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions, financial, trade, and business associations from 78 countries worldwide, and 179 Russian public organizations, federal and legislative agencies, and federal subjects.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian t.me/Roscongress, English – t.me/RoscongressDirect, and Spanish t.me/RoscongressEsp. Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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The Development of Specially Protected National Areas and the Role of CSR in Ensuring Sustainable Development and Preserving the Unique Nature of the Far East
2 September 2021
The state and socially responsible businesses should unite to involve the public in solving environmental problems

It is important to understand that in society at the moment, most people see environmental problems and environmental protection as a matter for the state and not the business of each person. I believe that in today's world, the role of SPNAs, which is to make sure that society is taught to get involved in solving environmental problems, is important. ... The key point is that this stereotype must be changed, starting with business. This is also a big part of society, and CSR [corporate social responsibility] can be a powerful tool in solving this problem, where business sees a long-term, mutually beneficial opportunity for cooperation, and it sees for some benefits and opportunities, and not just a one-time karma cleaning — Petr Shpilenok, Director, Kronotsky State Natural Biosphere Reserve.

There are a huge number of challenges facing the state in general. But if we are talking about ecology alone and the problems associated with the obvious threats of climate change ..., the first steps in this direction have already been taken. Clean Air and Clean Water programmes have been set up as part of the national project Ecology. Separate sub-programmes have been created for the Volga, Baikal and several other areas. One of them is Biodiversity Conservation, which includes natural reserves. Russia is one of the best in the world in this regard — Sergei Ivanov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

Businesses are ready to implement environmental projects and eco-tourism, which, if properly organized, can make a significant contribution to the economy

[Eco-tourism] is a great untapped help for commercial activities in the country. But, of course, this activity must be properly organized and very strictly controlled. Of course, we must not build concrete boxes, accommodation, or hotels on the national park territory in any case. ... Ecological tourism, if properly organized, especially in Russia, can bring in rather large commercial income. I have been to countries where tourism, for example in East Africa or South Africa, brings up to 50-60% of the national budget — Sergei Ivanov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

Over the last year and a half, I have been participating in many economic forums. I see how the environmental and green agenda is growing. ... Over the last seven years, the number of companies that have their own corporate programmes for biodiversity conservation has grown by an order of magnitude — Dmitry Gorshkov, Director, World Wildlife Fund Russia.

We understand that it is also very difficult for nature reserves to survive without business support now, as there is no income. ... We are ready to participate in all activities that the state will offer because this is one of the programme areas — Andrey Grachev, Vice President for Federal and Regional Programs, Norilsk Nickel.

For us, cooperation with major companies, such as Norilsk Nickel, Metallinvest Holding... and so on, is of fundamental importance. I am glad to see that it is not 'forced’. I see a real need for managers, executives, beneficiaries of companies who do it with pleasure, with their own initiative, without any pinches and pulls from our side — Alexander Osipov, Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory.

The ecotourism industry is hampered by outdated regulations and a lack of funds for the development of protected areas

The request for a change in the legislation, including a change in the 33-FZ, which was adopted in 1995, is overdue. The need to reformat it is there. At the moment, the governmental amendments to 33-FZ on ecological tourism have been prepared. ... Just what you said, the mechanism of interaction between government and business, transparent, open, understandable to all. ... Plus, in this bill, we would like to consolidate the plan of recreational activities. At the moment, our national parks live in a rather chaotic way in their development, including ecological tourism and ecological education. We would like to introduce the concept of a plan of recreational activities and environmental education, with a planning period of 10 years, and this document should be approved at the level of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia — Irina Makanova, Director of the Department of State Policy and Regulation in the Development of Specially Protected Natural Areas, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.

Today we have more than 10% of this vast territory [of Zabaikalsky Territory]] designated as specially protected areas, 4% of them have federal status, and everything is clear here with financing, with work, with the organization of work. We believe that we need to continue building up and preserving the natural riches of this regional territory. But since 70% of the regions in the Far East are severely underfunded, and one of the most underfunded is the Zabaykalsky Territory, of course, we have an acute lack of resources to develop such vast areas properly and properly maintain flora and fauna and carry out all development activities — Alexander Osipov, Governor of Trans-Baikal Territory.

It often happens that companies only look at their territory, their area of responsibility, tidying up near the platform, near the quarry. Here it is imperative to find platforms for dialogue, where to bring together different companies, society, authorities and work not at the site level, but at the landscape level, at the ecosystem level. In other words, there has to be a comprehensive approach — Petr Shpilenok, Director, Kronotsky State Natural Biosphere Reserve.

Environmental problems can be solved by developing green energy together, including through cooperation between the state, business and NGOs and by creating preferences for environmentally-oriented companies

Solar energy changes everything radically, there is no need to pull any power lines there, nothing — Sergei Ivanov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport.

Unfortunately, there are very few such projects in the country with synergy [between business and the government to solve environmental problems]. Mutual reinforcement is very rare. In my opinion, it is essential for the government to become involved in this area and for these companies to have certain preferential treatments: tax preferences, additional opportunities, and on completely transparent terms. ... Involvement of the population is probably the main task now, including eco-tourism, non-profits, and nature reserves. We must all be aimed at that. ... Non-profit organizations are society. It is a model which allows us to put it all into some form, so we, working with non-profit organizations, work with the society — Petr Shpilenok, Director, Kronotsky State Natural Biosphere Reserve.

More and more of us are adopting this project approach, including business, and Norilsk Nickel and many of our other companies are financing projects of non-profit organizations aimed at sustainable development and environmental education. So, another way to attract natural resources to specially protected natural areas is to develop such projects together with non-profits and get funding from businesses. ... The role of the protected areas can also be in the fact that, for each person who goes there, these high environmental issues, such as environmental protection and sustainable development goals, are refracted into straightforward, understandable things that would reach each person, and here too only together with non-profits, business, the state and protected areas can cope with the most important, in my opinion, task — Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, Member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Chairman, Commission for the Development of the Non-Profit Sector and Support of Socially Oriented NPOs; Director, "Agency of Social Information".

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS