Sustainable Development as a Major Principle of State Environmental Policy: Progress in Seversk

By Olga Deryabina, Russian National Coordinator, April 2004

Our seminar on “Sustainable Development as a Major Principle of State Environmental Policy” was held in the Seversk Administration Building on Tuesday February 24th and Wednesday February 25th, 2004. Olga Deryabina of ECOLOGIA Moscow organized and conducted the seminar, with help from Seversk Vice-Mayor Eugene Nickolaev. Participants (59 altogether) included representatives from the Seversk Duma (14), the Seversk Administration (21), the Seversk Committee of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources (8), educational institutions (schools, colleges, libraries, museum) (14), and mass media (2).

The Seminar started off with a panel discussion of pertinent questions, by specialists in science, public health, environmental protection, public policy, and Local Agenda 21 Sustainable Development:

  • Sustainable development as a subject of Social Ecology (Valery Konyashkin);
  • How Local Agenda 21 ideas are being implemented in the world (Olga Deryabina);
  • Russia as a participant in the Sustainable Development process (Olga Deryabina);
  • The Closed city of Seversk and its environmental problems (K. Vasiliev);
  • Seversk Ecological Policy (K. Vasiliev);
  • Sanitary-epidemiological well-being as a condition of Sustainable Development (Alexander Maslyuk, Chief Sanitary Doctor of Seversk);
  • What does science say about Agenda 21? (Valery Konyashkin);
  • Report on the Third Russia Congress on Environmental Protection using Sustainable Development (K. Vasiliev).

The Goals of the event were:

  • To give the Seversk high-level authorities information on the Local Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development issues through a scientific approach (V. Konyashkin’s report);
  • To increase their interest in Local Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development concepts, and experiences for applying them to city life;
  • To move forward with plans to develop the project with Seversk Committee of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, and the Seversk Administration.
Participants evaluated the seminar very positively. The handouts were judged either “Useful” or “Very useful”; the work of the trainer team – as “Good” or “Very good”, the seminar in total as “Good” and “Very good”, and the implementation of the seminar's goals – as “High” and “Very high” (35 evaluation forms).

The Final Document was prepared by Olga as a draft and was discussed by participants actively during the last hour of the seminar. Participants submitted about twenty different points, which were summarized to 14 points of the Final Document that was approved by participants including the Seversk Vice-Mayor. The Final Document is available in Russian.

The main conclusions were decisions to:

  • Create an initiative group (5-7 persons from Duma deputies, Administration, Environmental Committee and pedagogues) on the ecological education of the Seversk community to promote the Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 ideas to the local life. Its first meeting will be conducted before March 15;
  • Participate in creating the Seversk Social-Economic Program for 2004-2008 (to give proposals by March 15, 2004);
  • Create a Seversk Ecological Program (on the base of the Seversk Ecological Policy, as discussed during the February seminar and later in the project framework);
  • Launch a special TV program “Ecological Diary” for the Seversk public;
  • Implement accumulated experiences on the ecological education of the Seversk schools (# # 76, 78, 83, 85, 87, 90, 198) and kindergardens to raise the level of knowledge and awareness of adults also;
  • Involve a business to help the Seversk community to become aware of the situation and begin to work on the diversification of the Seversk economy – in the sustainable development and Local Agenda 21 framework;
  • Hold the next seminar on the topic of "Attracting Resources", on March 30-31.

Another real accomplishment arose from the contact with the Economic Department of the Seversk Administration. The Department had received a “Social-Economic Program for 2004-2008” written by MinAtomInform Institute. This 157-page document does not include any concrete plans on Seversk development. So Economic Department asked me (Olga Deryabina) and other participants to help to create the actual program.

So, for now the Ploughshares grant program has a view of 3 informational seminars (February, March and May-June 2004), a final Roundtable (scheduled to the last seminar), and some working meetings of the created Initiative group (see the previous part) to discuss its results at the Roundtable.

The only disappointment for this time was the absence of Irina Matirova, due to her painful illness. She is planning to participate in the next seminar, in March, according to her February mobile telephone communication with us.

ECOLOGIA organizational successes and lessons learned
Some successes see above. I could add that it was a great piece of luck that the Vice-Mayor participated in the seminar from the first to the last minute and was interested in the ideas discussed. He provided (and promised to provide) us with great support. Possibly, it was caused by the situation inside MinAtom (on the first day of the seminar President Putin had introduced to Russians the new Prime-Minister Mr. Fradkov and two weeks later MinAtom became a part of Energy Ministry/Department). I think it does not matter what was a reason. More important is what they are actually doing and working with us now.

It’s very important to have a day before the event for checking its preparations and one day after to make conclusions. And, repeating conclusion of the seminar in April 2003: All things go smartly when they are well prepared.

Last updated: April 2004          Please make comments & report problems to the Webmaster