By: Vladimir Zakharov
Professor, doctor of biological Sciences, head of the Center for sustainable development and ecosystem health of the Institute of developmental biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In October 2016, a two-day international scientific-practical conference took place titled “Earth Charter – a practical tool for solving the fundamental problems of sustainable development”. The event brought together scientists and experts from different parts of Russia and other countries to discuss topical issues related to the environment and sustainable development. The plenary session held in the Tatarstan State Council Hall was attended by 130 people involving governmental officials, representatives of the business communities, major religious denominations in the country, and non-governmental organizations.
Participants at the conference received greetings from the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, the founding president of Green Cross International, Mikhail Gorbachev, former Director General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, and other international organizations.
In 2001 Tatarstan became the first region in the world where the Earth Charter was adopted at political level and found practical application and commitment was made by the parliament to implement its principles and this event was a way to renew its commitment.
In his welcoming speech, Farid Mukhametshin, Chairman of the State Council of Tatarstan and chairman of the political council of the Republican public movement “Tatarstan – New Century”, said that this conference was an effort to stress the importance of focusing on the solutions of environmental problems through the most important social values – a culture of peace, harmony and justice. The head of the parliament of the Republic emphasized that, in addition to creating the material conditions for a decent life, a priority for national authorities is to maintain a “culture of peace”, “ecological integrity”, and interethnic and interreligious dialogue”.
The Republic of Tatarstan funds long-term environmental programmes with more than 15 billion rubles a year. An example of successful solution of environmental problems is the implementation of the state programme “Development of motor fuel market in the Republic of Tatarstan for 2013-2023″, which allowed to reduce emissions by 13 thousand tons per year.
According to Marat Galeev, one of the authors of the project which seeks the implementation of the principles of the Earth Charter in Tatarstan and Deputy Chairman of State Council Committee on economy, investments and entrepreneurship, “human impact on the environment has increased so much that it jeopardizes the very existence of mankind. If the temperature changes on the Earth only one degree, it can have catastrophic consequences for a number of countries today where life flourishes. But ecology is only one of the threats. The Earth Charter four pillars brings together and affirms the relationship of universal challenges: ecological integrity, the preservation of the integrity of life, sustainable economic development and the principles of non-violence. Deterioration of the ecological balance logically leads to negative changes in other realms: global warming is causing natural disasters, affecting the economy, therefore, increases the threat of violent problem solving”
Speaking about the fourth principle of the Earth Charter – the principle of Non-violence and Peace, Marat Galeev said that Tatarstan represents an example of successful solution of conflict situations. – “This is very important because in the most troubled years our Republic largely contributed to the preservation of Russia as an integral state”.
I think the implementation of the principles of the Earth Charter is a good test for the level of development of any country or region, –The point the Earth Charter makes requires change in people’s attitudes towards nature and the world. And Tatarstan is a pioneer in the implementation of this vision.
The Conference addressed different themes in 5 sections (Sections 1,2, and 5 focused on the Earth Charter):
|Development and Implementation of the Principles of the Earth Charter as the basis of integrative approach to the Sustainable Development Problems and Solution
|Environmental Strategy of the Earth Charter – A Fundamental Basis for Comprehensive Solutions in the field of Ecology and Environmental Management
|Current Development of Industrial Ecology and Security
|Socio-Economic Issues of Sustainable Development
|Practical Measures for Promotion and Implementation of the Principles of the Earth Charter