The Earth Charter in the Republic of Tatarstan

By: Maksim Lavrik (Russia), Earth Charter International Secretariat.

The Republic of Tatarstan, which is one of the subjects of the Russian Federation, provides an example of a comprehensive implementation of the principles of the Earth Charter and its idea of local and global interlinkages reflected in the Preamble of the document.

In 2001, the State Council, which is the Parliament of the Republic of Tatarstan, adopted the Earth Charter as a reference for the territory of the Republic. Since then, the legislation of the Republic has incorporated the provisions of the Earth Charter, they became normative guidelines of activities for local authorities, civil society, and municipalities.

The Environmental Code of the Republic, in its Art. 3, establishes that nature conservation and nature management in the Republic implements the federal legislation and the principles of the Code, taking into consideration the provisions of the Earth Charter.

Authorities of the Republic responsible for the education in the region also implement the provisions of the Charter. The Ministry of Education and Science catalyzes and monitors the information from municipal educational institutions that are participating in the implementation of the Earth Charter.

The Ministry provides educational institutions and territorial authorities with information on the Earth Charter and encourages them to use the document in their everyday work, to raise awareness of the principles of the Charter among students and their parents, and to include key Earth Charter concepts and themes in programmes of round tables and conferences.

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources works in involving the public in environmental education. Thus, in 2017 the Ministry organized 3 500 ecological workshops, and the competition “EcoSpring” involving 1 200 000 residents of Tatarstan, in cooperation with the Tatarstan branch of the Russian Geographical Society the Ministry organized different events such as rafting on rivers and other water bodies, cycling marathon within the framework of the action “A Day Without a Car”.

In 2016, the capital of the Republic – Kazan, hosted an international conference on the implementation of the Earth Charter Principles in Tatarstan. The conference was devoted to the 15th Anniversary of the adoption of the Charter in Tatarstan.

Raising awareness of the Earth Charter principles is one of the aims of annual regional competition “ECOleader”. The state authorities of the Republic organize the competition and receive diverse nominations among companies, educational organizations, municipalities, NGOs, citizens and Media.

The Cabinet of the Ministers of Tatarstan invites public organizations to submit project proposals that seek financial support for the implementation of Earth Charter principles. One of them is the nomination “The Republic of Tatarstan is the territory of realization of the principles of the Earth Charter.”

The Public Chamber of the Republic of Tatarstan, which is a forum for the public participation in the region combines authorities, citizens and NGOs, and also focuses on the implementation of the principles of the Earth Charter. Thus in 2016, the Public Chamber, in association with the Academy of Science of the Republic of Tatarstan, organized the conference for young people devoted to the Earth Charter.

Tatarstan 4The municipalities of Tatarstan also launched different projects related to the Earth Charter. For instance, Almetyevsky Municipal District organized the competition for local Media on the best coverage of environmental issues with the aim of stimulating the implementation of the principles of the Earth Charter in the district.

One of the large-scale events in Almetyevsky Municipal District was the greening of the district. Residents of the district planted 12,500 seedlings within the all-Russian action “Live, the Forest!” Every year, the action “Let’s Save A Tree Together” is held, during which more than two thousand residents in exchange for wastepaper were distributed 50 thousand seedlings of cedar, fir, oak, maple, spruce and larch. As a result, 6.5 tons of wastepaper was collected. In total, the district planted more than 60 000 trees in 2017.

Naming geographical objects after the Earth Charter, which also raises awareness of the document in the region, occupies a special place among the activities in Tatarstan that are seeking the promotion and implementation of the Earth Charter. Thus, the gymnasium # 7 of Kazan initiated the opening of a square named after the Earth Charter.

The social movement  “Tatarstan – New Century”, organized in 1999 and involving 45 territorial organizations, 12 NGOs and more than 110 000 individuals is active in promoting the implementation of the Earth Charter principles. Thus, the movement organizes the following activities:

This effort, seeks to identify, stimulate and support the most creative teachers who promote the ideas of the Earth Charter. The movement annually holds a contest for the best project “Earth is Our Home” in the framework of the School Teachers Festival in Elabuga. The Festival has already become an international event. It united teachers-innovators of the Republic of Tatarstan and other regions of the Russian Federation.

In 2016, the Movement implemented an “Earth Charter”, multi-level scientific and educational project within the framework of which a number of activities were carried out including the Republican competition “The Second Life of Waste”.

The revival of previously functioning and now neglected springs and the preservation of fresh water sources and further careful treatment of them – are other activities of the movement that seeks the implementation of specific Earth Charter principles, such as Principle 5c on promotion of the recovery of endangered ecosystems, Principle 5e on managing the use of renewable resources such as water, soil, forest products, and marine life, and Principle 9a on guaranteeing the right to potable water, clean air, food security, uncontaminated soil, shelter, and safe sanitation, allocating the national and international resources required.

The social movement “Tatarstan – New Century” organized various events engaging youth in being aware and in implementing Principle 4b “Transmit to future generations values, traditions, and institutions that support the long-term flourishing of Earth’s human and ecological communities”, Principle 11 “Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity” and Principle 16a “Encourage and support mutual understanding, solidarity, and cooperation among all peoples and within and among nations.”

Thus, the movement received a grant from the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan “To live, to create in harmony and peace” and organized events in social shelters for children.

In order to implement Principle 7e of the Earth Charter “Ensure universal access to health care that fosters reproductive health and responsible reproduction” and  Principle 8c “Ensure that information of vital importance to human health and environmental protection, including genetic information, remains available in the public domain”, the movement also promotes the value of healthy lifestyle by carrying out different events. One of them is setting the goal of a “Healthy Life!”

Earth Charter International Secretariat would like to thank the First Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Tatarstan R.I. Kamalov, the Deputy of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan E.A. Minakova, the Head of the Department of Environmental Education and Interaction with Public Organizations of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Tatarstan Y. M. Shigapova and the Leading expert of the Department O.V. Artemyeva, the Head of the Executive Committee of the Almetyevsky Municipal District M.N. Girfanov and the Director of the Department of Ecology and Nature Management of Almetyevsky Municipal District A.R. Iskhakov for their assistance and support in writing the article.