Economist Svetlana Lipina — strategy of sustainable development of the Arctic and the environmental challenges of the region
The Plot: The Development Of The Arctic
Photo: from personal archive of Svetlana Lypyna
“Sustainable development of the Arctic” will be one of the main topics of the forum “Arctic — territory of dialogue”, which opens today in Arkhangelsk. A separate session will be devoted to ecology. The participants will discuss international environmental commitments that the Arctic countries, measures of corporate environmental responsibility in the region, methods of forecasting of possible ecological damage from economic activities and the mechanisms for its prevention, as well as problems of preservation of biodiversity of the Northern territories.
The Arctic is one of the most fragile ecosystems of the Earth. And for all the States of the Arctic region environmental security becomes a priority of interstate cooperation. At the same time, according to Russian and international experts, the environment of the greater part of the Arctic zone of Russia is less polluted and relatively little disturbed unlike many areas in the Northern hemisphere.
The Arctic is a megaregion, where, on the one hand, clearly manifested territorial geopolitical and economic strategic importance of Russia’s potential. And on the other — this is the area where there is the strongest contradictions of socio-economic development, acute problems of environmental protection and rational nature management.
The main challenges and threats of an environmental nature in the Arctic zone of Russia are: the progressive pollution and degradation of environmental components in the context of the increasing anthropogenic load; the accumulation of waste and flow of pollutants in the transboundary transfer; high risks and costs of development of natural resources; high degree of depreciation of basic production assets; global climatic changes and their influence on the zone of distribution of permafrost soils; development of hazardous natural processes; anthropogenic accidents and catastrophes.
In the Arctic the problem of environmental challenges, exacerbated by intensive development of oil and gas production, exploration and pipeline transport. The increase in production volumes and growth in gross regional product in almost all constituent entities of the Arctic zone of Russia, observed from the beginning of the XXI century and projected for the future will undoubtedly lead to increased technogenic loading on environment of region.
It is obvious that in connection with the expansion of economic activities in the Arctic requires the development of urgent measures as for the justification of the need to eliminate historical environmental damage and to prevent the growing threats of environmental pollution and challenges related to the expansion of economic activities. That is the ecological component allows to speak about responsible business models in the Arctic, when the priority in management decisions is given to environmental issues, not just profit.
As the main resource of national heritage of Russia, the Arctic for the next century becomes the priority of the spatial development of the country. Accordingly, directions of innovative development of the region associated with the search and introduction of environmentally friendly “green” production technologies. This, in turn, actualizes the problem of development and introduction of new technologies and materials for the efficient development of mineral deposits and water biological resources in the waters and on land in the Arctic. Russia’s transition to sustainable development requires a radical transformation that the greening of all major activities of mankind, man himself, his change of consciousness and the creation of a new “sustainable society” as the main global challenges of today.
The author is a doctor of economic Sciences, Director of the Center for strategic management and spatial development of SOPS VAVT Mineconomrazvitiya of Russia, head. laboratory Ranepa