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Regions
Премия рунета 2017

Strategic Environmental Assessment of regional development projects should be conducted in Kamchatka

26 june 2018
Such decision was announced by the participants of Strategic environment assessment training, which took place in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The Russian Public Chamber Commission for Environment and Nature Conservation with support from WWF-Russia organized and facilitated the event.

Strategic environment assessment (SEA) is a suite of decision support processes which ensure that environmental and socio-economic consequences of environmental degradation are considered effectively in policy making. Although SEA is fairly new to Russia, it has been utilized in many countries all over the world for decades.

During the training, the participants used methods and approaches to assess the new strategy for regional socio-economic development in Kamchatka. WWF-Russia presented study guides published in 2017 on the framework of the joint project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. One of the guides, for example, provides methods to assess Energy Development Programmes. It is very timely for Kamchatka due to the plans of Novatek (the natural gas producing company) to build an LNG terminal on the eastern coast of Kamchatka. 

“Conducting SEA, though not legislated in Russia, helps to avoid serious negative impacts on the environment and society as a result of implementing large strategic development plans. Thus, we hoped that representatives of regional ministries of environment or economic development would become active participants in the training. However, none of the officials from these government departments were present,” says Sergey Rafanov, the head of Kamchatka/Bering Sea Ecoregional Office of WWF-Russia.

However, importantly, representatives of Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage and Federal Fishery Agency did participate in the event, as well as scientists from research institutes. These scientists evaluated risks of possible implementation of different projects using the framework of the legislated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

“Kamchatka has great potential for conducting SEA. There are many specialists who work for the Pacific Geographical Institute and the Kamchatka Research Institute of Fishery and Oceanography. They are well-qualified to conduct SEA of regional development programmes. During the two-day training they had a chance to form groups of experts and implement some SEA methods to assess existing programmes and strategies,” says Alexey Knizhnikov, the head of WWF-Russia’s Oil and Gas Programme.

As distinguished from EIA, SEA gives a boarder understanding of the consequences of adopting plans, allows stakeholders to see the risks in the early stages, and suggests alternative ways of development. A well-organized SEA helps to:

  • prevent serious mistakes which can be very costly for the environment and government in the future;
  • prevent conflicts and establish cooperation between all parties concerned, including the public, scientists, and businesses;
  • conduct a joint impact assessment;
  • lower the price and heighten the efficiency of EIAs conducted in future;
  • increase investment attractiveness of a region.

SEA has been used in more than 50 countries in the past 10-15 years. In Australia and Canada, for example, SEA is legislated, while in other countries, such as Sierra-Leone, Republic of South Africa, Kenya, and Mongolia, SEA is encouraged voluntarily by the government.

Russia currently has experience with regional SEAs in Amur and Transbaikal. It is expected that in the near future, the State Duma will consider legislation introduced by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment which establishes obligatory SEAs throughout the whole territory of Russia.

For additional information please contact
Oil & Gas Programme Leader