Valentina Matviyenko: Nevsky Ecological Congress to be a memorable and representative event

The Federation Council hosted a meeting of the Organising Committee of the 9th Nevsky International Ecological Congress.

The Federation Council hosted the first Organising Committee meeting for the 9th Nevsky International Ecological Congress to be held at the IPA CIS venue, the St Petersburg Tauride Palace, on 27–28 May, 2021. Federation Council Speaker and Chair of the IPA CIS Council Valentina Matviyenko and Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko became the Organising Committee’s co-chairs.

The Organising Committee identified “Planetary Ecology — Sustainable Development” as the main theme. The forum meetings will be held in person and online in compliance with sanitary and epidemiological requirements.

The organising committee decided that Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko would deliver the keynote speech at the plenary session.

According to Valentina Matviyenko, environmental safety is at the top of the world’s list of priorities, and people are searching for answers to the new challenges. “The environment has become a critical element in world and domestic politics for many countries. There are many environmental problems, however, Russia has gained significant positive experience in resolving them.”

Valentina Matviyenko urged the participants to look for outside-the-box approaches and to involve researchers, leading experts and businesses. “This is one of the key goals of our congress,” the Speaker said.

The Federation Council Speaker said the Nevsky Congress participants will focus on overcoming specific environmental protection challenges. Valentina Matviyenko noted that following the recommendations issued during previous congresses, federal laws had been adopted which, in particular, helped set standards for atmospheric emissions and develop a system for safe waste management.

The Speaker was confident that the upcoming forum would preserve this practical approach and have a positive effect on the environmental situation in Russia and its partner countries. “The theme of the 9th Congress is wide and comprehensive. It includes the promotion of rational nature management, ecological culture and the preservation of biological diversity. These global matters need to be comprehensively studied, deeply researched and extensively discussed by the public.”

The Organising Committee is counting on the participation of the regions, ministry and department representatives, as well as public and research associations in this event. “Environmental organisations, civil society institutions and initiative groups must be involved in these activities as well, since solutions can only be found through dialogue,” Valentina Matviyenko said.

 “The congress must be a truly memorable and representative event, and must be held at a high organisational level,” she said.

According to Valentina Matviyenko, amid challenging international developments and political processes, the environmental agenda is a place where Russia can maintain a dialogue with its foreign partners on an equal footing and promote cooperation. “It’s impossible to overcome these cross-border challenges without international cooperation.”

Viktoria Abramchenko noted that the Government is drafting a new Strategy for Russia’s Socioeconomic Development to 2030, which includes a separate environment and climate section. The Deputy Prime Minister proposed formulating a substantive agenda for the congress based on priority projects. Among them, the Spring Clean project, where environmental damage will be covered by the polluter; the Closed Cycle Economy project, which provides for creating a system for recycling material resources and a multifold reduction in waste; and the Green City and Comfortable Village project.

The Deputy Prime Minister focused particularly on the importance of including green energy on the agenda.

Viktoria Abramchenko suggested holding several environmental hackathons on the sidelines of the congress. “It would be useful in terms of bringing in foreign partners, exchanging technologies and improving practices.”

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Alexander Kozlov updated the audience on the progress in preparations for the Nevsky Congress. Ten roundtable discussions are planned on topics such as national strategies in ecology and environmental protection, rational subsoil use, forest resources, biodiversity conservation and ecotourism.

The moderators and speakers were approved during the Organising Committee’s meeting as well.

Chairperson of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture Lilia Gumerova proposed including environmental education in the roundtable discussions. “We can present specific projects and best regional practices, and exchange opinions with our foreign partners.”

Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachev said that several foreign notables in the environmental movement will take part in the plenary session of the congress. In addition, the senator proposed making Russian, English and French the working languages of the forum.

Secretary General and Head of the Secretariat of the IPA CIS Council Dmitry Kobitsky confirmed the Secretariat's willingness to act as the main organiser, in particular, of the roundtable discussion on integrated water resource management. Parliamentarians from the CIS countries will be taking part in it. According to Kobitsky, proposals have been drafted for the participation of international organisations in the congress.

Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing Anna Popova noted that the Russian authorities would make the necessary arrangements to ensure problem-free entry into the country for congress participants, which “we will be able to manage in a safe manner.” She also suggested including security items on the agenda.

First Deputy Speaker Andrey Yatskin said all the proposals would be taken into account during the preparations. “Holding the Nevsky Ecological Congress, even in a combined in person/online format, is a major accomplishment.”

Adviser to the President and Executive Secretary of the Organising Committee of the Nevsky Ecological Congress Anton Kobyakov and State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Culture Alla Manilova also took part in the meeting.