Institute For Sustainable Innovation

Opinions

03.09.2019
Environmental reports are a public comprehensive systematic collection of information on the state of the environment and the factors affecting it. As a result of the adoption in 1992 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which defined sustainable development as a priority for the whole world, and also in connection with the Sustainable Development Goals approved in 2015, the role of environmental factors increased, and a systematic approach to environmental protection took a central place. These processes have led to a change in the form and nature of environmental reports.

International trends in environmental reporting show that its main goal is the information availability for all the population, including a wide range of decision-makers. Making cities sustainable and enhancing the effectiveness of international cooperation is also of great importance. The structure of the reports reflects these trends. In addition to generally accepted indicators, the reports include sections that assess the effectiveness of management and environmental policies, environmental risks, and ecosystem resilience. Particular attention is paid to the interconnection of economic mechanisms and the state of the environment.

In the Russian Federation, reports on the state of environment and environmental protection are prepared at the national and local levels. The reports provide analytical information on the quality of air, water, soil and land, flora and fauna, the use of minerals, and protected natural areas. It also contains information on the anthropogenic impact and the impact of environmental factors on health. A special section is devoted to state environmental policy, which is in line with global trends in this area.

Despite the fact that the preparation of environmental reports in Russia is based on the UNECE recommendations and indicators, the process is prescriptive, the form and content of the reports are conservative and tend to present statistical data without justifying the changes. There is also an important problem of insufficient local level data. In contrast to international trends, there is a complete or partial lack of necessary information on cities.

In general, to improve the quality of territorial environmental reports in the Russian Federation, it is necessary to move away from a descriptive presentation of the state of environment and environmental problems to a comprehensive analysis of the functioning of natural systems and their relations with socio-economic systems. It is also required to develop statistical tools in accordance with the sustainable development indicators and UNECE indicators, supplement and expand the existing indicators included in the reports.

Georgy Fomenko, Maria Klemina


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