Russia and the OECD agree to increase environmental co-operation

At a meeting of ministers from member counties of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Russia and the OECD agreed to step up co-operation on environmental issues.

Boris Yatskevich, Russian Minister of Natural Resources has agreed to make more information available to the OECD, and, following the agreement, officials from the organisation will travel to Moscow in order to agree on the next steps that need to be taken.

“Russia is undergoing a major reform of its environmental policies and institutions,” said Yatskevich. “We are interested in strengthening our environmental performance and we see enhanced co-operation with OECD and its members as an important step in this direction.”

“It is encouraging to see how much common ground exists between OECD members and Russia on environmental issues,” said Joke Waller-Hunter, Environment Director at the OECD. “We discussed co-operation in areas such as better integration of environmental considerations into economic decision-making, the use of market-based mechanisms to achieve environmental goals, the sustainable use of natural resources and environmental information.”

At the same gathering, OECD environment ministers adopted an environment strategy for the remainder of the first decade of this new century, which includes five main policy objectives:

  • maintaining the integrity of ecosystems through the efficient management of natural resources;
  • de-coupling of environmental pressures from economic growth;
  • improving information for decision-making, using indicators to measure progress;
  • enhancing the quality of life, with reference to the social and environmental interface; and
  • improving governance and co-operation.

The level of environmental control in Russia has been a source of concern, particularly since the abolition of the State Committee for Environmental Protection by President Putin (see related story). Recently, the Helsinki Commission announced that the Russian city of Kaliningrad needs a further US$150 million in order to clean up the pollution which it is currently emitting into the Baltic Sea (see related story).

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