Natural Resource Restoration and Use Programme Adopted in Russia
OREANDA-NEWS. Transcript of the beginning of the meeting: Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues, today we have two state programmes on the agenda, both related to our natural resource potential. The task is to make rational use of this potential with an understanding that it doesn’t belong only to us but also to the future generations.
The Regeneration and Use of Natural Resources draft programme for the period from 2013 through 2020 has been posted on the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The Ministry’s public council has submitted a number of proposals and remarks with regard to the draft. The Government’s Expert Council also took part in the discussion. The programme should address a number of crucial issues related to the use and preservation of Russia’s mineral, water and game resources. Integrating these three targeted subprogrammes is a justified measure, given the ongoing conversion to targeted programming in budget planning. The aim is to increase the efficiency of federal budget allocations. The state programme is intended for an eight-year period, as I have said. The total allocations are considerable, amounting to 3.5 trillion roubles, including about 700 billion roubles from the federal budget and over 100 billion from the consolidated budgets of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, while most of the sum – 2.8 trillion roubles – is to be drawn from the extra-budgetary sources, namely the developers of mineral resources.
The programme sets several key tasks. First, the work to create up-to-date geological maps of Russia should continue. We need reliable information on our mineral resources, including the resources of the continental shelf and other areas which have not yet been properly researched. The Arctic shelf is a natural extension of our northern territories. It needs to be explored and used, especially considering that many countries are interested in this, including those that have nothing to do with the Arctic region. Exploring the country’s mineral resources base, developing the fuel and energy, and agro-chemical complexes, as well as the construction industry, atomic industry, and metallurgy – these things will only be possible when we have complete information on our natural resources.
Special attention must be paid to the use of water resources, the introduction of modern water-saving technology, lowering the level of water loss along the its transportation route, fixing metering systems at water supply intakes and in flats. This is vital for supplying our cities, towns, and villages with good water, for our citizens’ health and also for the development of industry and energy. The safety and the security of the current hydraulic structures must be ensured under the relevant state programme. New dams must be built.
Work on protecting and reproducing fauna and forest ecosystems must be carried out on a systematic basis. The Federal State Hunting Oversight must be made more effective. Natural resource regeneration and use is a matter of state importance which concerns the entire country, regional authorities, municipalities, non-governmental organisations, and business. Information on the programme’s execution must be transparent for our citizens. As usual, we’ve invited our colleagues to take part in this discussion. Today we have Governor of Chukotka Autonomous Area Roman Kopin, and Nikolai Kasimov, one of the leading experts in this area and Chairman of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Public Council.
We will also discuss another state programme today, which concerns the development of the fisheries industry until 2020. The industry has seen minor but stable growth as of late. In 2011, the industry performed better than it has done in ten years. Today we procure four million tonnes of bio resources a year, which means we hold the seventh place. This is not bad, but although it could have been better.
The process of import substitution has been launched. Russian goods are gradually returning to the counters and replacing foreign products. The volume of imports has been reduced by nearly 17% over the past five years. Competition for the use of bio resources and for sea food marketing has increased, which sometimes leads to major geopolitical conflicts. As a result, we must resolve the sector’s numerous problems as soon as possible. The biggest problem is, as we all know, the deterioration of the fishing fleet. In two decades the number of vessels has been reduced by one third, and those that are still afloat are in a very bad and sometimes dilapidated condition. Naturally, as a result of this we have lost some of our positions – our processing and refrigeration capacities leave much to be desired and a lack of funding leads to inadequate research of bioresources in the commercial areas of the world’s oceans and in domestic water basins.
The state programme that we are discussing today is aimed at resolving these problems. Its implementation will also require huge funds – more than 90 billion roubles. The programme sets the targets of bringing the catch of bioresources to 4.5 million tonnes and the output of processed and canned fish and fish products to four million tonnes – a 10% increase over 2011. We must ensure that everyone is able to buy fresh fish regardless of where he or she lives -- near the sea or in the middle of the country. This programme is important both for today and tomorrow.
Let’s start the discussion. Naturally, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donsky will be the first to speak. Go ahead please.
Sergei Donskoi (Minister of Natural Resources and Environment): Mr Medvedev, ladies and gentlemen.
I’m presenting for your attention a state programme of the Russian Federation that determines the condition and prospects of economic development by using mineral, raw material, water and hunting resources. Measures on their replacement, exploration and preservation are presented in three sub-programmes and depicted on these slides. A separate sub programme contains measures aimed at ensuring the implementation of the state programme as a whole.
I’d like to say a few words about each sub-programme. The first is called “Reserve replacement, use and exploration of minerals and raw materials." Aimed at providing the national economy with steady supplies of minerals and biological information on their resources, the sub-programme sets the following targets: to expand geological exploration of the territory of the Russian Federation, its continental shelf and the Arctic and Antarctic, and to replace minerals and other raw materials and ensure their rational use.
Minerals and raw materials are a powerful element of our national industrial advancement, and provide a foundation for innovative economic development. They also serve our defence, security and geopolitical interests. Experts predict that the growing domestic consumption of raw materials will be accompanied by a rapid increase in the demand for oil and gas, as well as ferrous, non-ferrous and rare earth metals by the developing countries of Asia and Latin America. This will allow the Russian mineral and raw material complex to be in the lead in the markets of the main consumers of natural resources.