Russia needs urgent action in the field of sustainable development
By Vera Barinova and Tatiana Lanshina, SDSN Russia
The 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda for the Period until 2030 (hereinafter referred to as the “Agenda 2030”) and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in it are one of the most important international documents of our time. The SDGs are designed for absolutely all countries of the world and are aimed at solving such key global problems as hunger, poverty, lack of basic services in the field of medicine and education, difficult access to electricity, environmental pollution, climate change, armed conflicts, etc. In Russia, most of these problems are very severe. Nevertheless, despite the free basic education and free medicine, 100% access to electricity, etc., Russia still has a large number of above mentioned problems, as well as in other spheres of economic, social and environmental development. As international experience shows, the realization of sustainable development goals lies in their localization (that is, in their adaptation to local needs, opportunities and conditions) and subsequent implementation. Localization is a large-scale discussion of the SDGs in a national context involving key stakeholders, such as government officials, researchers, scientists and analysts, business representatives, public organizations, etc. At this stage, an official position of the country is developed and priorities are determined. Then the identified priorities are put into national strategies, or a separate strategy is created - a strategy of sustainable development. The implementation of this strategy and the relevant elements of the international document “Agenda 2030” laid down in it represents the implementation of the SDGs at the national level. Russia is still far from taking these measures. Certain positive changes, of course, occur in almost all areas affected by Agenda 2030, but in Russia there is a significant shortage of coordinated actions in three areas - economic development, social sphere and environmental protection. The concept of sustainable development implies taking coordinated actions in the three areas listed, and not the chaotic attempts to achieve improvements in each of these areas separately. In other words, the decision maker (business, state or other stakeholder) should take into account not only how the decision affects the economy, but also what effect it will have on social well-being and on the environment. Taking this into account, Russia needs to carry out work on prioritization and localization of the SDGs as soon as possible with extensive involvement of all stakeholders, based on the results of this work, formulate its own goals and objectives and include them in the key strategic documents, and designate those responsible for their achievement. It is important that these goals are not only qualitative, but also quantitative. In addition, the work begun by Rosstat on collecting statistics in the field of sustainable development should continue.