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BANGKOK, October 30 (Itar-Tass) - Russia hopes to join several international ecology conventions shortly, since their signing would enable the country to aspire to membership of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development /OECD/ in the future, Nuritdin Inamov, the director of international cooperation department at the Ministry of Nature, told Itar-Tass Wednesday.
More specifically, he said the bill that envisioned the signing of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context /Espoo Convention/ and Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters /Aarhus Convention/ had been submitted to the Russian government.
Espoo Convention that was initiated by the UN Economic Commission for Europe suggests that the procedure of assessment of environmental impacts should be conducted not only inside one or another country but also in neighboring countries, which the operations of one or another facility might wield influence on.
“This document will contain a mandatory requirement for economic operators to do supplementary assessments and to hold public hearings while /industrial/ projects are implemented,” Inamov said. “Our estimates prompt us that the supplementary costs of these assessments might amount to 1% or 2% of the initial cost of each project.”
He said Russia had gained some experience with estimating the potential environmental impacts. These works had been done, for instance, during the construction of the Nord
Stream gas pipeline currently linking Russia and Germany across the floor of the Baltic Sea in bypass of regional countries.
“We held as many as nineteen public hearings of the Nord Stream in different countries and this involved huge amounts of administrative works,” Inamov said.
Aarhus Convention presupposes engagement of public quarters in the adoption of decisions and access to the judiciary in the matters concerning the environment.
“To join this particular convention, we’ll have to change a range of laws and to declassify some volumes of information that’s classified at present,” Inamov said. “However, we’re already observing the fundamental principles of the Aarhus Convention.”
He admitted that it was rather difficult at the moment to specify the dates on which Russia might undersign both conventions.
“Our strategic line implies the importance of signing both documents, as they mark important stages along the path of Russia’s accession to the OECD,” Inamov said.
He indicated that about 40% of all the requirements put forward by the OECD are related to ecology.
Nuritdin Inamov represented Russia at the third session of the committee for environment and development of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific /ESCAP/.