Section "Environmental safety" is carried with the direct participation of Saint-Petersburg Scientific Research Center for Environmental Safety, Russian Academy of Sciences, director Donchenko Vladislav - honored worker of science, doctor of Ecologics, professor.
St. Petersburg initiative for creating an international environmental safety system of the Baltic Sea States
The Baltic Sea is located in the northern part of the European continent. It is brackish tide-free and relatively shallow. The state of the Baltic Sea depends on the inflow and water-borne impurities from the catchments areas of rivers, than on water exchange with the Atlantic.
Due to the cold climate and the limited water exchange with the Atlantic Ocean, the Baltic Sea is highly sensitive to various anthropogenic pollutions.
The uniqueness of the Baltic Region lays also in the fact that it is a fine example of the eco-geographical unity.
At present, the catchment area of the Baltic Sea is a single eco-geographical region that is home to more than 80 million people.
The Baltic Sea Eco-Region has a great recreational potential. In order to maintain and to develop this, it is necessary to develop strategies for sustainable and ecologically safe development of natural, human and socio-economic systems.
Any significant action of any country located in the region, requires coordination with the other countries in the region.
The environmental context in the international relations of the neighboring countries of the Baltic Region prompted the preparation and adoption of the International Convention “On Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea” in Helsinki in 1974. The Helsinki Convention was one of the first documents of international environmental law intended to ensure the formation of a new institutional system that can be classified as an environmental institutional system.
It is characterized by its principles, regulations, procedures, restrictions, sanctions, preferences, and network connections. The Helsinki Commission acts as an institution in this system, which was entrusted with the functions of coordinator of new international environmental relations by the Conference of the Parties. It had a stimulating effect on the formation of a new institutional environment, the development of which involved the formation of a new format of international environmental policy and methods for regulating international environmental relations.
The new environmental policy of the Baltic Sea States was based on the objective to protect the marine environment from various types of anthropogenic pollution. This objective was clear and understandable to all countries in the region, regardless of their political orientation. It became the ideological basis of the international regional institutional system.
The main indicators for assessing the effectiveness of this system were indicators of the level of pollution of the Baltic Sea, the identification of the main sources of pollution, and the assessment of the marine pollution tendencies under different scenarios of socio-economic development of the region.
A significant success was achieved in the regulation of international environmental relations over forty years of international activities on the implementation of the Helsinki Convention. The formation of the principles of ecological security of the marine environment can be considered as one of the results of this activity.
The practical implementation of these principles has led to the special urgency of establishing an international environmental safety system (IESS) of the Baltic Sea States.
V.V. Putin was the first to formulate the initiative for creating the IESS on the level of heads of states in his address to the 4th Nevsky International Ecological Congress.
He wished the participants of the Congress “objective, interested discussion of the most important issues relating to environmental protection, the formation of an international environmental safety system, the improvement of the legislation in the field of natural resources. The sustainable socio-economic development of the states, strengthening of the global environmental safety, the preservation of precious flora and fauna of the planet, the life and health of people, which is the most important, largely depend on the effective solution of these problems.”
At present, the institutional processes of environmental integration of the Baltic Sea States give positive reasons for the successful implementation of the St. Petersburg Initiative for the creation of the IESS of the Baltic Sea States.
The creation of the IESS is aimed at consolidating the results that have already been achieved in the environmental integration of the Baltic Region, and further development of international environmental relations.
The joint solution of international environmental problems will initiate the development of the institutional processes aimed at harmonizing environmental legislation of the Baltic Sea States.
Countries, acting in accordance with their national legislation, must ensure state regulation of activities of organizations of various forms of ownership carrying out their business and other activities, of production facilities, products, goods and services that constitute or may constitute a threat to environmental safety.
At the national level, the environmental safety is a complex of the following major functional systems, which is associated with the doctrine of state security, its environmental policies and respective legal and regulatory framework in the environmental field:
- scientific monitoring of the environment;
- operational diagnostics of the precursors of dangerous natural and anthropogenic processes that threaten the ecological safety of the Baltic Sea States with the use of telemetry systems for environmental monitoring (in real time);
- strategic environmental assessment of plans and programs of territorial socio-economic development;
- environmental assessment of impact produced by proposed projects of business and other activities;
- international environmental standards ISO for practical assistance in the establishment of environmental management to organizations whose business and other activities constitute or may constitute a threat to the ecological safety of the environment and public health;
- environmental audit of existing objects of business and other activities;
- mandatory or voluntary environmental insurance of environmentally hazardous sites and types of business and other activities;
- environmental certification of products and services;
- environmental labeling of products;
- waste management;
- public awareness and support of community initiatives in the field of environmental safety;
- other systems.
When developing a pilot project of the IESS of the Baltic Sea States, the following principles should be used as guides:
- mutual environmental responsibility and mutual assistance of the member states of the IESS;
- not causing environmental damage beyond national jurisdiction;
- responsibility of public authorities at different levels for guaranteeing international environmental safety;
- assessment of the environmental impact of the planned types and objects of business and other activities that may be a source of threat to environmental safety by the factor of cross-border environmental pollution;
- prediction of threats to international environmental safety;
- development of preventive measures intended to provide environmental safety;
- environmental risk insurance of organizations, regardless of their form of ownership, the activity of which can result in cross-border pollution of the environment;
- prohibition of activities creating a direct threat to international environmental safety;
- independent environmental audit of business and other activities;
- mandatory compensation for environmental damage;
- availability and truthfulness of information in the field of the international environmental security;
- publicity and public participation on issues concerning international environmental safety.
. It is necessary to use international experience and improve the practice of environmental insurance through the creation of an international Baltic reinsurance fund of environmental safety for hazardous objects and types of business and other activities.
Under the present conditions, when there is large-scale growth in the number of natural and man-made disasters, it is planned to create a network of environmental safety observatories, being a part of the IESS, in the Baltic Sea States. (Appendix No. 1)..
The main distinguishing feature of the environmental safety observatories is the creation and practical use of special telemetry systems for monitoring environmental safety, providing early diagnosis and prompt reporting of the threat to environmental safety by the factor of sudden dangerous environmental pollution.
The following priority areas should be used to develop a pilot project for creating the IESS of the Baltic Sea States:
- establishment of the Baltic Environmental Network (BEN), integrated into the European ecological network;
- development and implementation of special programs for preservation of biodiversity, including rare and endangered species, typical and unique landscapes and ecological systems;
- improvement of the cadaster of territories, areas and objects of ecological risk;
- operation of national environmental monitoring systems in international networks, focused on early diagnosis and prompt reporting of cross-border threats to environmental safety;
- dissemination of experience of economic incentives for creating and practical application of methods for efficient use of resources, development and implementation of the best available technology and the best environmental practices;
- support of public-private initiatives for the development of targeted programs and plans of action to ensure environmental safety in the industrial, energy, transport, agricultural and utilities sectors;
- improvement of the methods and mechanisms of the environmental impact assessment, environmental audit, environmental insurance, environmental standards, environmental certification, environmental labeling and environmental marketing;
- creation of comparable methods to assess the environmental damage resulting from cross-border environmental pollution;
- international coordination and public support in the creation and development of a network of environmental safety observatories in the Baltic Sea States;
- development and implementation of programs of continuing education in the field of environmental safety and sustainable development (Appendix No. 2).
The following problems should be solved when creating the IESS of the Baltic Sea States:
- justify the organizational structure and functions of national complexes of the IESS of the Baltic Sea States;
- to select IT-technologies for conducting network research with the use of remote methods and interactive exchange of current environmental information between the participants of the IESS;
- to share experiences on the unification and transnational harmonization of requirements in the field of environmental safety;
- to develop an interactive system for adopting agreed decisions aimed at strengthening the IESS of the Baltic Sea States.
- The implementation of the IESS will ensure the provision of guarantees of safety of man and environment from natural and man-made threats to environmental security, which meets the current needs in the development of civil society.