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Siberian regions among the best - and worst - in eco-friendly growth

By The Siberian Times reporter
03 October 2012

Altai Republic, top of Russia's eco-friendly economic development rating. Picture: The Siberian Times 

The Altai Republic has won a new rating of Russian regions on eco-friendly economic development, says the survey released by RIA Novosti and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The mountainous region beat Chechnya to finish in first place. 

Russia's  83 regions were evaluated based on 'adjusted net saving', a World Bank-penned alternative to GDP that takes into account depletion of natural resources, pollution damage and investment in human capital when calculating wealth. 

Other leading Siberian eco-friendly regions included the Far Eastern Jewish Autonomous Region, and the Tuva Republic.

In the lowest rankings are a number of Siberian regions well-known for their oil or gas exploitation. 

'The northern Nenets autonomous region ranked as the worst offender, with the bottom ten also including the oil-rich Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous region in Siberia, the Sakhalin region and the Chukotka autonomous district in the Far East, the Tyumen region .... the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region, Kemerovo Irkutsk,' said RIAN.

The index is based on data from the State Statistics Service, said Evgeny Shvarts, Director of Conservation Policy at WWF Russia.

The survey will raise a number of queries since the winners have pristine ecological conditions precisely because they have little economic activity.  Many are among the poorest Russia regions per head of population. 

Those in the 'bottom ten' - for example Tyumen, nicknamed the Texas of Russa - are among the wealthiest. 

Regions that topped the rating did not necessarily put much effort into sustainable development, scoring high because of their geography and insufficient industrial development, admitted Shvarts.

This may well stimulate a debate on the equation between improving standards of living while being eco-friendly, a dilemma facing most Siberian political leaders. 

The authors accuse the oil regions of pumping their future away, warning they must concentrate on sustainable development.

'If you're eating away your natural capital, it's not sustainable development', warned Sergei Bobylyov, an expert on environmental management at Moscow State University, co-author of the study. 

The aim is to bring the league table out each year, showing which areas are improving, and highlighting those getting worse. 

An online 'crowd sourced' map is available at http://ria.ru/ecorating - allowing the reporting of eco-violations, said the authors. 

The organisers claimed there will be safeguards to stop it being used for political manipulation. 

An alleged oil spill in Omsk region was one of the first to be posted when it went live this week. 

Comments (2)

yes agree and has also been, though really a while ago when. Hoping for a chance to get back
Tina , US
05/10/2012 08:39
2
0
I've only been to Altai twice, thanks to my Siberian friends, but I so much want to get back. There is something very special about the mountains there like nowhere else in the world. And it was great to have open fire to cook on!
Walter , Switzerland
04/10/2012 00:11
2
0
1

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