The key theme of the 10th Nevsky International Ecological Congress that just concluded in St. Petersburg was ‘Ecology: A Right, Not a Privilege’. Each year, the Congress addresses key problems and brings together the government, business, science, and experts for discussions on ways to solve acute environmental issues. The Congress is the Russian government’s main event on important international environmental issues and unites specialists from different countries to solve some of the global issues facing all mankind.
The 10th Nevsky International Ecological Congress was organized by the Russian Government, the Russian Federation Council, the Interparliamentary Assembly of CIS Member Nations, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation. The Roscongress Foundation was in charge of preparing for and managing the event.
“The key environmental challenges we are facing and successfully combatting today include a reduction in fresh water reserves, the pollution of land by production and consumption waste, soil degradation, diminished biodiversity, and the harmful manmade impact on the atmosphere. Russia is gaining unique environmental expertise and is ready to share it and export these technical and technological solutions. However, we are concerned about the use of ecology as an instrument of political pressure and economic manipulation. This should not be permitted: environmental problems are now cross-border in nature, and they can only be solved together. We are against environmental discrimination and are open to dialogue,” Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Viktoria Abramchenko said in her address to the Congress participants.
In 2023, the Congress was attended by over 1,500 participants and media representatives. The number of delegates almost doubled compared with 2021. The Congress was attended by 200 representatives of Russia’s federal and regional executive and legislative authorities, five directors of federal services and agencies, and seven heads of the Russian regions.
The event’s global importance was reaffirmed by the participation of 52 foreign states and territories. The Congress was attended by ministers from four foreign states, representatives of 11 international organizations and associations, three heads of foreign parliaments, and eight heads of diplomatic corps.
Representatives of the scientific community were among the key experts in attendance at the event and included approximately 100 specialists from more than 50 international and Russian environmental organizations. There were over 300 representatives of Russian and foreign business from more than 150 companies at the Congress.
As part of the plenary session ‘Humans and the Planet – Are They Compatible?’, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin sent a message to the Congress participants, organizers, and guests, which was read out by Adviser and Special Representative of the Russian President on Climate Issues Ruslan Edelgeriyev. “The effective management of natural resources is the foundation for the sustainable development of nations. It directly affects the conservation of the ecosystem’s biodiversity and, most importantly, the health and quality of life of millions of people. As such, issues concerning environmental protection, the sustainable use of natural resources, and environmental safety are among the top national priorities in Russia,” Putin said in his message.
Speaker of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Matvienko noted in her speech: “Living in a healthy environment is the right of every country and each people, and not the privilege of individual states. The Earth’s ecosystem is global and the only one in which we all live. We don’t have another one. If we destroy it, there is nowhere else that anyone will be able to take refuge or hide.”
The 10th Nevsky International Ecological Congress served as a platform for productive discussions about issues related to the improvement of the environmental situation on the planet. The Congress promoted the further development of an international dialogue and the exchange of experience between government officials, the business community, scientists, and public organizations.
“Ensuring environmental safety is a strategic priority in Russia. We continue to systematically implement the national Ecology project and the federal projects therein. For the government, there have always been and remain fundamental issues concerning the sustainable and careful approach to natural resources and the implementation of important environmental projects. The development of technological innovations helps to create software solutions to obtain timely data and coordinate the state’s environmental policy,” said Anton Kobyakov, an Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation and Executive Secretary of the Congress’s Organizing Committee.
The business programme of the first day covered a wide range of key topics: from climate issues, water and forest resources to eco-tourism and environmental protection in the Arctic and Antarctic. During the panel discussion, the participants discussed biological, chemical, and physical threats to humanity and its environment, as well as the methods that countries use to protect the population against epidemics.
The second day was devoted to the role of the government and business in ensuring environmental well-being, environmental education for children, and eco-volunteering. The roundtables included presentations of examples of successful national projects, discussions of the role of science, international cooperation, as well as prospects for the development of the green technology market.
For the first time in its history, the Congress included a Youth Day, which attracted more than 2,000 representatives of various environmental and youth communities and included a business programme featuring more than 100 speakers.
The Congress also featured a wide range of environmental events: a fair of organic producers, an exhibition of contemporary art on ecology and recycling, the large-scale ‘Clean up after Yourself’ environmental clean-up campaign in 50 regions of the country, and a fashion show of collections made from recycled clothing, among other things. An initiative of the Forest Volunteers movement to plant trees for each participant made an invaluable contribution to the improvement of the environment.
The co-organizers of the 10th Nevsky International Ecological Congress were Russian Environmental Operator, the Rosatom State Corporation, and Rosselkhozbank. The official partner was Promsvyazbank, and the partners were Severstal and the PhosAgro Group.
The Nevsky Ecological Congress traditionally generates substantial attention among the mass media. In 2023, the strategic media partners of the Congress were: the Russian Federation Council’s Vmeste-RF television channel, the network agency SenatInform, Parliamentary newspaper, RG Media, Vedomosti, Komsomolskaya Pravda Media Group, Gazeta.Ru, Lenta.ru, The Firm’s Secret, FederalPress, Riafan.ru Federal News Agency, EcoStandard.journal, Society and Ecology newspaper, Project +1, and Petersburg Diary. The media partners were: RBC, Expert North-West, MK in St. Petersburg, 1MI Holding, Delovoy Petersburg, NIA Ecology, Ecology of Russia, Ecology and Business magazine, and the ECOportal.su Russian Ecological Portal.