On the eve of the consideration by the State Duma Committee on Ecology of the draft law No. 288302-8 “On the Development of the Russian Federation”, the Interregional Public Organization “Expert Council on Reserve Affairs” addressed an opinion on the inadmissibility of adopting this draft law in the presented version to Dmitry Kobylkin, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. The bill was submitted to the State Duma by Deputy Viktor Pinsky.
The draft law does not define who, in what order and by what criteria determines the “significance” or other grounds for the abolition of protected areas. This means that if the bill is adopted, the boundaries of any specially protected natural areas of regional importance (which make up more than 80% of all Russian protected areas, and their area - more than 50% of the total area of all protected areas) may be cut or the protected areas themselves may be abolished.
According to the Expert Council, the adoption of the draft law entails the risk of destruction of specially protected natural complexes, violation of Russia's international obligations and deterioration of the ecological state of many regions of Russia. The draft law contradicts the current legislation and runs counter to such conceptual documents as the Environmental Doctrine of the Russian Federation and the Environmental Security Strategy of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2025.
Due to the vagueness of the wording cited as grounds for the abolition or reduction of the boundaries of protected areas, the draft law carries corruption risks and threats to the implementation of commercial projects in specially protected natural areas of regional significance. Thus, in the conclusion of the Expert Council, examples are given when the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia has repeatedly agreed on controversial decisions of regional authorities that threaten the integrity of protected areas and protected natural complexes, as well as examples of regional protected areas that are already threatened by various nature-destroying projects. If the bill is adopted, the number of such decisions and threats to protected areas may increase many times over.
Experts point out that the bill hinders the implementation of international conventions and agreements ratified by the Russian Federation, in particular, the Kunming-Montreal Declaration, adopted in December 2022 and supported by Russia, according to which by 2030 the area of protected areas should reach 30% of the land and sea.
Among those who signed the conclusion of the Expert Council on the reserve case on the inadmissibility of adopting the draft law No. 288302-8 “On Amending Article 2 of the Federal Law “On Specially Protected Natural Territories” in the presented version are Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences V.V. Rozhnov; corresponding members of the RAS B.A. Voronov, V.I. Danilov-Danilyan, N.V. Lukina, A.A. Sirin, A.A. Tishkov; professors at Moscow State University Lomonosov A.A. Romanov and A.V. Khoroshev; Professor of Perm State University S.A. Buzmakov; Honored Ecologists of the Russian Federation - Doctor of Geography E.A. Shvarts, Doctor of Biology Yu.A. Gorshkov, Doctor of Biology, A.N. Kudakin, Doctor of Biology B.S. Tuniev, M.N. P. Novikov, M.V. Onufrenya, V.B. Stepanitsky, Yu.A. Darman, Chairman of the Commission on Ecology and Environment of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation E.A. Sharoikina, Director of the Ecological and Educational Center "Zapovedniki" N.R. national parks "Reserved Russia" R.T.Bakirova, Director of the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University, Doctor of Biology M.V.Kalyakin, President of the Union for the Protection of Birds of Russia V.N.Melnikov, President of the Russian Society for the Preservation and Study of Birds A.S.Mishchenko, V.Yu. Ilyashenko, Head of the Biodiversity Conservation Laboratory of the A.N. Severtsov IEE, E.V. Khamenkova, Deputy Director of the Institute of Biological Problems of the North, E.Borovichev, Deputy Director General of the Kola Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, well-known professionals - heads of regional directorates of protected areas O.N. Kanishcheva, T .V.Kovaleva, Ya.S.Sivtsev.