Document Text (Pages 71-80) Back to Document

Measuring Sustainability in the Russian Arctic: An Interdisciplinary Study

by Votrin, Valery, PhD


Page 71

Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: The underlying concept of population growth rate is
based on an intercensal population growth rate calculated from two censuses, each adjusted for
incompleteness, with the components of population growth during a period, namely numbers of
births, deaths and migrants.
(b) Availability and Sources of Data: Population growth can be calculated either from census
data or from registration data (births, deaths and migrants). The last census in Russia took
place in 2002, and its results are readily available from Rosstat.

Life expectancy

Brief Definition

Units
Agenda 21

The average number of years that a newborn could expect to
live, if he or she were to pass through life subject to the agespecific
death rates of a given period.
Years
Chapter 6: Protecting and Promoting Human Health.

Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The indicator measures how many years on average a newborn baby is expected
to live, given current age-specific mortality risks. Life expectancy at birth is an indicator of
mortality and health conditions. It is also one of the most favoured indicators of social
development and is used as one of the components of HDI.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: Mortality, with fertility and migration, determines
the size of human populations, their composition by age and sex and their potential for future
growth. Life expectancy is closely connected with health conditions which are in turn an integral
part of sustainable development.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: This indicator reflects many social, economic, and
environmental influences and is closely related to other demographic indicators such as
population growth and indicators of human health and the environment like infant mortality,
alcoholism incidence and water and air quality as well as economic indicators.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: Calculation of life expectancy at birth is based on
age-specific death rates, which are calculated separately for males and females and for both
sexes combined. The death rates are commonly tabulated for ages 0 to 1 years, 1 to 5 years,
and for 5-year age groups for ages 5 and above. In Russia, the life expectancy at birth is
calculated directly from registered deaths and population counts based on census data.

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(b) Availability and Sources of Data: Data on life expectancy are well available from Rosstat.

Human Development Index

Brief Definition

Units
Agenda 21

A measurement of human progress introduced by UNDP to
provide a more comprehensive measure of development by
combining indicators of real purchasing power, education, and
health
An integral index
Chapter 3: Combating Poverty; Chapter 5: Demographic
Dynamics and Sustainability; Chapter 6: Protecting and
Promoting Health; Chapter 36: Promoting Education, Public
Awareness and Training.

Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose of the indicator is to measure poverty, literacy, education, life
expectancy, and other factors. It is a standard means of measuring well-being, especially child
welfare.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: Although HDI is not a sustainable index as such,
its pragmatic approach and interpretation can be used to build an integrated picture of a
region’s sustainable living as the index uses several concepts and elements pertaining to the
ideas of sustainability.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is linked to many other socio-economic
indicators such as GRP per head, unemployment rate, life expectancy, morbidity, infant
mortality, and literacy rate.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: The HDI is a composite of three basic components
of human development: longevity, knowledge and standard of living. Longevity is measured by
life expectancy. Knowledge is measured by a combination of adult literacy (two thirds weight)
and mean years of schooling (one third weight). Standard of living is measured by purchasing
power based on real GDP/GRP per capita adjusted for the local cost of living (purchasing power
parity). The following formulas are used to calculate the HDI:

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Life Expectancy Index =

Education Index =

Adult Literacy Index (ALI) =

Gross Enrolment Index (GEI) =

GDP Index = ,
where
LE: Life expectancy
ALR: Adult literacy rate
CGER: Combined gross enrolment ratio
GDPpc: GDP per capita at PPP in USD

In Russia, the calculation of regional HDIs used the following indicators: GRP per head
recalculated at purchasing power parity in US dollars (based on data of the Federal Service for
State Statistics for 1994 and 2001, and on reconstructed data for 1979-1980, 1985 and 1989);
life expectancy at birth for both sexes; adult literacy levels (due to some non-comparability of
literacy criteria used in censuses between 1979 and 2002, and non-comparability with
international criteria, people with primary education, according to censuses and micro-censuses
in 1979, 1985, 1989, 1994 and 2002, are taken to be literate); primary, secondary and tertiary
education enrolment (the ratio of the number of students at primary, secondary and higher
educational establishments to the total population aged between 5 and 24 years) (Bobylev,
2004).
(b) Availability and Sources of Data: Data on Russian regional and national HDIs are
available on the Internet and are published in several annual reports.

Recorded crimes

Brief Definition

Units

The number of crimes of all categories officially recorded in a
given period of time.
Number per 10000 inhabitants

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Agenda 21 Chapter 6: Protecting and Promoting Health.

Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose of the indicator is to assess state progress towards fighting crime in
a region, with reducing both crime and fear of crime.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: The ability to live in a safe community is an
important element of sustainability. If one is afraid on the streets or in one’s own home, it is
impossible to be comfortable in society. Crime is also an indicator of deeper social and
economic issues. An increase in the crime rate may result from a decrease in job opportunity,
economic stagnation, inadequate education, or inadequate policing.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is closely linked to other socio-economic
measures such as unemployment rate, population living below poverty line, HDI, etc.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: The indicator is defined as the total number of
recorded crimes. The quarterly crimes made known statistical return is a simple count of the
numbers of crimes and offences recorded and cleared up by the police forces in the region. One
return is made every quarter and these are aggregated to give police force and national totals.
Each crime/offence is recorded under an individual category and these categories can then be
aggregated to form various crime/offence groups.
(b) Availability and Sources of Data: The data is taken from the quarterly crimes made known
return sent to the interior departments by the police forces and published in the annual
statistical reports by Rosstat.
Morbidity

Brief Definition
Units
Agenda 21

The number of cases of all diseases registered over time.
Cases per 1000 inhabitants
Chapter 6: Protecting and Promoting Human Health.
Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose of this indicator is to show the proportion of population who fell ill
from all categories of diseases.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: Human health is one of the fundamental pillars of
sustainable development. Agenda 21 stresses the need of intersectoral efforts involving
education, housing, public works and community groups to enable people in their communities
to ensure sustainable development and develop prevention programmes rather than rely on

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remediation and treatment. General morbidity in a region is an important measure of the state of
public health and of effectiveness of public health system.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is linked with other environmental and health
indicators such as air emissions, wastewater discharge, hazardous and radioactive waste
management, life expectancy and others.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: Morbidity is defined as rate of occurrence of
disease or other health disorder within a population, taking account of the age specific morbidity
rates. Health outcomes include: chronic disease incidence/prevalence, rates of hospitalisation,
primary care consultations, disability-days (e.g. days when absent from work), and prevalence
of symptoms.
(b) Availability and Sources of Data: Data on morbidity are publicaly available from Rosstat.

Cancer incidence

Brief Definition
Units
Agenda 21

The number of cancer cases of all localisations.
Cases per 1000 inhabitants
Chapter 6: Protecting and Promoting Human Health.
Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose of the indicator is to estimate cancer incidence in the region.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: Malignant tumours have been associated with
environmental problems, in particular with chemical pollution. For the Russian Arctic with its
numerous chemical plants and dirty industries, this indicator is essential in showing the link
between increasing industrial processes and deteriorating cancer situation. The indicator has
also important socio-economic implications.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is linked with other environmental and health
indicators such as air emissions, wastewater discharge, hazardous and radioactive waste
management, life expectancy, morbidity and others.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: A malignant tumour, also known as cancer, is a
disease the natural course of which is fatal. Cancer cells exhibit the properties of invasion and
metastasis and are highly anaplastic. Their abnormal and uncontrolled division may go on to
invade and destroy surrounding tissues, even in some distant parts of a body.

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(b) Measuring Methods: In Russia, regional cancer hospitals (dispensaries) are involved in
cancer treatment and research.
(c) Availability and Sources of Data: Data on cancer incidence, morbidity, survival, and
mortality for cancer patients are available from the cancer dispensaries and can be also found
in the reports by Rosstat.

Infant mortality

Brief Definition

Units
Agenda 21

The number of deaths under 1 year of age during a period of
time per 1000 live births during the same period.
Deaths per 1000 live born.
Chapter 6: Protecting and Promoting Human Health.
Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose of this indicator is to estimate the proportion of the newborns who die
during the first year of life.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: Beyond its obvious relevance to policy making
for healthy children, this is a sensitive indicator of availability, utilisation and quality of health
care, particularly perinatal care. Moreover, given its association with GRP per head, family
income, HDI, and nutrition, it is also considered one of the best indicators of overall socioeconomic
development of a region.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: This indicator, associated with access to perinatal health
services, is closely linked with life expectancy at birth. It is more generally linked to many other
socio-economic indicators.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: Infant deaths include children dying prior to their
first birthday. These deaths are further sub-divided into neonatal (1-28 days of age) and
postneonatal (29-364 days). The 1950 WHO definition of live birth is “the complete expulsion or
extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of the
pregnancy, which, after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as
beating of heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles,
whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached” (in UNICEF, 2003).
(b) Measuring Methods: Infant mortality rate is calculated by dividing the number of deaths
under one year of age in a given period of time x 10000 by the number of live-births in the same
period of time.
(c) Availability and Sources of Data: Data are available from Rosstat.

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Alcohol incidence

Brief Definition
Units
Agenda 21

The number of cases of alcoholism.
Cases per 1000 inhabitants.
Chapter 6: Protecting and Promoting Human Health.
Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose of the indicator is to show trends in alcoholism incidence over time.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: This is an important indicator of a region’s social
health closely related to other sensitive issues such as labour market situation, crime, public
health, education, etc. Increasing alcoholism consumption in the Russian Arctic, in particular
among indigenous population is one of the major public health concerns. It is also one of the
main reasons why the average life expectancy for Russian men has dropped to just 58.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is most closely linked with the indicators such
as unemployment rate, recorded crimes, Gini index, HDI, population living below poverty line,
life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is
a disease that includes the following symptoms: craving which is a strong need or urge to drink;
loss of control which is the frequent inability to stop drinking once drinking has begun; physical
dependence including withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety
after stopping drinking that can be relieved by drinking alcohol or by taking another sedative
drug; and tolerance which is the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get “high”.
(b) Measuring Methods: In Russia, local and regional drug abuse clinics are involved in the
information gathering, registration and treatment of patients with alcoholism.
(c) Availability and Sources of Data: Data on alcoholism cases are available from regional or
local drug abuse clinics. Limitations of the indicator are discussed in relevant section.

Number of registered NGOs

Brief Definition

Units
Agenda 21

The number of registered voluntary non-profit organisations or
public associations.
Number per year.
Chapter 27: Strengthening the role of non-governmental
organizations: partners for sustainable development

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Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose of the indicator is to measure the levels of citizen participation and
public awareness in the region.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: Agenda 21 directly refers to NGOs as partners
for sustainable development who “play a vital role in the shaping and implementation of
participatory democracy”. Sustainable development is impossible without a broad and effortful
involvement of the general public and stakeholders who “activate a sense of common purpose
on behalf of all sectors of society”.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is directly linked with the HDI as a composite
index of, inter alia, literacy and education levels. Indirect links to some environmental indicators
which are in fact the result of increased public activity in the field of environmental information
(first of all the information on hazardous and radioactive waste and actual forest harvest) are
also evident.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: The indicator is defined as number of voluntary
non-profit organisations, including NGOs and political, sporting or social organisations
registered or with premises in the region.
(b) Limitations of the Indicator: The indicator should be used together with other indicators of
local participation, e.g. voter participation rates, etc.
(c) Availability and Sources of Data: Data on the registered NGOs are readily available from
Rosstat through statistical yearbooks.

Forest area change

Brief Definition

Units
Agenda 21

The amount of natural and plantation forest area tracked over
time.
ha.
Chapter 11: Combating Deforestation.
Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose of the indicator is to show the area covered by the forest formations
of a region over time.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: In the Russian Arctic, especially in Arkhangelsk
and Murmansk regions, forests play multiple ecological, socio-economic, and cultural roles.
Forests provide many significant resources and functions including wood products, recreational
opportunities, habitat for wildlife, water and soil conservation, and a filter for pollutants. They

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support employment and traditional uses and biodiversity. There is general concern over human
impact on forest health and the natural processes of forest growth and regeneration. Combating
deforestation to preserve soils, water, air and biological diversity is explicitly considered in
Agenda 21. The forest area of a region is not directly related to sustainable development.
However, a continuing and fast decreasing forest area might be an alarm signal of
unsustainable practices in the forestry and agricultural sector. The availability of accurate data
on a country’s forest area, which is a basic characteristic of its forest resources, is an essential
requirement for forest policy and planning within the context of sustainable development.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is closely linked with other forestry indicators
as well as with environmental indicators such as protected area, threatened species, etc.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: The forest area is defined as lands with a tree
crown cover of at least 10% of the area; plantation as the artificial establishment of forests by
planting or seeding; and natural forests as natural and/or semi-natural established forests. The
comparisons of forest area over time using reference years allows the calculation of change in
absolute values and as a percentage of the deforestation rate.
(b) Measuring Methods: The forest area is calculated as the sum of plantations and natural
forests areas with tree crown cover of at least 10%.
(c) Limitations of the Indicator: The area figure does not give any indication on the quality of
the forest, its ecosystem context, or forest practices. The indicator does not provide information
on the degradation of the forest resources in a region. The total forest area in a region might
remain unchanged, but the quality of the forest can become degraded.
(d) Availability and Sources of Data: Data on the extent of forest areas are readily available
from Rosstat.

Actual forest harvest

Brief Definition

Units
Agenda 21

The amount of actual annual felling of the mature crop of trees
for industrial purposes or sales.
Cubic metres per year
Chapter 11: Combating Deforestation.
Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The purpose is to show the amount of forest harvested actually over time.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: See this section in Forest Area Change.

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(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is closely linked with other forestry indicators
as well as with environmental indicators such as protected area, threatened species, etc.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: Actual forest harvest is defined as the area of
“principal felling”, or industrial harvest cut of the mature trees for industrial purposes or sales.
(b) Measuring Methods: Regional and local timber industrial enterprises (leskhozy) are
responsible for earmarking harvest sites.
(c) Limitations of the Indicator: Data on actual forest harvest are dispersed among different
agencies. Very often principal felling is reported as sanitary cuttings. Illegal logging is the most
important problem for the Russian forests.
(d) Availability and Sources of Data: Only data on the forests managed by the Ministry of
Natural Resources are available; regional and local forest data are hard to obtain.

Area of forest fires

Brief Definition
Units
Agenda 21

The area of the forest destroyed or damaged by the fires.
ha per tear
Chapter 11: Combating Deforestation.
Policy relevance
(a) Purpose: The indicator shows the forest area which was destroyed or damaged as a result
of forest fires.
(b) Relevance to Sustainable Development: See this section in Forest Area Change.
(c) Linkages to Other Indicators: The indicator is closely linked with other forestry indicators
as well as with environmental indicators such as protected area, threatened species,
environmental protection expenditure, etc.
Methodological description
(a) Underlying Definitions and Concepts: A forest fire is defined as any wildfire or
uncontrolled fire that is burning in a wooded area.
(b) Measuring Methods: Leskhozy are responsible for forest fire statistics.
(c) Limitations of the Indicator: There is no single fire reporting system, and many fires
remain unreported.
(d) Availability and Sources of Data: Data on the forests managed by the MNR are only
available; regional and local forest data are hard to obtain.

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