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Measuring Sustainability in the Russian Arctic: An Interdisciplinary Study

by Votrin, Valery, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
This study on measuring sustainability in the Russian Arctic regions is the first comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment of the socio-economic and environmental situation in the Russian Arctic using the set of socially construed Arctic-specific sustainability indicators as an assessment framework. The progress towards sustainable development has been assessed for the six regions: Murmansk Oblast, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Sakha-Yakutia Republic, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Taimyr, and Chukotka. The regional experience of developing sustainability indicators in Russia was considered in identifying which indicators are most suitable for use in the specific conditions of the Arctic. For the first time, nuclear-related indicators and the indicators on public involvement and northern indigenous issues were included into the regional sustainability assessment framework in Russia. The study emphasises the great social, health and environmental effects from the current shift to resource economy in Russia. Short-term benefits from oil and gas production in the Russian Arctic have turned into the disastrous long-term consequences for the region’s population: a dramatic and continuing decline in life expectancy from 69 years in 1998 to 62 in 2003, steady levels of air and water pollution and degradation of ecosystems. The decline in life expectancy for men in the Russian Arctic from 62 to 56 just for the last five years is unprecedented. The study stresses the urgent need for a long-term knowledge-based development strategy for Russia and highlights implications for further sustainability policy actions in the Russian Arctic both for Russia and the European Union.
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Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Claude Joiris

School:Vrije Universiteit Brussel

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:environment, sustainable development, sustainability, environmental indicators, arctic, russia, russian

ISBN:

Date of Publication:11/09/2006

Document Text (Pages 1-10)

Free University of Brussels (VUB)
Faculty of Science
Laboratory for Ecotoxicology and Polar Ecology

Measuring Sustainability in the Russian Arctic:
An Interdisciplinary Study

by

Valery Votrin

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Promoter: Prof. Dr. Claude Joiris
Co-promoter: Dr. Ludo Holsbeek

November 2006


Page 2

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract ..........................................................................................................................iii
Samenvatting ............................................................................................................... iv
...........................................................................................................................v

Acknowledgements .................................................................................................... vi
List of Tables.................................................................................................................. vii
List of Figures.................................................................................................................viii
Abbreviations................................................................................................................ ix
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................5

1.1 Introduction and Problem Statement.............................................................5
1.2 Research Objectives .........................................................................................7
1.3 Scientific Significance of the Study .................................................................7
1.4 Limitations of the Study .....................................................................................8
1.5 Structure of the Thesis ........................................................................................8
CHAPTER 2. REVIEWING SUSTAINABILITY POLICIES............................................9

2.1 Sustainability and Indicators.............................................................................9
2.1.1 Sustainable Development ...................................................................................9
2.1.2 Sustainability Indicators ......................................................................................11
2.1.3 Models and Approaches in Designing Sustainability Indicators ..................12
2.1.4 International Actors.............................................................................................15
2.1.5 National Actors....................................................................................................17
2.1.6 Community Level Actors....................................................................................19
2.1.7 Need for Public Participation ............................................................................20

2.2 Sustainable Development in the Arctic........................................................22
2.2.1 Defining the Arctic..............................................................................................22
2.2.2 Agenda 21 Process in the Arctic.......................................................................23
2.2.3 Northern Experience of Developing Sustainability Indicators.......................25

2.3 Russia and Sustainability Process ...................................................................31
2.3.1 Sustainable Development in Russia: A Historical Background......................31
2.3.2 Local Agendas 21 and Sustainability Initiatives in Russia...............................34
2.3.3 Federal and Regional Sustainability Indicator Sets ........................................35
2.3.4 The Russian Arctic................................................................................................42

CHAPTER 3. RESEARCH METHODS .....................................................................50
3.1 Systemic Sustainability Analysis ......................................................................50
3.2 Internet-Based Participatory Approach.......................................................52
3.3 Indicator Identification and Selection Process ...........................................52
3.4 Methodology Sheets .......................................................................................54
3.5 Discussion...........................................................................................................85
CHAPTER 4. GAUGING PROGRESS IN THE RUSSIAN ARCTIC...........................93

4.1 The Core Sustainability Indicator Set.............................................................93
4.2 Economic Dimension.......................................................................................94

4.2.1 Gross Regional Product per Head – Oil Prosperity .........................................94
4.2.2 Rate of Renewal of Fixed Assets – Fixing Regional Economy?.....................97
4.2.3 Employees and Unemployees ........................................................................100
4.2.4 Energy Use Controversy....................................................................................103
4.2.5 Research & Development Expenditure – More Heaters for Scientists! ......106
4.2.6 Gini Index – Liberty, Inequality, Fraternity ......................................................109
4.2.7 Below Poverty Line ............................................................................................110


Page 3

4.3 Social Dimension ............................................................................................113
4.3.1 Population Growth or Population Loss?.........................................................113
4.3.2 High Life Expectations ......................................................................................118
4.3.3 Human Development in the Russian Arctic...................................................122
4.3.4 Crime and Punishment.....................................................................................126
4.3.5 Morbidity – A Little More Serious than Just A Cold .......................................128
4.3.6 Growing Malignancies .....................................................................................130
4.3.7 Infant Mortality – To Keep A Baby Alive.........................................................132
4.3.8 Alcoholism Incidence – Drinking to the Dregs ..............................................135
4.3.9 Local NGOs – Let Us Participate! ....................................................................141

4.4 Environmental and Arctic-Specific Dimension..........................................144
4.4.1 Forest Area – Forest Management or Forest Control?.................................144
4.4.2 Actual Forest Harvest – Hurrahing in Harvest.................................................146
4.4.3 Forest Fires – Our Dearest Ashes ......................................................................149
4.4.4 Newly Forested Area – To Plant A Tree ..........................................................151
4.4.5 Protected Land Area – I Think It Is Protected… ............................................153
4.4.6 Air Emissions – Our Fatherland’s Smoke is Sweet to Us.................................158
4.4.7 Wastewater Discharge – A Drink of Dead Water .........................................164
4.4.8 Environmental Protection Expenditure – Spending or Aiding?...................167
4.4.9 Hazardous Waste – You’d Better Start Recycling Now Mister! ...................170
4.4.10 INES Incidents – How Do You Spell Chernobyl? ............................................173
4.4.11 Solid Radioactive Waste – Bursting Depositories ..........................................176
4.4.12 Air Temperature – Heating the Arctic ............................................................179
4.4.13 Reindeer Stock – A Body Count......................................................................182
4.4.14 Number of Polar Bears – A Tale of Three Bears .............................................187

CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSIONS.............................................................................191
5.1 Key Findings.....................................................................................................191
5.2 Recommendations and Policy Options .....................................................196
REFERENCES ......................................................................................................199
APPENDIX..........................................................................................................217

Cover image: Polar bear and her cub.
Image credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS):
http://seamap.env.duke.edu/species/tsn/180542

ii


Page 4

Abstract

This study on measuring sustainability in the Russian Arctic regions is the first
comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment of the socio-economic and environmental situation
in the Russian Arctic using the set of socially construed Arctic-specific sustainability indicators
as an assessment framework. The progress towards sustainable development has been
assessed for the six regions: Murmansk Oblast, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Sakha-Yakutia
Republic, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Taimyr, and Chukotka. The regional experience of
developing sustainability indicators in Russia was considered in identifying which indicators are
most suitable for use in the specific conditions of the Arctic. For the first time, nuclear-related
indicators and the indicators on public involvement and northern indigenous issues were
included into the regional sustainability assessment framework in Russia. The study
emphasises the great social, health and environmental effects from the current shift to resource
economy in Russia. Short-term benefits from oil and gas production in the Russian Arctic have
turned into the disastrous long-term consequences for the region’s population: a dramatic and
continuing decline in life expectancy from 69 years in 1998 to 62 in 2003, steady levels of air
and water pollution and degradation of ecosystems. The decline in life expectancy for men in
the Russian Arctic from 62 to 56 just for the last five years is unprecedented. The study stresses
the urgent need for a long-term knowledge-based development strategy for Russia and
highlights implications for further sustainability policy actions in the Russian Arctic both for
Russia and the European Union.

iii


Page 5

Samenvatting

Deze studie over het meten van houdbaarheid in de Russische Arktische gebieden is de
eerste veelomvattende multidisciplinaire beoordeling van de socio-economische en
milieutoestand in het Russische Noordpoolgebied die de set van sociaal ontlede en Arktischspecifieke
houdbaarheidsindicatoren als een beoordelingskader gebruikt. De vooruitgang naar
duurzame ontwikkeling is voor de zes gebieden bepaald geworden: Moermansk Oblast, Nenets
Autonoom Okrug, Sakha-Yakutia, Yamal-Nenets Autonoom Okrug, Taimyr en Tchukotka. De
regionale ervaring met de indicatoren voor de ontwikkeling van houdbaarheidin Rusland werd
gebruikt bij het identificeren van welke indicatoren het meest geschikt zijn voor gebruik in de
specifieke omstandigheden van het Arktisch gebied. Voor de eerste keer werden indicatoren
voor nucleaire aspecten en de indicatoren voor openbare betrokkenheid en noordelijke
inheemse kwesties in het regionale houdbaarheidsbeoordelingskader in Rusland opgenomen.
De studie benadrukt de enorme sociale, gezondheids- en milieuresultaten van de huidige
verandering tot grondstoffeneconomie in Rusland. De kortetermijn-voordelen uit olie- en
gasproductie in het Russische Noordpoolgebied hebben rampzalige langetermijngevolgen voor
de bevolking van het gebied meegebracht: een dramatische en verdergaande daling van de
levensverwachting van 69 jaren in 1998 tot 62 in 2003, constante niveaus van lucht- en
watervervuiling en degradatie van ecosystemen. De daling van de levensverwachting voor
mannen in de Russische Arktische gebieden van 62 tot 56 jaar, op slechts de laatste vijf jaren,
is ongekend. De studie beklemtoont de dringende nood aan een ontwikkelingsstrategie voor
Rusland gericht op lange termijn en gebaseerd op kennis, en haalt implicaties naar voren van
verdere houdbaarheidsbeleidsacties in de Russische Arktische gebieden, zowel voor Rusland
als voor de Europese Unie.

iv


Page 6

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Page 7

Acknowledgements

My first and foremost gratitude goes to Claude Joiris, my supervisor who always supported my
research. His comments on the drafts of this thesis were extremely useful and his advice critical
for the success of the whole project.

Also, I would like to thank the Free University of Brussels, its Faculty of Sciences, my cosupervisor
Dr. Ludo Holsbeek and the committee members for their comments and contribution;
all experts who participated in this study and whose opinions were used to ‘fine-tune’ the
indicator set: Sergey Bobylev, Moscow State University; Gleb Glazirin, Uzbek
Hydrometeorological Research Institute; Andrei Glazovsky, the Research Institute of Geography
of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Alexander Karpov, EKOM Centre; Konstantin Klokov, St
Petersburg State University; Andrei Marakuev, Central Economic and Mathematics Institute of
the Russian Academy of Sciences; Tamara Mouratova, the Research Institute of Oncology and
Radiology of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan; Galina Pozdnyakova, Central Economic
and Mathematics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Alexei Yaroshenko,
Greenpeace Russia; and Natalya Zubarevich, the Independent Institute of Social Policies, as
well as all survey participants and those who helped me obtain the necessary information and
data: Esther Wolf, Valeri Afanasiev, Evgeny Witkowsky, Vladislav Rezviy, Sergei Shorgin, Olga
Greenwood, Lars Van Moer and Olga Grishina.

I am greatly indebted to my friends Lloyd Soldatt for his crucial assistance in setting up the
project website and to Alexei Tolmachev for his computer support.

My special gratitude goes to Gretta Goldenman, Tony Zamparutti and all my colleagues at
Milieu Environmental Law and Policy Consultancy for their support and encouragement during
the years of my work on the thesis.

Finally, I wish to thank my parents. Without your long-standing support, love and confidence,
completing this work would have never been possible.

vi


Page 8

List of Tables

Table 2.1. Major economic development related advantages and risks in Tomsk Oblast..........37
Table 2.2. Priority measures of the Tomsk Socio-Economic Development Programme ............37
Table 2.3. Sustainability indicator set for Tomsk Oblast............................................................38
Table 2.4. Key problems and development priorities of the Voronezh Socio-Economic

Development Programme .................................................................................................39
Table 2.5. Sustainability indicator set for Voronezh Oblast........................................................40
Table 4.1. The final set of core sustainability indicators for the Russian Arctic..........................93
Table 4.2. Gross regional product per head in the Russian Arctic regions and Russia..............95
Table 4.3. Aggregate GRP per head in the Russian Arctic and other Russian regions..............96
Table 4.4. Dynamics of Rate of Renewal of Fixed Assets in Russia..........................................97
Table 4.5. Investments as GDP percentage in Russia ..............................................................99
Table 4.6. Investments as percentage of gross regional product in the Russian Arctic .............99
Table 4.7. Unemployment vs registered unemployment in the Russian Arctic and Russia......100
Table 4.8. Energy use and electricity intensity per unit of GDP in Russia................................104
Table 4.9. Energy use indicators in Russia and industrialised countries .................................104
Table 4.10. Energy use indicators in the Russian Arctic in 2000 and 2001 .............................105
Table 4.11. Research & Development intensity in Russia .......................................................107
Table 4.12. Population living below poverty line in the Russian Arctic and Russia ..................112
Table 4.13. Population growth in the Russian Arctic and Russia.............................................114
Table 4.15. Human Development Index in the Arctic...............................................................123
Table 4.16. Recorded crimes in the Russian Arctic and Russia ..............................................126
Table 4.17. General morbidity in the Russian Arctic and Russia .............................................128
Table 4.18. Cancers in the Russian Arctic and Russia............................................................130
Table 4.20. Infant mortality in the Russian Arctic and Russia..................................................134
Table 4.21. Alcoholism incidence in the Russian Arctic and Russia........................................135
Table 4.22. Per capita alcohol consumption in the Arctic countries.........................................139
Table 4.23. Number of registered non-governmental organisations in the Russian Arctic .......142
Table 4.24. Forest area in the Russian Arctic and Russia.......................................................144
Table 4.25. Actual forest harvest in the Russian Arctic ...........................................................147
Table 4.26. Forest fire area in the Russian Arctic and Russia.................................................149
Table 4.27. Reforested area in the Russian Arctic ..................................................................152
Table 4.28. Protected area in the Russian Arctic by region.....................................................155
Table 4.29. Atmospheric emissions in the Russian Arctic and Russia.....................................159
Table 4.30. Atmospheric emissions in Russia by specific air pollutant ....................................160
Table 4.31. Contaminated wastewater discharge in Russia and the Russian Arctic................165
Table 4.32. Generation and handling of hazardous waste in Russia.......................................171
Table 4.33. Number of reindeer stock in the Russian Arctic....................................................186
Table 4.34. Number of polar bears in the Russian Arctic ........................................................188

vii


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List of Figures

Figure 2.1. Traditional pressure-state-response model .............................................................13
Figure 2.2. Map of the Arctic.....................................................................................................22
Figure 2.3. Administrative division of the Russian Federation ...................................................36
Figure 3.1. The soft systems method ........................................................................................51
Figure 3.2. The Russian Arctic Sustainability Indicator Project website.....................................53
Figure 3.3. The Lorenz Curve and Gini Index of Income...........................................................61
Figure 4.1. Rate of Renewal of Fixed Assets in the Russian Arctic ...........................................98
Figure 4.2. Unemployment rates in the Russian Arctic............................................................102
Figure 4.3. Research & development expenditure as a percentage of gross regional product in

the Russian Arctic ...........................................................................................................108
Figure 4.4. Gini Index in Russia and the Russian Arctic in 2003 .............................................109
Figure 4.5. Population living below poverty line in the Russian Arctic .....................................112
Figure 4.6. Population growth in the Russian Arctic ................................................................117
Figure 4.9. Life expectancy in the Russian Arctic....................................................................120
Figure 4.10. Human Development Index in the Russian Arctic................................................124
Figure 4.11. Recorded crimes in the Russian Arctic................................................................127
Figure 4.12. Morbidity in the Russian Arctic............................................................................129
Figure 4.13. Cancer incidence in the Russian Arctic ...............................................................131
Figure 4.14. Infant mortality in the Russian Arctic ...................................................................133
Figure 4.15. Alcoholism incidence in the Russian Arctic .........................................................136
Figure 4.16. Actual forest harvest in the Russian Arctic ..........................................................147
Figure 4.17. Area of forest fires in the Russian Arctic .............................................................149
Figure 4.18. Newly forested area in the Russian Arctic...........................................................152
Figure 4.19. Aggregate protected land area in the Russian Arctic...........................................154
Figure 4.20. Air emissions in the Russian Arctic .....................................................................161
Figure 4.21. Contaminated wastewater discharge in the Russian Arctic .................................166
Figure 4.22. Environmental protection investments in the Russian Arctic................................169
Figure 4.23. Generation and handling of hazardous waste in the Russian Arctic ....................172
Figure 4.24. INES incidents in the Russian Arctic ...................................................................175
Figure 4.25. Variations in mean annual air temperature in the Russian Arctic.........................181
Figure 4.26. Reindeer stock in the Russian Arctic...................................................................184

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Abbreviations

ACIA
AEPS
AHDR
AMAP
AO
CAFF
CISE
CO
DANCEE
DEFRA
DFID
DPSEEA
DPSIR
EBRD
EC
EEA
EIA
EPPR
ERM
ESDI
EU
FNCSD
FP6
FSETAN
FSU
GDP
GEF
GHG
GRP
GRR
HCB
HCH
HDI
IAEA
INES
IUCN
MCSD
MEDT
MNR
MPC
NEA
NGO
NH3
NMVOC
NOx
NPP
NRR
NRTEE
NSDS
NSIC
OECD
PAH
PAME
PCB
PM2.5

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy
Arctic Human Development Report
Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program
Autonomous okrug
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna
Canadian Information System on the Environment
Carbon monoxide
Danish Environmental Assistance to Eastern Europe
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for International Development
Driving Forces-Pressures-State-Exposure-Effects-Actions
Driving Force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Commission
European Environment Agency
Environmental impact assessment
Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response
Environmental Resources Management
Environment and Sustainable Development Indicators
European Union
Finnish National Commission for Sustainable Development
Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development
Federal Service for Energy, Technological and Atomic Oversight
Former Soviet Union
Gross domestic product
Global Environment Facility
Greenhouse gases
Gross regional product
Gross reproduction rate
Hexachlorobenzene
Hexachlorocyclohexane
Human Development Index
International Atomic Agency Agency
International Nuclear Event Scale
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation
Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation
Maximum permissible concentration
Nuclear Energy Agency
Non-governmental organisation
Ammonia
Non-methane volatile organic compounds
Nitrogen oxide
Nuclear power plant
Net reproduction rate
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
National sustainable development strategy
National Snow and Ice Data Center
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons
Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment
Polychlorinated biphenyl
Particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller in size
ix

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