The Analytical Center has presented a report on human development in Russia in 2016. "The publication and presentation of this report has already become a tradition: three years ago the Analytical Center took it over from the UNDP, which had published the first 16 reports before. The main topic of the 19th report is comprehensive analysis and adaptation for Russia of the UN sustainable development goals adopted for all the countries around the world for 2016-2030," Chief Advisor to the Head of the Analytical Center Leonid Grigoryev said in his welcome address.
The Head of the UN Information Center in Moscow Vladimir Kuznetsov spoke on behalf of the UN secretariat. "This year’s report is a significant step towards ensuring that Russia has a comprehensive human development program that encompasses all the aspects of human development, specifically, the economy, social issues and the environment," he said, welcoming the participants.
"In the course of our work we formulated and ‘quantified’ the possible goals and objectives for our country’s development over the next 15 years, using the UN methodology," said Lomonosov Moscow State University professor Sergey Bobylev. The professor insisted that using the gross domestic product as the principal metric for progress was the wrong way to go about it because GDP does not take into account the development of human capital. "Sustainable development must not be equated with sustained GDP growth, sustainable development is a multivariate system based on a synergy of economics, social development and environmental friendliness," Mr. Bobylev explained. "All the developed nations have sustainable development strategies, but Russia, unfortunately, has not got yet. The development model that Russia relies on today is unsustainable and the report describes the issues that future models will have to address."
"We organized a big study that can become a new vision for the future development of the country," Deputy Head of the Analytical Center Gleb Potakovich summed up, after which the authors presented the chapter they wrote to the participants of the presentation.
The head of the Directorate for Macroeconomic Studies of the Analytical Center Ekaterina Grigorieva tried to answer the question how fast Russia can expect to grow and what kind of resources would be needed to achieve that growth. In her opinion, Russia may see its economic growth rate pick up pace and reach 2.5-4% a year by 2030, with spending on human capital development remaining fairly constant through 2019-2020, and by 2030 private and public investments in human capital in Russia will be lagging behind the level of the developed countries.
Analytical Center Expert Victoria Pavlushina made a presentation on the adaptation of the goal to reduce inequality within countries and between countries to Russian conditions. "Analysis indicates that with economic growth both types of inequality actually increase, rather than diminish." As for gender inequality, it is not very common in Russia.
"The slump in investments is one of the main problems in modern Russia," said the deputy head of the Directorate for Research Studies of the Analytical Center Alexander Golyashev. "We have a whole bunch of problems that we need to deal with before the transition to post industrial development: we need to find a balance between our mineral resources extraction sector and our processing sector, to complete the industrial stage of the transport infrastructure development, to overcome the current investment slump, and to stimulate the development and deployment of innovations, etc."
The head of the Social Analysis and Forecasting Laboratory of the Presidential Academy of the National Economic and Public Administration Elena Grishina talked about the first UN sustainable development goal, which is liquidation of poverty in all its forms. "Russia’s made some very good progress in this area," Ms. Grishina reported. "But there are some social groups (2% of the population or 16% of the poor) that are living in conditions of extreme poverty.’ According to the analyst, in the past two years, the level of poverty has increased because of the crisis and there is a lot of variation from region to region. ‘Poverty can only be radically reduced if the economy is modernized," Ms. Grishina is sure. She also believes that the share of targeted support programs should be increased.
The Head of the FAO Regional Office in Moscow for Relations with Russia Evgenia Serova defined sustainable production as sufficient amount of quality resources that would ensure preservation of natural resources for future generations, in other words, in order to achieve sustainable development we need to increase output per unit of raw materials. According to the expert, the problems of Russia’s agricultural sector include outdated technologies, harvest volatility, inadequate spending on agricultural research, corruption and a number o fothers.
Analytical Center Expert Inna Karakchieva wrote a chapter on education. "The education system has certain priorities defined for it by the state such as availability, quality, standardization of education services," Ms. Karakchieva said. "One important challenge to sustainable development in education that deserves special mention is lack of resources, and specially financial resources - education is under-financed."
"Climate change can cause substantial losses for this country," said Lomonosov Moscow State University associate professor Peter Kirushin, who defined the climate change targets for Russia until 2030.
Speaking of aid to other countries, Lomonosov Moscow State University associate professor Andrey Markov said, "We have identified 4 indicators to monitor that can give us a clear picture of what Russia is doing in this field. These are financing, expanding potential, trade and partnership with other actors." In his opinion, it is essential that the quality of aid that is being made available to other countries be increased substantially: a strategic approach should be employed and financial aid should be provided to other countries directly.
The Director of the WWF Green Economy Russia Program Mikhail Babenko believes that our problem is that "we are squandering our huge natural resources, greatly increasing the human impact on the environment.’ He also talked about the protection and sustainable development of ecosystem and attempts to curb the degradation of natural habitats.
Towards the end of the event, Deputy Head of the Directorate for Regional Development and the Development of the Far East of the Analytical Center Sergey Nekrasov made a presentation on the economic and social situation as well as on the programs to develop the Far East while Analytical Center Expert Anna Lobanova talked about the human development index and in respect to our country.