Source: BNKomi

Roman Polshvedkin, Senior Deputy Minister of Industry, Natural Resources, Energy and Transport of the Republic of Komi, stated this at the International Forum “Big City Ecology” held on April 5-7, 2017 in Saint Petersburg. The Forum was dedicated to introducing innovative conservation equipment and technologies in Russia, which contribute to conservation of natural resources, strengthening environmental safety and improving living standards of the population in big cities. Roman Polshvedkin made a report on the issues related to PA regulations.

Komi environmental authorities have initiated amendments to protected areas legislation.

“A possibility to introduce protected area visitation fees for some reserves, which are of local communities’ interest and, as result of this, undergo considerable anthropogenic load, is being considered. This requires making amendments to the federal legislation, and the relevant proposals have already been developed,” Roman Polshvedkin said. According to him, small vehicle entry fees such as RUR 100-200 will make it possible to decrease the load on protected areas and accumulate funds for maintaining PA operation, in particular, to support sanitary and fire safety, install shelter sheds, garbage cans and information boards. This measure is also necessary to prevent environmental balance disturbances in recreational areas.

The Senior Deputy Minister of Industry, Natural Resources, Energy and Transport of the Republic of Komi believes that imperfections in the legislation become the major challenge when handling PA matters. For example, there are neither federal nor regional laws or regulations, which regulate PA designation procedures. In accordance with the Federal Law on Environmental Expert Evaluation, to make a decision on designating new protected areas, it is necessary first to conduct environmental surveys in these areas and prepare materials justifying the need to designate these areas as protected areas. The list of these documents is not specified. There are also some imperfections in the Land Code of the Russian Federation. For example, Article 94 does not specify the procedure of designating areas as protected areas. To avoid the current ambiguities in the federal legislation, it is necessary to make relevant amendments.

The Federal Law on Protected Areas does not fully regulate regional PA management issues, in particular, in the field of PA protection. Legally, protection is ensuring that all visitors observe PA protection regimes and rules. At the same time PA protection-related activities must include both oversight activities and activities aimed at conservation and restoration of natural complexes, prevention of negative impacts produced on them, and creation of conditions for sustainable use and restoration of natural resources. The absence of these provisions in the federal law constitutes a serious challenge when organizing environmental authorities’ work. Therefore, it is proposed to make relevant amendments to the Federal Law on Protected Areas and the Federal Law on Fisheries and Conservation of Aquatic Biological Resources to make regional PA management bodies responsible for protection and monitoring of PA aquatic and other resources.

In addition, a legislative regulation must be adopted at the federal level, which will make it necessary to get approval from authorized regional PA management bodies for all conservation activities in protected areas. In spite of the fact that this legislative regulation is considered as obvious, it has not been adopted yet. “There are governmental decrees on the protection procedure for state regional nature reserves and the usage mode for regional protected areas for tourism or other recreational purposes adopted in the Republic of Komi. They make it possible to apply temporary PA visitation limitations, including access control, and provide for the need to get approval from regional PA management bodies for recreational or tourism activities. However, I think that to perform effective environmental protection work, we need to adopt an appropriate republican law on regional and local protected areas. Due to this law, all points at issue regarding PA establishment and operation will be settled, including the whole procedure and powers. The draft law is being developed jointly with the Committee of the State Council of the Republic of Komi on Natural Resources, Nature Management and Ecology and is expected to be finalized this year,” Roman Polshvedkin said.

The proposals on legislative amendments developed by the Ministry of Industry, Natural Resources, Energy and Transport of the Republic of Komi aim to optimize PA-related work and strengthen control over protected areas. These proposals have been supported within the framework of the Forum and will be submitted to the federal government.

Protected areas occupy almost 13% (5.4 mln ha) of the total area of the Republic of Komi. According to the draft PA development concept up to 2030, 30 new protected natural sites will be established and 34 protected areas, which have lost their value, will be eliminated (all the assigned tasks have been achieved, and there are no threats to plant and animal populations). Moreover, the boundaries of 5 protected areas will be expanded. As a result of this, the total area of the Komi nature reserve fund will make up 15.4% of the total area of the Republic of Komi.

In the Republic of Komi there are currently two federal protected areas (Pechora-Ilych State Nature Biosphere Reserve and the Yugyd va National Park), 236 regional protected areas and 6 local protected areas. All of them form one of the most developed PA networks in Russia. This means that the Republic of Komi is one of the few places in the world where people can see primary nature.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 July 2017 17:01 )