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Approaches to global sustainable development were discussed at the plenary session of ECUMENE-2022

Photo provided by the organizers of the forum

Photo provided by the organizers of the forum

Climate change, the global pandemic, the economic crisis – in recent years, these issues have most acutely confronted the entire world community. Fatal consequences can only be prevented if there is a dialogue at different levels, the speakers who took part in the plenary session of the ECUMENE2022 Global Financial Forum are sure.

UN Goodwill Ambassador, Chairman of the Central Council of the All-Russian Society for the Conservation of Nature (VOOP) Vyacheslav Fetisov emphasized: “We are all well aware that by the middle of the century everything will change – this is due both to the energy transition and to the understanding that a “green” economy for many business sectors today is profitable in every way. Without discussing problems with the involvement of business, government and public organizations, it will be difficult to find a solution. The coronavirus has become a clear example, because it has affected both more and less economically developed countries – everyone is in the same situation.”

The speaker also noted that in the coming years, the world community should pay special attention to such problems as the expenditure of water resources and the degradation of soil lands. Without due attention to these topics, it is impossible to imagine the full implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“In the coming years, water will become the main resource – economic, political, and universal. Having on the territory of the Russian Federation, according to various estimates, at least a third of clean water reserves, we need to think about how to help other countries that already today export water for people’s needs. This is a topic that requires special attention. Another problem that we will discuss is the degradation of soil lands. Various estimates give us an understanding that by the middle of the century we will lose half of the soil lands. Of course, the Russian Federation is the country that can provide the opportunity to grow food not only for its own needs, but also for everyone else,” emphasized Vyacheslav Fetisov.

Igor Shumakov, head of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet), recalled that 2015-2021 were the warmest years in the history of observations in the world. He also stressed that, according to scientists, Russia is warming faster than the rest of the world, which has consequences for the environment and the economy. However, at the same time, changes are taking place in the environmental policy of the federal and regional levels in Russia – according to Igor Shumakov, in the Russian Federation this work is going on more actively than anywhere else: “In the current 2022, the implementation of the national action plan for the first stage is being completed in our country adaptation to climate change. This is the first step, it was of a preparatory nature, it was aimed at the formation of regulatory and methodological foundations and the legal framework, as well as the development of an adaptation plan in the sectoral and territorial contexts.”

Igor Shumakov stressed that it is important not so much to resist climate change as to adapt to it. “Climate change is happening at an accelerated pace. Many say that we need to fight this, but no, we need to adapt. Because man cannot yet overcome the forces of nature,” said the head of Roshydromet.

From an interesting point of view, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Russian Federation Nazih Ali El Nagari presented a view on the consequences of climate change. As the ambassador said, his 22-year-old son is sincerely concerned that due to global warming he will not be able to live to old age – as he may die in a natural disaster, flood or fire. The speaker stressed that today young people are becoming one of the most caring groups that are ready to take steps towards solving the problems facing the whole world.

The Ambassador also spoke about the preparations for the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held in Egypt in November 2022, and the challenges that its participants will have to find answers to. “The conference will take place against the backdrop of very challenging global events: we are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the socio-economic impacts are still being felt, economic growth has slowed down, energy and food crises are developing. The global paradigm is changing – we are moving away from our commitment to sustainable development. Geopolitical tensions complicate the search for common solutions. However, this is not a reason not to fulfill the obligations assumed, not a reason for delay, because the consequences of such a delay will be unacceptable for the entire international community,” the Egyptian Ambassador to the Russian Federation emphasized.

Preparations for the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held in Egypt in November 2022, has become one of the key topics of the meeting and the entire Forum as a whole. Leading speakers of the session and ECUMENE2022 will have the opportunity to present their ideas as part of the business program of the conference in Egypt.

Elena Borisenko, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Gazprombank, emphasized the important role of ECUMENE-2022 in preparing for the conference: “It is a great honor for our bank that for the second year in a row we are helping the global community and the Russian Federation to prepare for the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Climate is an unchanging priority that does not depend on circumstances. This is a matter of such magnitude that it does not allow other – very important, but still less existential issues – to interfere with their agenda.

“The consensus that scientists have reached in recent years is that without changing the behavior of a person, business, society, without changing the cultural code towards sustainable development, the security of not only future generations, but also current ones is impossible. Therefore, I am glad that the conference brought together a large number of countries for the second time, and I hope that the conference will be a serious contribution to changing the very culture of mankind towards sustainable development,” said Elena Borisenko.

The program of this Forum has become a logical continuation of last year’s discussion, at the first ECUMENE, – President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Gennady Krasnikov drew attention to this in his address. He noted that the participants, like a year ago, will have to look for answers to the most pressing issues of climate change and the environment in general, global sustainable development, development of the Arctic, biodiversity conservation and other challenges.

“The program of the forum provides for the continuation of the dialogue launched at the ECUMENE2021 congress on topical issues of climate change and ecology, global sustainable development, development of the Arctic, biodiversity conservation and many other issues. As a scientist, I am confident that science and technology can and must contribute to progress and peace. Moreover, science and technology play an extremely important role in this. We must explore and implement in our activities new technologies and tools that can make practical interactions between science and politics effective. I am sure that active participation in the congress of the scientific community, representatives of business and political circles will contribute to the development of new directions for economic development in today’s dynamically changing world,” the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences said in his address.

The participants of the plenary session expressed a common opinion in the vision of the Forum’s task – to set a single direction for long-term, successful, sustainable development, to unite the positions of the state, business, the scientific and expert community with the common UN agenda. It is these steps that will help accelerate and implement existing global legal and voluntary agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

The ECUMENE 2022 Global Financial Forum is supported by the United Nations, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UNEP Financial Initiative, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the National Geographic Society, the World Wildlife Fund, the Center for International and Comparative Law Research, the All-Russian Society for Conservation Nature and other authoritative Russian and international organizations. The General Sponsor of the Forum is Gazprombank (Joint Stock Company).

More than 120 speakers from 23 countries of the world take part in the Forum. The key missions of the Forum are the promotion of Russia’s position within the global sustainable development agenda, the formation of new trends in the ESG for the period from 2030 to 2050, the implementation of the UN Common Agenda program.

Online broadcast and detailed program of the Forum are available at official site.

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