ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY: NATURE AND SOCIETY – 2004
On April 2-3, 2004, the International Conference
ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY: NATURE AND
SOCIETY was held in St.Petersburg, Russia.
The Conference was organised by the Centre for
Environmental Initiatives, Interregional Youth
NGO Children of the Baltic, the Russian State
Hydrometeorological University, and the
Russian Geographical Society.
St.Petersburg and Vladivostok, Moscow and
Yakutiya, Estonia and Moldova, Finland and
Armenia, the USA and Sweden - 12 countries
and different regions of Russia were represented
at the conference. The specific feature of the
conference was the fact that its participants
represented different sectors of the society: non-
governmental and governmental organisations,
research and educational institutions, and mass
The human impact on the environment is so
considerable at present that its consequences are
of planetary scale and bring threats to human
Are there any ways of survival and
What are these mechanisms?
these questions are the essence of the problem of
"environmental safety," and were discussed by
the Conference participants.
Serious attention was paid to nature protection in
Russia, where negative tendencies are observed.
The last four years were the time period when
the least number of protected nature areas were
established in Russia as compared to the 50-
years history. Never during the last 14 years
there were so few nature protection inspectors,
so few environmental impact assessments, and
so many environmentally hazardous projects.
The Conference participants paid special
attention to protection of environmental rights of
citizens. These rights include the right for assess
to environmental information, the right for
public participation in decision-making, and the
right for assess to justice in environmental
matters. Implementation of environmental rights
is of high importance, especially in Russia.
Environmental rights are violated on a broad
scale during construction of new industrial and
transports objects, during construction of new,
additional buildings in old centres of cities, and
during destruction of green areas. Protection of
environmental rights is implemented differently
in different countries. Therefore, the exchange of
Russian and foreign experience at the
Conference was of great importance.
Erroneous decisions and blind-alley directions of
development are consequences of ignorance and
poor understanding of environmental processes
and methods for the problems solutions.
Therefore, a considerable part of discussions was
devoted to environmental education, which must
be aimed at themes actual for people and the
For example, It is not often that people know,
what consumer products are better for health and
for the environment, what is the reason to save
energy and other resources, which packages are
less harmful to nature. Here informal education
for youth and adults, joining efforts of state
educational system and NGOs could be of great
use. A good example of such activity is the
international school programme for application
of resources and energy SPARE presented at the
Environmental problems are usually of
transboundary, and sometimes of global
character. Therefore, efficient international
efforts are needed for their solution. The
Conference section on international cooperation
permitted the participants to exchange not only
opinions on strengthening the cooperation, but
also successful experiences in this sphere.
Success of the Conference will favour the main
Conference goal - to consolidate the efforts of all
spheres of the society to provide environmental
safety and environmental rights of citizens.
The conference abstracts were published with
the support of Democracy Commission and