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Green Silk Road

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Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Hydropower is still promoted as “green development” producing “clean energy”, there are potential contradictions with rural development for the benefit of local communities because: -Reservoirs often inundate ancestral lands of local people and resettlement measures cannot restore livelihoods and cultural traditions of locals; -Reservoirs, even when not affecting settlements, inundate resources traditionally used by local people, some of them irreplaceable; -Dams may disrupt ecological processes downstream (or basin-wide natural balance) negatively affecting important traditional activities of local communities; -Large dam projects are planned by “outsiders” and often are hardly compatible with rural development plans held by local communities; -Large hydropower projects are often stalled for decades which disrupts essential governmental services\support to rural population blocking their development due to frozen projects; -Dam construction process often disrupts local order/lifestyle. This presentation contains eight real-life examples of conflicts between hydropower projects, local communities and rural development and explores potential of hydropower project developers to obtain consent of local rural communities.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Globally, the combining effects of capitalism expansion and anthropocentric development programmes have led to the widespread destruction of natural habitats and to the violation of indigenous peoples and communities’ rights, whose livelihoods and self-fulfilment intertwine with the health of territories they inhabit. At present, however, the main actions responding to the “double crisis” of the environment and capitalism have materialized through the mobilization of more capital, furthering the wider process of financialization of nature - a process which capitalizes on natural elements, assigning a property title to natural resources against collective rights over the territory. The unfolding of these trends is amplified by transnational development initiatives that provide the economic, institutional, and material framework needed to promote green investments and finance. The most notable among such schemes is the China-led Belt and Road Initiative. This presentation summarizes the author's experience with BRI as an environmental activist.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
The largest hydroengineering companies in the world originate from China, which also has most extensive experience in water infrastructure development at home and abroad. Nevertheless the Belt and Road Initiative policies and specific manifestations of the BRI in the former USSR so far have limited applications in water management and related energy production. I will explore what are incentives, possible risks and constraints for cooperation in water infrastructure and hydropower between China and (selected) countries in Central Asia, as well as how it compares with role of Russia in the same field. Presented at the 2021 Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) - a nonprofit, non-political, scholarly society - is the leading international organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, and Eastern Europe in regional and global contexts.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
The Government of Mongolia intends to support coal industry expansion by “climate action” with potentially disastrous consequences for nature and local communities. Mongolia’s “Blue Horse Program” (BHP) is an approach to climate adaptation and mitigation by means of multi-purpose reservoir-building and construction of long-distance water transfers to satisfy needs of mining industry. The approach has been written into Mongolia’s self-proclaimed climate obligations - INDC and NDC under the Paris Agreement, as well as “Mongolia Vision-2050” national strategy, Action Plan of Mongolian government for 2020-2024 and many other planning documents. The original BHP (September 2020) proposed construction of up to 33 dams on 13 rivers. Additional dams have been incorporated in the “Vegetable Production and Irrigated Agriculture” Project by the Asian Development Bank and “small hydro” proposal by the Water Agency under the Ministry of Environment and Tourism(MET) bringing total number to 44 dams proposed on 23 rivers. Many of planned projects may negatively affect remaining natural river ecosystems, World Heritage properties, Ramsar wetlands, UNESCO biosphere reserves, national parks and other protected areas, habitats of endangered and endemic species. Some projects are planned on transboundary rivers and may severe relations with neighboring countries. Implementation of planned megaprojects, with a total cost up to USD 15 billion, takes resources away from much needed sustainable development and socio-economic recovery programs, pushing the country to the next debt default. In this Brief the RwB summarizes information available so far. COMMENTS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION VERY WELCOME!================================================ ОБУЗДАНИЕ СИНЕГО КОНЯ. АНАЛИТИЧЕСКИЙ ОБЗОР ПРОГРАММЫ. Анализ инфраструктурной программы «Синий конь»: в 44 створах на 23 крупнейших реках Монголии планируются плотины – для сбора дождевой, снеговой и паводковой воды, «а также для отвода воды в регион Гоби», где поверхностных вод мало и развивается горнорудная промышленность. План действий Правительства (2020-2024), принятый после выборов, включает ряд проектов создания водохранилищ (на реках Ховд, Орхон, Онгги, Керулен). Программа «Синий конь» угрожает 2-5 объектам всемирного наследия, 7-11 Рамсарским водно-болотным угодьям, 4-6 биосферным резерватам ЮНЕСКО и всем естественным крупным речным экосистемам Монголии (в основном трансграничным). Обзор будет совершенствоваться по мере уточнения информации. На русском языке см. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350386882
Evgeny A Shvarts
added a research item
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by China in 2013 to increase economic and transport connectivity along the Eurasian continent and beyond, has posed unprecedented environmental and social risks, many of which are transboundary in nature. International legal tools contained in Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) can play an important role in mitigating such transboundary risks across space and time, as well as reduce the negative impacts of large infrastructure projects, such as are being developed under the auspices of the BRI. However, the adoption of MEA policy tools has been very uneven across the continent. Three conventions in particular, the 1991 Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment, the 1998 Aarhus Convention, and the 1992 Helsinki Water Convention (the UNECE MEAs) - have the least amount of ratifications by BRI countries. In this paper we discuss these three conventions and demonstrate their relevance in addressing the transboundary risks of large infrastructure projects which require complex coordination and long-term planning. Extended ratification of these UNECE MEAs by nations along the BRI corridors should significantly assist in positively changing geographies by minimizing BRI environmental risks and threats on a transboundary and national dimension, but simultaneously (i) create a more unified approach towards sustainability across the BRI, (ii) raise involvement (and likely subsequent) support within communities for BRI projects, (iii) help to reduce related economic risks throughout Eurasia.
Eugene A. Simonov
added 2 research items
Здесь представлен обзор развития гидроэнергетики в 2020 г. и большой набор статистических данных по гидроэнергетике в 21 веке. Отмечается скромная роль гидроэнергетики в «революционном переходе на возобновляемые источники энергии (ВИЭ)» и общий спад в годовом приросте гидроэнергетических мощностей за последние 7 лет. Дано краткое описание относительных преимуществ и недостатков гидроэнергетики в рамках «устойчивого развития». Приводится оценка современных национальных политик и практик в области развития гидроэнергетики в странах, строящих плотины, с рассмотрением нарушений признанных на международном уровне норм и защитных мер. В отчете также с точки зрения «устойчивого развития» рассмотрены только что завершенные проекты и дается обзор рисков и потенциального ущерба для 90% крупных ГЭС, введенных в эксплуатацию в 2020 г. Отдельный раздел посвящен технологии гидроаккумулирующих электростанций с многообещающими характеристиками, которая в настоящее время имеет неопределенное будущее ввиду более высоких затрат на строительство и продемонстрированного отсутствия экологических норм._________________________________________________________________- Версия оп английски доступна по ссылке https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354544774
This Brief provides a review of hydropower development in 2020 and rich statistics on hydropower in the 21 century. It notes a modest role of hydropower in renewable energy (RE) revolution, global decline in annual hydropower expansion for the last 7 years. Section contains a brief account of relative advantages and disadvantages of hydropower as a part of "sustainable development". It further assesses national policy environment for current hydropower development in dam-developing countries, exploring violations of internationally recognized ESG standards and safeguards. The report further explores sustainability at project level and contains overview of risks and potential damages for 90% of large hydro put online in 2020. Report has special part on pumped storage technology, possessing promising characteristics, which now faces uncertain future due to higher costs of construction and demonstrated lack of environmental safeguards. __________________________________________________________ Мировые тенденции развития гидроэнергетики в 2020 г. ТЕМАТИЧЕСКИЙ ОБЗОР. Е.А. Симонов, Международная коалиция «Реки без границ» (В сборнике: "Ежегодник «Вода в Центральной Азии и мире», 2020 г." - Ташкент, НИЦ МКВК 2021) ССЫЛКА на текст по-русски: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354545316 _______________________________________________________________ Здесь представлен обзор развития гидроэнергетики в 2020 г. и большой набор статистических данных по гидроэнергетике в 21 веке. Отмечается скромная роль гидроэнергетики в «революционном переходе на возобновляемые источники энергии (ВИЭ)» и общий спад в годовом приросте гидроэнергетических мощностей за последние 7 лет. Дано краткое описание относительных преимуществ и недостатков гидроэнергетики в рамках «устойчивого развития». Приводится оценка современных национальных политик и практик в области развития гидроэнергетики в странах, строящих плотины, с рассмотрением нарушений признанных на международном уровне норм и защитных мер. В отчете также с точки зрения «устойчивого развития» рассмотрены только что завершенные проекты и дается обзор рисков и потенциального ущерба для 90% крупных ГЭС, введенных в эксплуатацию в 2020 г. Отдельный раздел посвящен технологии гидроаккумулирующих электростанций с многообещающими характеристиками, которая в настоящее время имеет неопределенное будущее ввиду более высоких затрат на строительство и продемонстрированного отсутствия экологических норм.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
In 2018–2019 Russia, Mongolia and China have been investigating a new route for the gas pipeline through Mongolia. In March 2020, the President of Russia instructed Gazprom (Russian gas industry monopoly) to develop a feasibility study and by fall 2020 Gazprom has signed a Memorandum of Intent with counterparts in Mongolia to establish a subsidiary company to advance the pipeline project. Since UNESCO's World Heritage values and related legal obligations are not taken into account by planners and engineers, the gas pipeline route through the Lake Baikal World Heritage property is considered one of the best options — convenient for supplying gas to the pipeline not only from fields in Western Siberia, but also from the Kovykta Field located west of Baikal. The project may affect the Lake Baikal World Heritage property or other areas of the Baikal Natural Territory. Construction of this massive infrastructure across terrain will alter natural landscapes, while attempts to build it along existing transportation routes may increase risks of major accidents. Many other important consequences for local communities and nature may be expected due to planned pipeline construction. However early assessment is complicated, since Gazprom does not disclose the planned route and related preliminary assessments. China's position on the pipeline construction is yet to be publicly announced. This presentation was compiled to give a general overview of what is known about the planned pipeline from open sources and what are potential consequences that need early assessment.
Eugene A. Simonov
added an update
One of the biggest threats to Russian rivers is mining. Mining causes the destruction of river valleys, loss of fish, and water pollution — as well as the devastation wrought by catastrophic failures of dams and tailing ponds.
In recent years, Russia’s federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency has worked with local governments to increase the number of placer mining licenses, particularly in Siberia and the Far East. The extractive activity mines riverbeds for gold deposits, rapidly disrupting riparian ecosystems. Photo by
In Russia, placer gold mining in particular is spreading like wildfire. This extractive activity mines riverbeds for gold deposits, rapidly disrupting whole riparian ecosystems. Muddy plumes stretch for tens, sometimes hundreds, of kilometers downstream from placer gold mining sites. Because of this, the natural chemical composition of water is disturbed, temperatures rise, water clarity and oxygen content decrease, and spawning grounds, especially for salmon, are flooded with silt. As a result, valuable fish abandon disturbed rivers, and the whole river ecosystem degrades, in many cases irreversibly.
In recent years, Russia’s federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency has worked with local governments to increase the number of placer mining licenses, particularly in Siberia and the Far East. These licenses are issued not on the basis of the fragility and value of a watershed, nor on the basis of the opinion of nearby and downstream residents, including Indigenous people who rely on these rivers for fishing, hunting, gathering, and the subsistence activities. Rather, governments see these “cheap” placer mines as an antidote to the country’s growing economic crisis and unemployment in remote regions. Local communities do not see any of the economic benefits from short-term mining operations devastating their riverscapes.
In the face of this gold prospecting invasion, some regional governments are resisting — insisting on their right to participate in the decision-making around the issuance of licenses. Others have taken another path: Kamchatka, the peninsula that juts into the North Pacific above Japan, has negotiated an agreement with Moscow for a moratorium on licenses until the region legalizes a network of protected areas and conservation zones to protect valuable rivers and salmon runs.
However, in order to understand the options for dealing with gold mining in Russia, it is useful to consider the history and scale of the problem and how various governments have approached it — both in Russia and in the country’s neighbors in Asia. China and Mongolia, with which Russia shares the Amur River basin, present particularly instructive examples.
China has firmly established itself as a world leader in the production and processing of gold. But along its border with Russia, China has significantly stopped placer mining. Until the late 1990s, thousands of small-time placer mining enterprises operated in northeastern China. Taiga streams and creeks in the Amur River basin were studded with dredges and other mining equipment. Then, between 1998 and 1999, several of the China’s largest rivers experienced significant flooding. The blame went to placer gold miners, alongside the logging industry.
The Chinese government reacted by issuing a total ban on placer mining in forest landscapes, shutting down all legal operations in the area. However, wildcat miners, around half of who were immigrants from southern provinces, were not willing to quit this lucrative industry. Their unwillingness triggered military operations, and the Chinese armed police worked for almost a decade to force these “black market” miners out of the forests of Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia regions.
The Chinese government simultaneously developed a program to subsidize local governments’ efforts to protect forests and rivers, which is now known as “payments for ecosystem functions.” These subsidies have become the main source of revenue for many forest communities, incentivizing them to eliminate placer-gold mining and replace it with alternative industries like mushroom production, fruit processing, and summer tourism.
Of course, China has been unable to totally eradicate placer gold mining. In some parts of the country, placer mining occurs in non-forested areas not subject to the ban, though under strong environmental restrictions (no riverbed operations). Another unsurprising result of the ban: much of the unused mining dredges and other equipment has been repurposed, in Russia.
Mongolia, too, has begun to defend rivers and lakes from destructive gold mining, though the country has an age-old commitment to protecting its natural resources. In Genghis Khan’s “Great Law,” he declared, “Execute all who dare desecrate rivers and springs, because in doing so they desecrate the sacred.” Due to the success of the Mongol leader’s conquests at the time, the heart of the Eurasian steppe had become home to significantly more people than could feed themselves. Imported goods and strict regulation of natural resources became required to support life, especially when it came to water. Genghis Khan’s ancient law thus protected rivers for centuries. At the outset of the twenty-first century, it became relevant again in the face of a globalized mining sector.
In 1997, private companies from Russia, China, and Canada invested in mining activity in Mongolia and bribed Mongolia’s bureaucrats to clear the way for their rush on minerals. Soon, mining licenses covered almost half of the nation’s land. From 2010-2012 until a catastrophic economic default, each Mongolian citizen was paid a share of these mining profits (approximately 20,000 tögrög, or $19, per month) to reduce public discontent with increasing social stratification and the destruction of the environment. Some residents nicknamed their country Minegolia.
Opposition to the mining rush soon became a national struggle when mining claims started separating nomadic herders from their traditional lands. Many families were forced to sell their livestock and either work for miners or move to cities, while the mining operations dried up rivers and fragmented wildlife habitat. Community organizers were sometimes victorious in temporarily saving rivers from license-holders, but the companies soon persuaded the courts to uphold their licenses and resumed work. In the end, community groups, including a coalition of activists called the United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes, took their advocacy to parliament. The movement eventually got a bill passed in 2009 that set aside protective buffer zones 500 to 1000 meters along rivers and large land tracts at river headwaters. These zones ban mining activity (excluding a few “strategic deposits that comprise a significant portion of the country’s economy) and if fully implemented should have protected around a quarter of Mongolia’s territory. Thousands of licenses, including placer gold mining licenses, were invalidated.
However, according to the new law, mining companies engaged in prospecting and extraction in the newly protected areas became eligible for compensation. In all, according to miners’ calculations, the government owed mining companies a staggering $4 billion, even though environmental and citizen rights activists claimed that none of these companies had performed proper land reclamation.
The United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes also spoke out against the slow implementation of the new law. In September 2010, Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, a 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize winner, and other leaders of the Movement protested gold mining on the sacred Mount Noyon, a historical burial site, while activists blocked mining at Burkhan Khaldun – another sacred mountain in Khentei Aimag – by locking up the mining equipment. They were arrested, though a number of government agencies and local administrations began working to reduce mining pressure on the rivers. Wherever possible and using any available legal pretexts, they withdrew or canceled exploration and operating licenses, significantly reducing their overall numbers.
Meanwhile, Munkhbayar continued his public demonstrations, including an armed demonstration in front of the parliament building in Ulaanbaatar, where he was arrested and sentenced to almost 20 years in prison as an “environmental terrorist.”
International environmental organizations then joined the struggle. In western Mongolia and along the Amur River, the World Wildlife Fund has put forward a new scheme for designing integrated river protection zones and has coordinated with local and federal authorities.
Today, seven Mongolian provinces have allocated more than eight million hectares of protected zones along rivers. These areas should ensure that on average 12 percent of each river’s watershed, across 43 percent of Mongolia’s territory, will remain free of destructive mines.
The Mongolian activists’ approach to river conservation is has yet to bear fruit on the ground. But if you consider existing political and economic instability, the progress Mongolia has made in this regard is already miraculous. The examples of China and Mongolia show that the state and the gold mining industry cannot only rely on conscious self-restraint of miners following general environmental regulations. It was preventive and advocacy measures that proved effective, not efforts to train miners to conduct “civilized business” according to “international standards”.
The fate of the rivers in Siberia and the Russia Far East depends on a similar level of integrity and engagement from local residents and conservationists who aim to save their rivers.
Eugene Simonov
Eugene Simonov, a Russian conservation activist and researcher, is a co-founder and coordinator of the Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition, which is working across borders to support conservation of river and lake ecosystems as well as environmental rights of riparian communities.
A version of this article appeared in two parts in Fish of Kamchatka Krai, a website dedicated to salmon advocacy.
Eugene Simonov Translated and adapted by Jennifer Castner
July 23, 2021
This article is part of a collaborative, journalism initiative between Earth Island Journal and Ecology and Business, an environmental journal based in Vladivostok, Russia that covers environmental issues in Eurasia. Translations from Russian are being provided courtesy of Earth Island’s The Altai Project.
 
Eugene A. Simonov
added 3 research items
В рамках инициативы «Пояс и Путь» в целом до сих пор нет водохозяйственной стратегии, хотя подобные существуют почти для всех остальных отраслей. В настоящее время сотрудничество стран ЦА с Китаем в водном секторе, помимо гидроэнергетики, осуществляется в водоснабжении и водоотведении, ирригации, но характеризуется малыми масштабами. В секторе гидроэнергетики Китай участвует в 23 проектах из 53 выявленных в регионе, а также является абсолютным лидером в «смежных проектах» (например, строительство дороги, ЛЭП и цементных заводов для Рогунской ГЭС). В Таджикистане и особенно Кыргызстане отсутствие инвестиций в новые ГЭС объясняется проблемами национального долга, экологии, культуры управления и производства и геополитическими рисками. В перспективе Китай будет стремиться увеличить свою долю рынка модернизации ГЭС и ГТС, создания систем водоснабжения и водоотведения (в контексте «умных городов»), а также водосберегающего сельского хозяйства. Ожидается, что среди новых низкоуглердных энергетических проектов Китая в ЦА будут преобладать не ГЭС, а солнечные и ветряные электростанции. ....................................................................................... The “One Belt, One Road” Initiative still lacks the water strategy, although similar strategies are available for almost all other sectors. At present, water cooperation between the CA countries and China covers, besides hydropower, such fields as water supply and sanitation and irrigation but these are small in scale. China participates in 23 out of 53 hydropower projects identified in the region and is also an absolute leader in accompanied projects (e.g. construction of a road, transmission lines and cement factories for Roghun HPP). The lack of investments in new HPPs in Tajikistan and particularly Kyrgyzstan is explained by national debts, environmental, management and production culture problems, as well as by geopolitical risks. In the future, China will try to increase its market share in modernization of HPPs and hydraulic structures, construction of water supply and sanitation systems (in the context of "smart cities"), as well as in promotion of water-saving agriculture. It is expected that solar and wind power plants, rather than hydroelectric power plants, will dominate among China's new low-carbon energy projects in Central Asia.
The lack of joint plans of shared basin management based on the latest environmental and hydrological research prompts riparian countries to unilateral actions for water accumulation and use within their respective boundaries, while ignoring environmental consequences of such practice. The countries often present such projects as voluntary commitments under the Paris Agreement. Construction of a dam (and a reservoir) on the Ulza river demonstrates the negative example in this respect. Such construction poses a direct threat to Torey lakes and the transboundary World Heritage site “The Landscapes of Dauria” as a whole. Tore lakes remain one of the last important places in global migratory routes for water fowls and semiaquatic birds. Dam construction is a part of the Blue Horse Infrastructure Project: dams are planned at 33 section sites along 12 largest Mongolian rivers for collection of rain, snow and flood water, as well as for “water diversion to the Gobi region”, where surface water is scanty and mining industry is developed. The Governmental action plan (2021-2025) adopted after elections includes a number of reservoir projects (on the Khovd, Orkhon, Ongi, and Kherlen rivers). The Blue Horse Project threatens two World Heritage sites, four wetlands in the Ramsar Convention’s list, four UNESCO’s biosphere reserves and all large natural river ecosystems in Mongolia (mainly, transboundary ones). If Mongolia may construct such a dam on the small Ulza River without bilateral negotiations with Russia and an assessment of impact on a UNESCO World Heritage site, the same construction can be repeated in Onon, Kherlen, Egiyin-gol, Selenga and any other transbounsdary basins. The Blue Horse Project aggravates the already existing contradictions between the neighboring countries and hampers formation of a joint system for shared basin management. ......................................................... Отсутствие совместных планов управления общими бассейнами, базирующихся на современных эколого-гидрологических исследованиях, стимулирует страны к превентивному одностороннему запасанию вод на своей территории и их использованию без учета экологических последствий. Часто такого рода проекты страны представляют как свои добровольные обязательства в рамках Парижского соглашения. Отрицательным примером служит строительство плотины (и водохранилища) на р. Ульза, что несет прямую угрозу Торейским озерам и трансграничному объекту Всемирного наследия «Ландшафты Даурии» в целом. Торейские озера остаются одним из последних важнейших в этой части континента мест остановок водоплавающих и околоводных птиц на глобальных миграционных путях. Строительство плотины является частью инфраструктурного проекта «Синий конь»: в 33 створах на 12 крупнейших реках Монголии планируются плотины – для сбора дождевой, снеговой и паводковой воды, «а также для отвода воды в регион Гоби», где поверхностных вод мало и развивается горнорудная промышленность. План действий Правительства (2021-2025), принятый после выборов, включает ряд проектов создания водохранилищ (на реках Ховд, Орхон, Онгги, Керулен). Программа «Синий конь» угрожает двум объектам всемирного наследия, четырем Рамсарским водно-болотным угодьям, четырем биосферным резерватам ЮНЕСКО и всем естественным крупным речным экосистемам Монголии (в основном трансграничным). Если Монголия сможет без соблюдения двусторонних процедур согласования с Россией и оценки воздействия на объект наследия ЮНЕСКО создать такую плотину на маленькой реке Ульза, то далее можно повторить это на Ононе, Керулене, Эгийн-голе, Селенге и в любых иных трансграничных бассейнах. Программа «Синий конь» ведет к усугублению уже существующих противоречий с соседями и препятствует созданию совместной системы управления общими бассейнами. Страницы 45-61 сборника конференции. Презентация от 2 марта 2021 по ссылке https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349966252
Презентация опыта коалиции РБГ по взаимодействию с китайскими фондовыми биржами и их регуляторами в ходе природоохранных кампаний. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Presentation describes the RwB Coalition experience with financial advocacy at different stock exchange institutions. It was compiled to argue that despite highly specialized nature of stock exchange operations there are clear advantages for grassroots groups to pursue their advocacy objectives there.
Eugene A. Simonov
added an update
Living Asia Portal published a story about a conference featuring the report made by the RwB International Coordinator.
The Ecological Civilization Policy was issued as an official document by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC) and the State Council of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on September 21, 2015[1]. Since then it was transformed into the signature policy of Chinese supreme leadership. The President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, during his speech at a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum said: "It is necessary to adhere to the course for green development in the name of building a beautiful home where the harmony of man and nature reigns. As the famous Russian writer, Dostoevsky said - beauty will save the world! "He also clarified: "For us, green mountains and emerald waters are priceless treasures for which we will be relentlessly fighting."
The webinar dedicated to the Chinese policy of ecological civilization was held on May 6, 2021 by Central Asian CSOs within the framework of the project "Raising public awareness, capacity building and establishing a community of practice on the impact of geopolitics and investment of Belt and Road projects". At the webinar Eugene Simonov, International Coordinator of the Rivers without Boundaries Coalition, shared his thoughts regarding the progress in building ecological civilization in China. (Original presentation here https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351450172 )
“Ecological Civilization” at home and abroad.
"Ecological civilization means that all key ecosystem functions must be safeguarded and reproduced while strict environmental regulations should be directly built into all management and economic systems of China. <…>. This policy has been brought to life by decades-long hard work of Chinese politicians, key agency officials, Chinese academy of Sciences and many environmental NGOs. When it was in preparation it looked as collective undertaking reflecting new consensus reached by many enlightened stakeholders.
Unfortunately, with the strengthening of Xi Jinping’s power, everything has changed. Now the policy is called the “Chairman Xi’s Thought on Ecological Civilization”. On the one hand, the country keeps moving along the ecological development path by inertia, but on the other hand, we are witnessing more and more signs of voluntarism along this path, simply because no one dares to question the Xi’s supreme authority. In other words, with the significant suppression of transparency and the introduction of unity of command, the room for maneuver to resolve existing environmental problems creatively has been significantly reduced. Space for Chinese civil society and its exchanges with outside world has received particularly hard hit. It is not a hopeless situation, but the speed of ecological transformation, in my opinion, has decreased today.
As for the promotion of ecological civilization in China itself, significant success has been achieved inside the country. As an example, he cites the systems of ecosystem functions' protection in priority “key regions”, for example, building new ecologically-friendly economy and ban on logging in forested headwaters of major rivers. Notable success has been achieved in reducing water and air pollution, conservation-oriented-zoning, development of solar and wind energy. Significant progress in those directions is vivid and undeniable.
Nevertheless, the main objective set for building an ecological civilization has never been achieved. According to the original 2015 plan, the environmental reform of all primary governance mechanisms was supposed to be finalized by 2020. However, at the beginning of 2020, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council issued "Guidelines for the Establishment of a Modern Environmental Management System," which simply duplicates the provisions of “Ecological Civilization” documents dating from 2015. Moreover, there is limited information available regarding achievement of the environmental governance reform targets during the 13th five-year plan period. In other words, the management reforms of ecological civilization are still very far from completion.”
However, we are primarily concerned about the outcomes of this policy for the neighbouring countries. As Dr. Simonov notes, it is stimulating the export of polluting industries to and extraction of resources on the territory of bordering countries. Increase in logging of primary old growth forests is especially obvious consequence for Russia, while rapid growth of Chinese cement industry is one of vivid examples in Central Asia.
“Ecological Civilization” in the next five year plan.
In general, Eugene noted that the new five-year plan marks a change in the paradigm of China's development. What are the main points outlined in the framework of the 14th five-year plan that are shaping the future of the “ecological civilization” and its environmental repercussions abroad?
· Localization of key production chains inside China to prevent “de-industrialization” and ensure economic security amidst geopolitical competition;
· Less emphasis on of the export of industrial equipment and the transfer of "excess capacity" to other countries;
· Legislative regulation of the selection of key projects to be implemented overseas based on such criteria as inclusiveness, affordability and resilience to risks;
· Combining the construction of the "green" Belt and Road with cooperation in climate change, sea protection, protection of fauna and combating desertification.
If all this comes true, we may expect environmental improvements and reduced negative impacts from Chinese projects in BRI countries, while environmental challenges posed to China by massive industrial development may grow bigger domestically. One of early signs is that the draft of the Law on Protection of Yangtze River [2]when initially published in 2020 banned further development of hydropower, but this clause was removed from the final version due to pressure from state-owned companies and anticipated need to boost Chinese economy by massive infrastructure development.
On the other hand, China is actively playing in the field of "green finance", trying to harmonize its system with the European “Taxonomy of Sustainable Finance” and policies of other major players. “Clean coal”, although it appears in the 14-th five-year plan, has finally been removed from the recently released catalogue of green finance projects. Several hazardous chemical industries have also been excluded. The construction of large hydropower plants will now be carried out only “if they do not cause significant environmental damage”. And it is good to hear.
“Ecological Civilization” and BRI in Water and Energy Sectors
Among the positive changes is a significant increase in renewable energy sources (RE) over the past 10 years. Today, China is a leader in this field, especially when it comes to solar and wind energy. This country is responsible roughly for a half of all “progressive” renewables installed during last several years, while just a decade ago it was mainly busy clogging its last free-flowing rivers with numerous hydropower dams.
Meanwhile, hydroelectric power plants (HPPs) constitute only 9 percent of the China's renewable energy capacity introduced in 2020 and even less than that in 2019. Slight increase in hydropower installed in 2020 (and expected in 2021) is due to just two last large long-term megaprojects being completed, while overall state policy since 2015 has been limiting development of new hydro.
When celebrating the decline in this destructive technology, one should also keep in mind that China has more than 4,000 years of experience creating water management infrastructure, and 65-80 percent of the global hydroelectric power plant market it is occupied by Chinese companies. Therefore, it is quite amazing that the Belt and Road initiative does not have a defined water management strategy yet. For many other sectors of economy, it is spelled out, as for the water management, there is no set of principles that would demonstrate China's expectations from cooperation in this area with other countries participating in the initiative. Within the BRI's framework for the development of individual economic corridors, "water" sections have been outlined only for Pakistan and the countries of the Mekong basin. In addition, according to special regulations for outbound investment issued in 2017, investment by Chinese companies in overseas projects, which potentially could affect transboundary waters is “restricted” and requires a special permit.
China and Water-Energy Projects in Central Asia.
As for our region, there is very little information on the water-related projects under the Belt and Road initiative, except for construction and repair of hydropower plants. But examples available from Central Asia support general trends with water infrastructure projects within BRI.
China's most prominent t project in Kazakhstan in this sector was the investment in 2007 of US $ 200 million in constructing the Muynak HPP in the Almaty region, which caused damage to floodplain forests of Sharyn National Park. However, nowadays, cooperation between the two countries is mainly aimed at development of solar and wind power plants.
As for Tajikistan, there are many rumours about the participation of Chinese companies in the development of the Rogun Hydro, and Chinese contractors are actively developing “auxiliary projects”, such as power transmission lines, cement factories or Nurobod-Obigarm road circumventing the future Rogun reservoir. However there is no information on direct financing of the construction of this hydropower plant or purchase of its shares by Chinese entities.
The situation is much more sophisticated in Uzbekistan. At the second Belt and Road Forum, China agreed to invest $ 2.7 billion in the 2017-2022 Uzbekistan Hydropower Development Program. However, to date public knows only about allocation by China of less than 150 million US dollars in construction of only 3 and modernization of 8 stations, including projects started before 2017. Several projects earmarked as “Chinese” in 2017 Program are now being discussed with Russian investors and companies, while China and Uzbekistan discuss solar farms.
Making “Green BRI” Green
But the most crucial question that we probably all ask ourselves when talking about the Chinese policy of ecological civilization is how to control the environmental impact of the activities of Chinese companies in other countries?
"The most straightforward answer is to put them under the same conditions as the enterprises owned by other countries and resist the pressure that somehow puts Chinese enterprises out of control of country’s laws and regulations.”
Considering that the Belt and Road initiative is a much politicized project, great attention is paid by Chinese agencies to preventing reputational damage. Thanks to this, public discontent, correctly and competently directed to the relevant Chinese departments, can force enterprises to enter into dialogue or even curtail their activities at the initial stages of potentially harmful projects. Unfortunately, a significant part of such projects is built ahead of conducting appropriate impact assessments and without public consultations. Some projects do not have approved EIA even at the time of completion. Based on this, it appears reasonable to communicate not only with local national agencies but also to Chinese authorities. Even if you never get direct response, with sufficient publicity and intelligible claims, or with a certain number of devoted activists consistently protesting against irregularities, this strategy will work" comments Evgeny Simonov, coordinator of the Rivers Without Boundaries Coalition.
As the BRI enters next 5-year plan period, Central Asian experts and public activists need to find answers to the following questions:
· have there been any improvements in public participation mechanisms and taking into account interests of the local communities since the beginning of the initiative;
· whether the protection of vulnerable terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity and management of natural resources has improved;
· whether under the BRI influence the national development objectives have changed and have they come closer to UN sustainable development goals;
· whether the degree and character of water and soil pollution has changed along the BRI corridors;
· whether mechanisms of return on investments have been created and whether the debt burden of the participating countries has decreased;
· whether preserving the cultural characteristics of small countries has been guaranteed in the course of cooperation with China?
"It is time to start answering these questions because eight years have passed since the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative at the Nazarbayev University" emphasized Eugene Simonov.
 
Eugene A. Simonov
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Вступая в новую 14-ю пятилетку, автор стремится проанализировать тренды "зеленого развития" КНР и её инициативы ПиП в изучаемых им секторах экономики. Презентация создана в просветительских целях как приглашение к совместному анализу и дискуссии. Презентация содержит новейшие данные о вводе мощностей мировой гидроэнергетики и роли Китая в этой отрасли Статьи про данный доклад https://livingasia.online/2021/05/16/czivilizaczii-kitaya/, https://livingasia.online/2021/05/13/poyas-i-put/ .................................... This presentation was developed in educational purposes to initiate discussion on prospects of "green development" as "Global China" enters the 14th five-year plan period. Also see this update https://www.researchgate.net/project/Green-Silk-Road/update/60abe31c6b953100014e6bca
Eugene A. Simonov
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Обстоятельства заставляют Китай спешно «экологизировать» изначально разрушительную инициативу ПиП. Одной из главных помех в этом часто становится косность, коррумпированность и примитивность институтов развития в странах- реципиентах. Глава рассматривает какие возможности есть у гражданского общества в странах-реципиентах чтобы способствовать "позеленению" ПиП и приводит примеры такой деятельности и рекомендации на будущее. _______________________________________________________- The overview of environmental assessment of BRI projects in CA shows that one of the main problems is timely and full access to information within the framework of the environmental assessment procedure. Currently, the ‘green’ component of BRI is based on voluntary guiding principles. Therefore, efficiency of environmental BRI project management in CA depends on political readiness and the ability of countries to support, introduce and apply strict environmental laws and regulations. It is necessary to start with disseminating information and conducting an open and effective environmental assessment of the BRI projects, and also strategic environmental assessment of large-scale infrastructure and transboundary projects. https://www.s-ef.org/пояс-и-путь Summary of the book available at https://crudeaccountability.org/environmental-aspects-of-belt-and-road-projects-in-central-asia/
Eugene A. Simonov
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Central Asian NGOs raise concerns about BRI projects
Since the announcement of its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, China has overtaken Russia to become the largest investor in Central Asian economies, attracted by the region’s mineral deposits and hydrocarbons, economic opportunities for Chinese products and the desire to ensure stability and security in its western Xinjiang region. Reflecting these motivations, Chinese investment has mainly been in infrastructure and extractive industries, which has brought an array of negative environmental impacts and social tensions to the region.
It is in this context that experts and environmentalists in Central Asia have raised grave concerns over the potential ecological and social impacts of China’s growing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the lack of adequate assessments in the developing region.
The first major assessment of China’s environmental impact in the region was published in Russian this year by Socio-Ecological Fund (SEF), a civil society organisation focusing on climate change, journalism and the environment in Central Asia, with the support of the Civil Society Development Association (ARGO). The report aims to provide an overall assessment of the environmental impact and problems arising from BRI projects in the region, bringing together contributions from environmentalists in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The group also offers recommendations for the governments of Central Asian countries and China, as well as companies and civil society groups.
One of the main problems is the lack of information about BRI projects within the framework of the environmental assessment procedures. Furthermore, in general, there is no open forum to discuss investment programmes and cooperation agreements with China. Recipient countries, as well as scientific institutions, businesses and public associations in Central Asia, have also failed to provide information and prepare properly for investment projects.
Sergey Solyanik, a consultant at NGO Crude Accountability and the coordinator of the “Ecological Evaluation of the Belt and Road Initiative” project, which this report is part of, highlights how Sinophobia has become a pressing issue in the implementation of BRI projects. In the report, he describes how fears are rooted in a lack of information and stakeholder consultation. Institutions and societies in Central Asia have failed to demand a balance of economic and environmental interests because there is almost no public participation in the decision-making process for projects implemented with China. This lack of participation combined with environmental problems, especially land-use issues, has mobilised waves of anti-Chinese sentiment.
This is also emphasised by Oleg Pechenyuk from the NGO Independent Ecological Expertise, who describes a case in Toguz-Toro district, in the Jalal-Abad region of Kyrgyzstan, where locals attacked and burned down a Chinese-invested gold processing factory being developed. They were motivated by environmental concerns: water contamination, damage to ecosystems and mercury pollution, to name a few.
The case highlights a lack of due diligence. In 2018, villagers repeatedly protested against the construction of the factory and demanded to be shown construction permits and the environmental impact assessment (EIA). Inspections confirmed that no EIA had taken place, which meant that there had been no approval from Kyrgyz government’s ecological experts, thus ignoring the possible environmental impacts.
Inadequate legislation
Other sections in the report highlight legal and administrative problems. Umidjon Uluhov, a professor of business law at Russian-Tajik University, describes how environmental regulations related to the BRI are not legally binding, and that across the board, Chinese companies in Central Asian countries do not attach due importance to environmental requirements, do not inform the population about their intentions and do not report the results of environmental monitoring of their activities.
Eugene Simonov from the Rivers Without Boundaries Coalition adds that growing geopolitical competition between the EU, India, the US and China to invest in Central Asian infrastructure also hinders constructive cooperation, as any criticism is perceived by China as political rather than substantive.
The opacity of Chinese companies is compounded by government legislation. Uzbek journalist Natalia Shulepina highlights how Uzbek legislation has simplified procedures for approving investment projects by bypassing environmental concerns and regulations. In Tajikistan, which is undergoing a radical transformation into a market economy, policymakers view environmental concerns as merely an obstacle to the decision-making process, writes Uluhov.
The Central Asian experts also confirm that heavily polluting Chinese industries are being transferred from China to Central Asia. For example, Solyanik describes a huge rise in Chinese companies producing cement in Tajikistan, where there are no uniform standards for pollutants or mercury emissions from cement kilns. This has led to irreparable harm to the environment and local health.
The lack of uniform standards and regulations also applies to the agricultural sector. In Tajikistan, for example, there are no rules and regulations governing the use of pesticides and agrochemicals. This has resulted in damaging use of pesticides. Vadim Ni, a member of the SEF board of trustees, describes Chinese companies’ illegal use of unregistered pesticides in an agro-industrial complex in rural Kazakhstan, which resulted only in a small fine, further incentivising such practices.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations for China and recipient BRI countries in Central Asia. It calls on Central Asian governments to support, implement and apply strict environmental laws and regulations for BRI projects. The first step is to disseminate public information and conduct open and effective environmental impact assessments for all BRI projects, as well as strategic environmental assessments for infrastructure and cross-border projects.
Chinese embassies in the region should disclose BRI project information more openly, including environmental impact issues. Embassies should engage in dialogue with the public and respond promptly and openly to violations by Chinese companies, helping to resolve conflicts quickly. This could reduce local anger and improve China’s public image in recipient countries. Chinese companies implementing projects in the region should also incorporate green BRI standards in practice and engage local people. Chinese government agencies should strictly monitor the implementation of green BRI development policies in Central Asia and promptly respond to conflicts, both through Chinese embassies and Chinese state-owned companies operating in the region.
Finally, more stakeholder engagement is needed, especially with local populations. The report is clear that without environmental assessments and greater public participation, China’s BRI faces a troubled road ahead in Central Asia.
Cameron Evans is a postgraduate student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, and also works as a freelance translator, writer and researcher, covering Russia and Eurasia
 
Eugene A. Simonov
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My presentation was about involvement of civil society in some aspects of development finance in BRICS countries. I used three examples to illustrate policy gaps in generation of development projects which should be paid attention by BRICS countries and their financial institutions.
Eugene A. Simonov
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Мегапроект ОПОП бьет по экологии своих стран-участниц
19.08.2020
Елена Короткова. Аргументы и факты. Кыргызстан.
(Это последняя из многих публикаций в странах ЦА о семинаре по "поясу и пути" проведенном он-лайн Социально-экологическим Фондом)
Вопросы экологической безопасности в контексте общемировой направленности на развитие зеленых технологий и зеленой экономики должны были быть учтены при разработке Пекином инициативы. Однако этого не произошло и проекты по линии ОПОП нередко наносят урон экологии стран, где реализуются…
В 2020 году один из крупнейших мировых интеграционных проектов – инициатива Китая «Один пояс – один путь» – отмечает семилетие. В ОПОП включены уже более 70 стран мира – от Юго-Восточной Азии до Центральной Азии и Европы, на кону «нового Шелкового пути» стоят миллиарды долларов США, которые уже пущены в ряде стран официально на возведение торговых маршрутов с десятками новых портов, железных и автомобильных дорог, трубопроводов, электростанций…
Однако проект имеет множество спорных моментов: начиная с «кредитной иглы», на которую садятся страны, берущие средства на реализацию инфраструктурных проектов ОПОП, но не способные «отбить» их и вернуть деньги Поднебесной вовремя.
И заканчивая вопросами глобальной экологической безопасности и экологических рисков. Последние вызывают отдельное беспокойство в контексте общемировой направленности на развитие зеленых технологий и зеленой экономики. Вопросы экологической безопасности ОПОП волнуют и Центральную Азию. Экологи, эксперты и журналисты Казахстана, Кыргызстана, Узбекистана и Таджикистана уже инициировали их обсуждение до пандемии коронавируса, пытаясь вовлечь в диалог и представителей госорганов, и представителей дипмиссий Китая в своих странах, но лица, принимающие решения, от него зачастую уходили. И не зря: на многие острые вопросы, у них возможно, пока нет ответа.
Идея без контроля
Главные из них – оценка последствий реализации инициативы на местах и в глобальном отношении, – отмечает Евгений Симонов, международный координатор экологической коалиции «Реки без границ». Его объединение анализирует ОПОП с момента его появления и вместе с другими организациями попыталось спрогнозировать, как инициатива повлияет на зеленое развитие и на экологию. И пришло к интересным результатам.Презентация Симонова:
«Как правило, Китай ссылается на то, что делит ОПОП на несколько экономических коридоров, по-настоящему же это скорее способ взаимодействия с каждой из стран, чем конкретный стратегический коридор. Но у проекта есть множество проблем. В КНР нет ответственной за экологию ОПОП структуры – экологический контроль за стратегическими планами инициативы в целом и конкретных ее проектов отсутствует, отсутствуют и обязывающие к экологичности правила и стандарты для финансовых институтов, поддерживающих инициативу. А этих финансовых институтов уже десятки, если не сотни, и в их руках триллионы долларов США. Плохо развита система консультаций с населением стран-участниц проекта и с заинтересованными в них лицами – стейкхолдерами, как в целом и у других проектов китайских компаний. Это осложняют и существенные культурные барьеры. Низкое качество проектирования в регионе вместе с отсутствием жестких критериев отбора ведет к тому, что вероятность финансирования по линии ОПОП готовых устаревших и экологически «грязных» проектов высока. Все эти недостатки были ясны с самого начала. Но за последнее время к ним прибавились вопросы геополитической конкуренции, и общественным организациям сложно участвовать в них, не опасаясь, что на них не будет повешен ярлык пристрастности к какой-либо из сторон. Вместе с коллегами из 20 стран в 2019 году мы провели анализ рисков ОПОП. Мы выделили 100 проблем, связанных с «новым Шелковым путем», потом произвели расчеты и рейтинг. Расчеты, что получили 8 экспертов из России и Центральной Азии, существенно отличался от расчетов более 20 коллег по миру. Главный вывод – отсутствие у Китая ясно сформулированных планов, которые можно было бы подвергнуть стратегической и экологической оценке. На поверку коридоры ОПОП не столь стратегически продуманны, и на уровне проектов высчитать их экологические и прочие риски подробнее сложно. Поэтому мы прилагаем усилия для внедрения механизмом стратегической экологической оценки в политике ОПОП», – делится опытом он. – «Большим подспорьем в этом направлении, пусть пока и на словах, стала выдвинутая в 2017 году правительством Китая инициатива «План сотрудничества в области экологии и охраны окружающей среды» в ОПОП и «Руководство по продвижению зеленого Пояса и Пути». Это связанные документы, что должны обеспечивать «зеленое развитие»: от внедрения единых «зеленых стандартов», механизмов «зеленого финансирования» до охраны биоразнообразия по коридорам стран ОПОП и продажи зеленых технологий миру. Но нет структуры, что контролировала бы его воплощение и все фактически сводится к внутренним нуждам политики Китая и экологизации внутреннего китайского устройства.
Одновременно с этим Китай принуждает свой бизнес к ответственному инвестированию за рубежом по ряду параметров, включая экологические и социальные. С 2000 года Китай издал более 100 руководств, пособий, брошюр и стандартов по этим вопросам. Но ни один из них не является обязательным для строгого исполнения китайскими бизнесменами за рубежом».
Немаловажно и то, как в будущем отразятся на экологии и зеленом глобальном развитии проекты, подобные ОПОП. Ведь вслед за Китаем аналогичные международные проекты начали инициировать и другие страны.
«Большинство стран евразийского континента и за его пределами готовы участвовать в ОПОП, которая стала инструментом внешней глобальной политики КНР и огромной машиной глобальных инвестиций. Игнорируя эти вопросы сейчас, мы можем осложнить себе жизнь в будущем, урезав возможности устойчивого развития в будущем. Это и пул китайских инвестиций, проблемных с экологической точки зрения.
И «будильник» для многих конкурирующих с Китаем стран – Индия, США, Япония, Евросоюз и другие страны уже сформулировали возможности крупных инвестиций в международную инфраструктуру в развивающихся странах, удвоив экологические риски. И эти инициативы так же должны быть проанализированы», – подчеркивает он.
Свою позицию Симонов озвучил на недавнем летнем вебинаре «Экологические аспекты проектов «Пояс и Путь» в Центральной Азии», организованном казахской экологической ОО «Социально-Экологический Фонд» (См. http://cso-central.asia/sostoyalsia_vebinar_ecologicheskie/ )
К слову, ни представители казахских профильных госорганов, ни представители Китая, приглашенные на онлайн-мероприятие, его присутствием не почтили. Симонов нашел ряд единомышленников: экоаспекты проектов ОПОП волнуют жителей стран ЦА, и не только из-за небезопасного будущего, но и из-за неприглядного настоящего. И по линии ОПОП, и по линии иных программ партнерства с Китаем жителям этих стран уже знакомы угрозы экологической безопасности.
55 сюрпризов
Например, в Казахстане есть так называемые «55 проектов» – история о переносе из Китая мощностей несырьевого сектора на казахскую землю по линии ШОС. В декабре 2014 года представители стран договорились об этом, в 2015 году подписали рамочное соглашение об укреплении сотрудничества в области индустриализации и инвестиций, но дальше дело не пошло – последствия работы производств на казахской территории, разница в законодательствах и нормативах строительства заморозили воплощение договоренностей. В 2016 году произошла вторая попытка уже вне ШОС: по линии сопряжения ОПОП и казахской госпрограммы «Нурлы жол»: Пекин и Нур-Султан сформировали перечень из 51 совместного проекта на территории Казахстана минимум на 26 млрд долларов США. К 2019 году, когда первые ласточки проекта появились в Казахстане, там укоренились антикитайские настроения. Бизнесмены Китая забыли про экологические нормы. А казахские власти не думали о том, чтобы требовать от них соблюдения даже республиканских санитарных норм. Или хотя бы Орхусской конвенции.
«К сожалению, информации обо всех проектах подробно не найти ни на сайте Казахинвеста, ни на сайте Комитета по инвестициям МИД РК, ни на других ресурсах, и приходится искать их упоминания в СМИ. Например, цементный завод ТОО «Компания Гежуба Шиели Цемент», запущенный в Кызылординской области в 2018 году. Это проект ТОО «Корпорация DANAKE» и «Gezhouba Group Cement Co., Ltd» мощностью 1 млн тонн цемента в год и стоимостью 177 млн долларов США. Несмотря на заявления об экологизации, это один из примеров того, как китайская сторона переносит «грязное» производство на территорию региона. После запуска завода жители близлежащего села Шигей-Кодаманов жаловались на неприятный запах, пыль, жаловались журналистам, что строительство с ними не согласовывали, хотя Орхусская конвенция и другие документы регламентируют это, не были соблюдены и нормы СЭЗ. От ближайших домов до завода менее 500 метров – это можно увидеть даже по картам. Хотя по нормам РК, санитарная защитная зона для такого рода объектов первого класса опасности должна составить не менее 1 км», – поделился проблемами республики на вебинаре Сергей Соляник, эколог, консультант Crude Accountability.
Из-за общественных возмущений и выявленных после этих протестов нарушений часть проектов с заложенным в них экоущербом была заморожена. Например, производство калийных минеральных удобрений ТОО «Батыс-Калий», Kazakhstan Potash Corp., CITIC Construction Co ltd и China New Era Group Corporation в Актюбинской области и ЗКО. К 2023 году калийный рудник и обогатительная фабрика должны были расшириться, но петиция жителей Актобе президенту Нурсултану Назарбаеву в 2016 году помогла: проект расширения затормозили. Но не ликвидировали. По мнению Соляника, Казахстану (да и другим странам) нужно информировать о конкретных проектах казахстанско-китайского сотрудничества простое население и учитывать его мнение в принятии решений. Информация в открытом доступе для оценки эковоздействия нужна и экологам. Не мешает помнить чиновникам и о положениях Орхусской конвенции и национального законодательства.
Дело мутное…
Не лучше дела обстоят и в Кыргызстане. Наиболее показательными можно назвать горнорудные проекты – они лучше всего отражают и недостатки работы Китая (да и других стран), и их последствия.
«В целом инвестиционный климат в Кыргызстане не сбалансирован, и в нашей стране инвесторов защищают плохо. К этому добавляются и перекос в сторону ресурсного национализма, и теневая добыча золота, и конкуренция за ресурсы, и получается сложное поле, куда выходят геологические инвесторы. Деятельность китайских компаний же на этом поле – и на других, будь то строительство или иная деятельность – идет примерно по одному пути. Начало деятельности знаменуется поиском ключевого игрока, который решает все проблемы с согласованиями и лицензиями. Эта деятельность осуществляется сбоку, из-за угла, с потерей времени и средств, без информирования общественности и без учета общественного мнения. Отсутствие PR-стратегии и слабая работа с общественностью часто приводит к тому, что даже относительно «законопослушные» компании бывают втянуты в различные социально-экологические конфликты. А подразделения одной компании при этом не знают, что творится в компании в целом. Все строительство ведется с параллельным проектированием, а разработка оценка воздействия на окружающую среду начинается уже после того, как проверяющие органы останавливают деятельность компании. К тому же очень часто деятельность компаний связаны с коррупционными скандалами», – отметил, делясь опытом, эксперт из КР Олег Печенюк из республиканского ОО «Независимая экологическая экспертиза».
Есть и другие шаги, которые в республике уже традиционно сопровождают сделки с участием компаний из КНР. Общество о сделках узнает постфактум, главной подрядной организацией обязательно назначается китайская компания. Принимающая сторона должна выдать определенную квоту на рабочую силу из Китая, задействуемую в проекте – чаще всего она привлекается подрядчиком и имеет низкую квалификацию. При возведении объектов используют китайское же оборудование и материалы от компаний из Китая, которые импортируются без пошлин или по льготным условиям. Наконец, проекты с КНР часто сопровождают коррупционные скандалы и конфликты за рабочие места с местными рабочими… ОПОП – проекты вероятнее всего не станут исключением. Так как ситуация не меняется годами, и решаются больные вопросы местным населением за неимением адекватного решения «сверху» просто: силой, кулаками и камнями.
Причем иногда население бывает управляемо и является просто силой для проталкивания чьих-то третьих интересов. Примеров множество, наиболее показательны стычки на севере в Солтон-Сары в 2019 году и беспорядки с поджогом золотоизвлекательной фабрики в южном Казармане в 2018 году, о которых написали в новостных лентах международных информагенств. После расследования выявились и многочисленные нарушения с китайской стороны, и заинтересованные в беспорядках лица с кыргызской стороны, но иностранные СМИ информацию об этом уже не публиковали. А и без того непривлекательный имидж Кыргызстана был подпорчен еще больше.
Кто, если не мы?
Однако бороться с нарушениями китайских компаний на местах граждане стран-участниц ОПОП все же могут, и не только путем выхода на митинги, побиванием камнями китайских сотрудников, погромами и поджогом зданий или перекрытием дорог. Для этого гражданским активистам (а чаще всего об эконормах в проекте ОПОП и вообще об эконормах думают больше всего они, нежели лица, принимающие решения, и чиновники) нужно ознакомиться с документами «Зеленого Шелкового пути» и контролировать выполнение проектов ОПОП с их точки зрения. Следует так же попытаться просветить чиновников своих стран о политике зеленого развития Китая и о декларируемых Китаем обещаниях зеленого развития. Нужно вести диалог и с самими компаниями, ведущими работы по проектам ОПОП, ссылаясь на «зеленые политики» и инвестиционные руководства Китая. Если же компании их нарушают и вредят экологии стран, где работают, нарушения нужно документировать и обращаться в китайские органы власти с отсылкой на экологические обещания Китая миру.
Первый опыт такой борьбы уже есть: «Реки без границ» вместе с рядом организаций из числа подписантов опробовала этот инструмент воздействия, и провела исследование проектов с китайским участием по линии ОПОП по всему миру. Оказалось, что 60 из них угрожают странам, на чьей территории реализуются. 49 из них сопровождают острые споры местного значения, 13 – грозят международными конфликтами (например, благодаря тому, что работы ведутся на реках, протекающих через несколько стран). Под угрозой по вине этих 60 проектов – 12 объектов Всемирного наследия ЮНЕСКО, 20 международных водно-болотных угодий, 34 заповедника и национальных парка. Так же, по оценкам экологов, нарушаются 45 речных экосистем и 48 природных местообитаний более 600 редких эндемичных представителей флоры и фауны. При этом никаких встреч с обычным местным населением и местными сообществами перед началом работ по линии этих 60 проектов не проводилось. Результаты исследования вместе с документальным подтверждением ущерба направились в китайские профильные министерства и ведомства.
«Пока у нас есть интересные ответы на нашу инициативу. В Министерстве экологии Китая возмутились, что документы были направлены в Министерство коммерции раньше, чем к ним, и начали с нами диалог. Официальных ответов мы не ждем, но процесс уже запущен, и база данных по некачественным проектам будет пополняться. Нужна и другая база по проектам – какие их инвестиции были наиболее «зелеными» с точки зрения экологии и местных групп, и как вести их так, чтобы они были максимально полезными», – советует Симонов.
 
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
3 июня состоялся вебинар «Экологические аспекты проектов «Пояс и Путь» в Центральной Азии», организованный Социально-Экологическим Фондом (СЭФ). Целью вебинара было обсуждение экологических аспектов проектов «Пояс и Путь» (ПиП) и определение общих проблем с их экологической оценкой в Центральной Азии. В вебинаре приняли участие 45 представителей экологических НПО Казахстана, Кыргызстана, Таджикистана и Узбекистана, эксперты и журналисты. Симонов был первым докладчиком с обзорной лекцией о ПиП и перспективах участия в нем для гражданского общества. See detail: http://cso-central.asia/sostoyalsia_vebinar_ecologicheskie/
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Collection of technical and historic data on recent dam failure in Uzbekistan, its causes and consequences. The Sardoba Dam failure on May 1, 2020 in Uzbekistan is a cumulative result of climate change, 100 year of basin-scale environmental mismanagement, 30-years of water feuds and mistrust, widespread corruption and incompetence coupled with demand for quick political results, instead of scientifically-based and publicly discussed decision-making. It is too early to talk about long term outcomes of this catastrophe. But there are signs, that routine process of institutionalized killing of Central Asian rivers, which seriously threatens local populations in all countries of the Aral Sea basin has the last chance to be reversed with use of new information and management technologies, new policy approaches and wide public participation. Прорыв Сардобинской плотины: иллюстрированный дайджест Катастрофа в Узбекистане стоит в одном ряду с крупнейшими авариями на плотинах в последнюю декаду: Всего с 2010 года в мировых медиа активно обсуждалось более 20 аварий плотин с жертвами и кошмарами массовых эвакуаций при угрозах прорыва. Ещё сотни аварий помельче не снискали вселенской «славы». Практически все они сопровождались «аномальными осадками», халатностью или коррупцией, а также жадностью хозяев ГТС и слепой верой гидроинженеров в счастливую звезду своих детищ. В мае 2020 года пришёл черед Сардобинского водохранилища – огромной чаши, окаймлённой 30-метровыми земляными дамбами, построенной средь Голодной степи. Прохудившись, оно вылило пол кубических километра воды на окрестные районы Узбекистана и Казахстана, унеся минимум 6 жизней, разрушив и повредив более 5000 домов и 30 тысяч га посевных площадей. Органы следствия полагают, что к трагедии могли привести: ошибки при проектировании; несоблюдение строительных норм; ошибки при эксплуатации или (и) стихийное бедствие. Какие бы причины к нему ни привели, прорыв водохранилища в Узбекистане выглядит вполне ожидаемым событием, которое рано или поздно обязано было случиться в этом бассейне . Но, если будут извлечены и усвоены уроки Сардобинского прорыва, то, возможно, следующая катастрофа произойдёт не в Центральной Азии. https://livingasia.online/2020/05/19/uroki-sardoby-vyuchit-nelzya-zabyt/
Eugene A. Simonov
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Global Civil Society Call on Chinese Authorities to Ensure that COVID-19 Financial Relief is Not Targeted to Harmful Projects along the Belt and Road.
Figure(see above and in attachment): Conservative estimate of cumulative incidents of risks and impacts from the 60 sample BRI projects listed by CSOs.
On April 29, 2020, the Rivers without Boundaries along with other 260 civil society groups across the world called on the Chinese government to ensure that COVID-19 related financial relief for struggling Belt and Road projects flows only to high quality investments satisfying specific criteria, and avoid bailing out projects already mired in environmental, social, biodiversity, climate, or financial risks prior to the onset of COVID-19.
In February 2020, China’s Ministry of Commerce and the China Development Bank (CDB) jointly issued a notice creating a mechanism for directing finance to Belt and Road projects that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement instructed local commerce departments and centrally state-owned enterprises to collect information on overseas projects impacted by the outbreak, and pass this information on to CDB, which will consider providing financial relief to get projects back on track. Crucially, the notice states that projects that are “high quality”, “legally compliant”, and have “controllable risks” can qualify to receive COVID-19 related financial relief.[1]
In the statement, civil society groups set out ten specific principles that if present could help to ensure that projects are “high quality”. This includes ensuring credible, robust environmental impact assessments, obtaining free, prior informed consent from affected people, committing not to impact on key biodiversity areas, and ensuring alignment with international norms and best practices and China’s green finance policies, among others.
Environmentalists also highlighted 60 Chinese sponsored projects in the mining, pulp and paper, hydropower, infrastructure, fossil fuel, and other sectors which do not meet these criteria, and presented short description for each member of this “black list”.
Six out of 60 listed projects are located in Russia: Ice Silk Road for extraction and transport of hydrocarbons, Amazarsky Pulp Mill and Loguhe Border Crossing, Henda-Siberia Logging Co. in Tomsk region, Zashulansky Coal Mine owned by En+Group and Shenhua Co., “Power of Siberia II” Gas Pipeline of Gazprom, Canal “Eurasia”from Caspian to the Black Sea. Two more water infrastructure and energy projects in Mongolia may affect transboundary ecosystems shared with Russia.
As the world continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, economies are contracting, unemployment rising, and major development projects are stalled. As we find ways to manage the crisis and begin to address the harm caused by the pandemic, Chinese and global development actors will need to seriously consider how low quality, high risk investments may not only drive negative environmental, social, climate, and biodiversity impacts, but may also facilitate the spread of diseases, as a consequence of encroachment on undisturbed ecosystems.
In a post-pandemic world, global actors will need to take stronger, decisive steps to stabilize and revitalize the global economy in an ecologically safe, people-oriented, and sustainable manner, and ensure that any COVID-19 related financial relief is allocated to projects and investments which are fully supported by and benefit local communities, align with international standards and best practice, and preserve our world’s increasingly fragile ecosystems.
Full Statement by 260 CSOs, list of signatories, annotated list of risky projects available at
http://www.transrivers.org/pdf/20200429CSO Statement_on_High_Quality_Projects.pdf
[1] Ministry of Commerce & China Development Bank (2020) #61, Work Notice On Supporting the High Quality and Cooperative Building of “One Belt One Road” By Unleashing the Role of Development Finance in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak / 商合函【2020】61号 《关于应对新冠肺炎疫情 发挥开发性金融作用支持高质量共建“一带一路”的工作通知》
 
Eugene A. Simonov
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The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) represents the largest infrastructure and development project in human history, and presents risks and opportunities for ecosystems, economies, and communities. Some risks (habitat fragmentation, roadkill) are obvious, however, many of the BRI’s largest challenges for development and conservation are not obvious and require extensive consideration to identify. In this first BRI Horizon Scan, we identify 11 frontier issues that may have large environmental and social impacts but are not yet recognised. More generally, the BRI will increase China’s participation in international environmental governance. Thus, new cooperative modes of governance are needed to balance geopolitical, societal, and environmental interests. Upgrading and standardising global environmental standards is essential to safeguard ecological systems and human societies.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Гидроэнергетика - важнейшее направление зарубежных инвестиций Китая. В мире с 2013 г. наблюдается закономерный спад в гидроэнергетике, в том числе, так как часть инвестиций в ВИЭ (часто у тех же компаний) уходит на ветер и солнце. Несмотря на обнародование широких планов сотрудничества, вероятность вклада китайских инвесторов в создании ГЭС в Азиатской России ничтожно мала. В 2012-2016 гг. компанией «Три Ущелья» и рядом других инвесторов были рассмотрены и отвергнуты варианты участия в создании ГЭС на Ангаре и в Амурском бассейне. Прежде всего это связано с отсутствием спроса на электричество, высокой удельной стоимостью и существенными социально-экологическими рисками таких проектов. Вероятность прихода аналогичных инвесторов на Камчатку ничтожно мала, в том числе ввиду формирования в КНР негативного отношения к малой гидроэнергетике. За 2017-19 гг внутри Китая снесено несколько сотен малых ГЭС из-за того что они наносят экологических ущерб несоизмеримой с приносимой обществу выгодой. Основной причиной 50% уменьшения в 2017-18 гг ввода малых ГЭС в мире в целом является их неконкурентоспособность в сравнении с солнечной и ветровой энергией ввиду высокой удельной капиталоемкости и невозможности стандартизации. Title: The risks of “The Silk Road” Programme in Northern Eurasia exemplified by hydropower development.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
This paper explores the reasons for high viability and prospects of dam-based hydropower despite globally recognized body of knowledge about its negative effects on biodiversity, ecosystem services and population relying on them. It also lays out arguments used by conservationists to advocate for river protection from dam development, so that they should be weighed against those of hydropower proponents. Paper briefly examines how several key conclusions of the World Commission on Dams by 2000 Report correspond with actual hydropower development in the 21 century and broadly describe driving forces shaping possible scenarios for the future of the hydropower and free-flowing rivers.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION AND WATER MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS OF THE BELT AND ROAD IN THE UNECE REGION La Belt and Road Initiative nella regione UNECE: effetti sugli ecosistemi acquatici e sulla gestione delle risorse idriche.pp 21-26 OrrizonteCina 2019 | VOL. 10, N. 3. Torino World Affairs Institute. Torino. Italy. (Aquatic Ecosystem Conservation And Water Management Implications Of The Belt And Road In The UNECE Region. Pp 21-26 in China Horisons. 2019 | VOL. 10, N. 3. Bulletin of Torino World Affairs Institute. Torino. Italy.) Half of Eurasia belongs to “Pan-European space” covered by UN Economic Commission for Europe. Despite the fact that at least 40 countries which subscribed to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are UNECE members, so far there have been limited attempts to use of the UNECE environmental conventions and instruments to safeguard sustainable development in the BRI context. Formation of BRI policies and practices could be harmonized with well-established instruments UNECE, first of all Helsinki Convention on Transboundary Waters and International Lakes. ITALIAN: Metà dell’Eurasia appartiene allo spazio paneuropeo per cui è competente la Commissione economica per l’Europa delle Nazioni Unite (UNECE). Nonostante almeno 40 paesi membri UNECE siano diventati partner della BRI, ad oggi i tentativi di utilizzo delle convenzioni ambientali e dei suoi strumenti per la salvaguardia delle pratiche di sviluppo sostenibile nel contesto offerto dalla BRI sono stati minimi. Il processo di formazione di prassi e politiche a livello della BRI si potrebbe invece armonizzare proprio attraverso l’utilizzo dei già consolidati strumenti UNECE – prima tra tutti la Convenzione sulla protezione e l’utilizzo dei corsi d’acqua transfrontalieri e dei laghi internazionali (Convenzione Acque, o Convenzione di Helsinki).
Eugene A. Simonov
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On December 3 in Moscow Mongolia and Russia have finally signed an agreement on cooperation in electric power, development of which was triggered by Mongolia’s plans to build hydropower plants in Lake Baikal basin to achieve self-sufficiency in energy sector (see https://www.researchgate.net/project/World-Heritage) . On the part of Mongolia, such desire was partly due to lack of long-term agreement with neighbors for reliable electricity supply at affordable price.
The necessity for such agreement has been discussed at least since 2014 and was always viewed in conjunction with difficult negotiations on several hydropower plants planned in transboundary Selenge river basin with support of ADB, World Bank and Chinese investors. Most scientists argued that Shuren, Egiin Gol and Orkhon-Gobi hydropower projects are likely to exert significant negative impacts on rivers which will extend all the way down to the Lake Baikal, a World Heritage Site.
The Rivers without Boundaries Coalition promoted energy integration between the two countries, based on justice and equality and aiming to ensure best social, environmental and economic outcomes. Our efforts have not been in vain. The new agreement emphasizes such principles and sets forth shared vision for reliable energy system is a right step in this direction.
According to Russian officials and news agencies such agreement also allows Russia to suggest inexpensive and reliable energy alternatives to any projects that may threaten common rivers and Lake Baikal. Although the Agreement explicitly says that it does not limit the Parties from any use of resources on their own territory, it may remove any need to seek expensive and less reliable “energy independence” by creating conditions for equitable sharing of already available energy resources.
The bilateral agreement is explicitly welcoming third-country involvement in energy cooperation, which envisions that it may serve both the development of China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor and the North East Asia Energy Super-Grid.
Ahead of signing the bilateral agreement, “Russian grids” and “Erdenes Mongol” have signed in September 2019 an MOU that contains several specific measures to develop greater energy interconnection and reliable and equitable energy trade between countries.
We welcome this step and will closely monitor implementation of the Agreement that conforms with its spirit and principles as well as proper use of environmental safeguards clearly embedded into the Agreement.
Eugene Simonov, International Coordinator
Rivers without Boundaries
Here http://www.transrivers.org/2019/2922/ see unofficial excerpts from the text of the draft Agreement, as approved by Russian Government by decree #753-p on 24 April 20
for wider context see
Записки о Глобальном энергетическом соединении: Развилки мировой энергетики и китайская сетевая инициатива GEI. ( Crossroads of World energy and China's Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322517831
 
Eugene A. Simonov
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A Report was developed to inform members of the Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific about key problems and opportunities associated with the Belt and Road Initiative.
Eugene A. Simonov
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Many policies and patterns in cooperation between China and its neighbours are now influenced by the China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), that promotes trade, international investment in infrastructure and sharing of China's industrial capacity with more than 100 countries. The Belt and Road Initiative is expected to have profound influence on natural resource management and environmental protection in Eurasia. In particular, major changes may happen in management of transboundary rivers basins. While previously China was interested in ensuring water security within its national borders, nowadays it has to pay attention to water-related problems in whole transboundary basins to ensure at least that water is available for planned investment schemes. On the other hand, environmental health of shared river basins should also receive much greater priority due to more environmentally responsible domestic development polices in China illuminated by Ecological Civilization Policy, that prescribes comprehensive set of reforms driving the whole China's governance system towards sustainable resource use and nature conservation.
Eugene A. Simonov
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The first edition of the Central Asian Water Yearbook which features key water related events and developments in Central Asia and beyond. The Yearbook seeks to ease access to key events of the year for policy and decision-makers and other stakeholders, inside and outside the water community in Central Asia, by presenting it in a user-friendly format. Developments in Water Management and Related Environmental Policies in China and in "Belt and Road " Countries are interrelated and therefore I analyzed them together exploring possible linkages. My contribution presented in two consecutive sections: Section 11. Key water developments http://cawater-info.net/yearbook/pdf/11_yearbook2017_en.pdf AND Section 12. Thematic reviews http://cawater-info.net/yearbook/pdf/12_yearbook2017_en.pdf full WATER YEARBOOK IN ENGLISH http://cawater-info.net/yearbook/index_e.htm --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Первый выпуск Ежегодника «Вода в Центральной Азии и мире», в котором Вы найдете краткую информацию о ключевых событиях, произошедших в 2017 году в сфере водных ресурсов. http://cawater-info.net/yearbook/index.htm Понимая, что необходимо рассматривать водные вопросы в контексте общего развития стран и с учетом интеграционных процессов, в Ежегоднике принят расширенный подход к подбору материала. Например, детальный авторский обзор Симонова Е.А. посвященразвитию водного хозйства КНР и инициативе Китая «Пояс и путь», реализация которой будет непосредственно или опосредованно влиять на использование и управление водными ресурсами в ЦА. (См. разделы 11. Ключевые водные события в мире и 12.Темати и ческие обзоры). Полный авторский обзор ранее издан по русски отдельным выпуском. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324167737
Eugene A. Simonov
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As China aspires to become a global environmental leader, its potential to become so would be vastly bolstered by ratifying the Key multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). When public concern has been voiced openly, China has demonstrated its readiness to seriously take into account environmental issues and risks, as evidenced, for example, in the adoption of the Green Belt&Road Initiative Documents. Thus, given China’s global environmental ambitions, its willingness to take on board concerns relating to reducing environmental risks, and the significant potential of the Key MEAs to further green the BRI (including infrastructure projects), it is likely that China will take steps to ratify these MEAs in the foreseeable future. This presentation was made by Dr.Evgeny Shvarts. Название конференции по русски: Международная конференции МГС «Практическая география и вызовы XXI века», посвященная 100-летию ИГАН, Москва 4-6 июня 2018. http://100igras.ru/
Eugene A. Simonov
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В презентации рассматриваются изменения политики в отношении угольной промышленности в КНР и их возможные последствия для российского экспорта угля и электроэнергии. Presentation discusses changes in China's coal industry policies and possible consequences for Russian exports of coal and electricity.
Eugene A. Simonov
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A presentation on freshwater ecosystem preservation in the era of “Belt and Road “ and specific potential areas for fruitful cooperation in transboundary basins. Презентация об охране пресноводных экосистем в эпоху ПиП и про пконкретные перспективные направления сотрудничества в трансграничных бассейнах. Представлена на VIII Сессии совещания сторон Конвенции по трансграничным водам, в Астане 12 октября 2018 г.
Eugene A. Simonov
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Dauria International Protected Areas and its partners for 25 years have been conducting joint research and conservation work. Now this experience is highly relevant to building "Green Silk Road". This presentation (with slight modifications) was delivered ion Sept 13 2018 at BRI Ecological remediation forum at wuwei in Chinese and then on Sept 15 at ICIMOD workshop at Lanzhou University. 下列3 个国家的3 个自然保护区联合而诞生了达斡尔国际自然保护区: • 达斡尔斯基国家级严格自然保护区,位于俄罗斯后贝加尔边疆地区; • 蒙古达斡尔严格自然保护区,位于蒙古东省,与俄罗斯保护区相邻; • 中国内蒙古自治区的达赉湖国家级自然保护区 这个三边保护区的诞生,目的是连接达斡尔草原上的湿地和草地栖息地,这对达斡尔地区的生物多样性保护,特别是对迁徙鸟类和兽类的保护至关重要。除了生物多样性和生态系统的保护,国际保护区域的主要目标是对达斡尔草原生态系统自然过程和现象的监测。 尽管三个国家的自然保护行政体制和管理方法以及人员配备存在着不同,但是达斡尔国际自然保护区作为一个联合的国际自然保护区已经成为一个自然保护成功案例。从达斡尔国际自然保护区建立的第一年起,三国在该地区设法促进合作,首先是科研方面,之后是环境教育。 Four specially protected nature areas of the three countries were combined to create DIPA: Daursky Zapovednik (national strict nature reserve) and Tsasucheisky Bor National Wildlife Refuge under Zapovednik management in then Chitinskaya oblast (presently Zabaikalsky Krai)of Russia; Mongol Daguur strictly protected nature area in Dornod aimag of Mongolia, which borders on the Russian reserve; Dalai Lake National Nature Reserve (now called Hulun Lake NNR) in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. Creation of this trilateral protected area, consisting of functionally connected wetland and steppe habitats, was of special importance for biodiversity conservation in Dauria, particularly for the protection of migrant species of birds and mammals. Besides biodiversity and ecosystems conservation, the main target of the international protected area is monitoring of natural processes and phenomena in the Dauria steppe ecosystem.�Despite the differences in nature protection regimes and in the management and staff of the three areas, DIPA as a united international reserve has been a conservation success. Since the first years of DIPA’s existence, the area was managed to promote cooperation, first in science and later in environmental education.
Eugene A. Simonov
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Презентация к докладу прилагается (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328600887). В 2013 году Китаем выдвинута Инициатива «Пояс и путь»(ПиП), состоящая из «Экономического пояса Шелкового пути» и «Морского шелкового пути XXI века». Выдвижение Инициативы ПиП в 2013 г. было вызвано как социально-экономической и экологической ситуацией внутри Китая, так и пересмотром внешнеполитических приоритетов страны. Среди внешнеполитических причин выдвижения концепции ПиП, стремление Китая к лидерству в региональной экономической кооперации и к налаживанию тесных отношений с государствами региона в экономической, политической и гуманитарной сферах, иногда трактуемая как «новая модель глобализации». С точки зрения внутренних проблеем, ПиП позволяет Китаю содействовать ускоренному развитию его заметно отстающих в экономическом отношении западных провинций, а также решить проблемы, связанные с переизбытком промышленных мощностей и деградацией окружающей среды. Возможности создания крупных гидротехнических сооружений внутри Китая уменьшаются в силу осознания социально-экологических издержек и уже достигнутого физического избытка мега-инфраструктуры. Так программа развития гидроэнергетики в 13 пятилетке урезана вдвое в сравнении с планами прошедшей 12 пятилетки. Поэтому завоевание международного гидро-инженерного рынка-это важнейший вопрос выживания таких госкомпаний из китайской строительной индустрии как Гечжоуба, Синогидро (Пауэр Чайна), СМЕС и др. Во всех случаях, когда позволяет ситуация, китайские компании охотно участвуют под флагом ПиП в водохозяйственных проектах других стран. Наклеивание ярлыка «Шелкового пути» на свой проект улучшает шансы его продвижения и государственного кредитования. В мире, по сути, нет поставщиков водной и энергетической инженерии и оборудования, способных сравнится по масштабам строек и разнообразию услуг с китайскими компаниями, которые поддерживаются китайскими госбанками. И наконец, важнейшим отличием спонсируемых Китаем строек за рубежом является "политика невмешательства", предполагающая что экономические, социальные и экологические риски проектов-головная боль принимающих стран, а китайская сторона несет минимальную ответственность. На коррупцию в принимающих странах китайские партнеры также смотрят сквозь пальцы пока она не угрожает прямо их интересам. Не очень эффективные и демократические правительства многих стран Азии и Африки часто не имеют механизмов управления рисками государственных инвестиций и заимствований. В результате средства тратятся на неэффективные и экологически опасные мегапроекты, в т.ч. водохозяйственные. Так как с участием КНР в мировом водохозяйственном строительстве связаны большие надежды и огромные опасения, данный доклад пытается прояснить современное состояние китайских инвестиций в крупные гидротехнические проекты за рубежом.
Eugene A. Simonov
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俄罗斯造纸项目考验绿色“一带一路”
  • 尤金•西蒙诺夫 https://chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/ch/10650-China-s-green-Belt-and-Road-tested-at-the-Russian-border
  • Eugene Simonov 31.5.2018
A pulp and paper mill in Siberia is a test case for China’s ecological vision, writes Eugene Simonov
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The Amazar Pulp and Saw Mill (APSM) – the single most controversial forestry project in Siberia (Image: BankTrack)
Facing growing demand for wood and shortages in domestic supply, Chinese authorities are pushing for greater imports from Russia, ignoring the fact that its neighbour will cease to be a reliable supplier within a decade.
On the website of Jiagedaqi, a city in China's northern Heilongjiang province, an advertisement promoting investment in the Amazar Pulp and Saw Mill project, which lies a short distance across the border with Russia, proclaims that, "Russia possesses one quarter of the world's forests with enormous underutilised wood resources."
If only this were true.
Nowadays, mature forests in Russia are scarce and the authorities are running out of logging concessions for new export-oriented enterprises. Some areas bordering China are even experiencing shortages of construction timber for local needs.
There are no accurate figures on Russia’s forest resources due to outdated inventories, but at least one million hectares are cut down annually according to Greenpeace Russia, and much more is lost to burning.
Threats to nature
But it’s not just China’s supply of timber that’s at stake. Rampant deforestation in Russian border provinces also threatens China's efforts to create an "ecological civilisation". Destruction of transboundary ecosystems negatively affects local climate, shared watercourses, migratory wildlife populations and prospects for environmental tourism and a "green economy".
Many on the Russian side of the border are increasingly anxious about the situation. Dozens of petitions calling for wood exports to China to cease have been organised, with mass protests also taking place in 2017 and 2018.
Some of these efforts are paying off. On May 11, at public hearings held in the Zakamensky district of the Buryatia Republic, citizens rallied against allowing Chinese investors to lease 86,000 hectares of primeval larch forest. Instead, they created a Citizen Council for Forest Control to ensure public oversight of the forestry sector and to support the protection of their forests.
Legacy of mismanagement
Strong demand for wood from Asian countries has persisted for the past 25 years. In 2006, China imported 12 million cubic metres of timber just from the Russian Far East. But the devastation of Russia’s forests started in the Soviet period (1922 -1991).
The greatest problem is that Russia still practices "forest mining" in its primary forests, with forests being clear-cut unsustainably and left to regenerate naturally.
One reason for this is that the country lacks capacity to engage in plantation forestry. Management of forests has declined following repeated reorganisation of the State Forest Service, reducing ten-fold the number of foresters on the ground in the past 15 years.
However, this largely domestic mismanagement is being framed as a Chinese threat due to the scale of demand from across the border and the unresponsiveness of Chinese companies on the issue.
Controversy in Siberia
The complex relationship between the Russian and Chinese forestry sectors is reflected in the case of the Amazar Pulp and Saw Mill (APSM) – the single most controversial forestry project in Siberia.
APSM is being built in Zabaikalsky province, 87 kilometres from the Chinese border. It consists of a pulp mill, two wood processing facilities, a reservoir on the Amazar River and an extensive logging concession. It is owned by Heilongjiang Xingbang Investment Company.
Started in 1999, the first joint forestry enterprise in Zabaikalsky province started extraction from primeval forests, with trucks transporting unprocessed logs through a seasonal border crossing on river ice at Pokrovka-Louguhe that was effectively controlled by private interests.
Similar enterprises sprang up all along the Sino-Russian border, boosting the export of logs. This brought little benefit to Russia and sparked public criticism. A disappointed Russian government clamped down on the exports and urged their Chinese counterparts to process the wood inside Russia to retain a greater share of the value.
This resulted in an agreement in 2003 between Zabaikalsky and Heilongjiang provinces to construct the Amazar Pulp and Saw Mill, which was supposed to start operation in 2007.
During the following five years there was little progress as it remained more practical for forestry enterprises to export unprocessed logs of wood. More than two million hectares of forest were leased at that time by Chinese-funded logging companies loosely associated with the APSM.
The crossing was finally shut in 2008 due to violations of Russian law and a corruption scandal, making log exports impossible. Since 2013 the project has received constant attention from civil society and various inspections, and in 2015 was investigated by the Russian Presidential Council on Human Rights.
Reviving the pulp mill
Since 2008 proponents of the APSM project have been pushing authorities to reopen the border crossing. In fact, with the announcement of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), some are now claiming that the crossing is a key part of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor.
There is no doubt that in this unpopulated and remote corner of China and Russia, BRI cannot serve any other economic activities but the APSM’s.
Insufficient wood
The pulp mill is to produce 243,486 tonnes of unbleached pulp and up to 700,000 cubic metres of timber annually. This was halved from an original plan to produce 400,000 tonnes of pulp.
So far the APSM has been granted a lease for 218,234 hectares of primeval forest along the transboundary Argun (Eerguna) River. Half of this forest area was previously reserved for the creation of nature reserves. Even if this biodiversity rich forest is cut, it could only satisfy 15-20% of the project's needs. The Russian government gave this "priority investment project" tax breaks and a guarantee to provide a forest area capable of producing 1.57 million cubic metres of wood per year. However, other forest plots offered to APSM for lease have not been satisfactory because of their low-productivity. Besides the APSM yielded to popular protest and in 2015 refused to lease traditional areas of indigenous Evenke in Tungiro-Olekminsky district, where more than 1 million hectares were included in the original logging plan. APSM claims it needs 2.5 million cubic metres of wood per year, but current forest resources in a 200 kilometre radius will be hardly enough for ten years of its operation.
Testing China’s green commitments
In 2017, China issued the "Guidance on Promoting Green Belt and Road", which requires projects to ensure that overseas projects do not exceed the carrying capacity and resilience of local ecosystems.
The APSM project is quickly becoming a key test case of this green commitment. The project costs 4.7 billion yuan (US$ 730 million), according to a recent advertisement, and needs additional investment. In 2010, APSM secured a loan of 2.4 billion yuan (US$ 370 million) from the China Development Bank and less than one billion yuan (US$ 160 million) raised from other sources. As projected construction costs have doubled, new attempts to raise funds have been made.
Many Chinese businesses are looking to diversify their activities by purchasing assets along Belt and Road routes. One of these is sewing-machine manufacturer Zoje (ZJR), which is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Zoje attempted to raise funds from shareholders for construction of the saw mill, envisioning a 60% stake in HXIC and further investment of more than one billion yuan into construction of APSM. In its long disclosure statement, Zoje did not articulate specific environmental and social risks, or present evidence of sufficient forest resource to sustain production.
In May 2017, International Environmental Paper Network (EPN), a network of organisations working for sustainable paper production, and eight Russian and international non-governmental organisations petitioned the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and China Securities Regulatory Commission to investigate. In early 2018 the application was withdrawn by Zoje after failing to receive regulatory clearance.
“This shows that the Stock Exchange applied a strict due diligence procedure and took the potential impacts of Chinese overseas investments on fragile boreal forest ecosystems into account,” stated EPN International in a press release.
Changing course
Non-governmental organisations are now calling on the project’s backers to learn a lesson from the failure to raise additional funds. Instead of looking for other financiers, they should first proceed with a comprehensive assessment of the risks and long-term viability of the project, and consider alternative options for economic development in the province.
But this looks unlikely. Zabaikalsky and Heilongjiang provincial authorities have reacted by redoubling efforts to find additional investors and reopen the border crossing, which would allow timber exports of round wood to resume, creating revenue to complete the construction of APSM.
However, the Office of the Russian President has promised to conduct a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the whole project. This is a step in the right direction but EIA procedures have also been severely weakened under President Putin, so a future assessment may not on its own guarantee greater sustainability.
The APSM episode is a chance for both China and Russia to reassess the deeply held but misguided belief, typified on government websites such as Jiagedaqi city's, that China can continue exploiting Russia’s forest reserves under the banner of Belt and Road cooperation.
Aspirations to “green” the Belt and Road cannot be met if ten years from now there are no mature productive forests remaining along one of its key northern routes.
俄罗斯造纸项目考验绿色“一带一路”
  • 尤金•西蒙诺夫
31.05.2018
西伯利亚的制浆造纸厂是对中国生态愿景的一次检验,尤金·西蒙诺夫写道。
面对日益增长的木材需求和国内供应短缺,中国正在扩大从俄罗斯的木材及制品进口。但人们可能没有意识到的是,10年内俄罗斯的木材供应就可能告急。
在黑龙江省北部城市加格达奇的网站上,一则宣传投资阿玛扎尔林浆一体化项目的广告称“俄罗斯可更新利用的森林资源占世界的四分之一,有着丰富木材资源。”该项目位于俄罗斯境内,靠近中俄边境。
这种说法要是真的就好了。
目前,俄罗斯境内成熟的森林很是稀少,俄政府发放给新出口企业的采伐许可也已耗尽。一些与中国接壤的地区甚至出现建筑木材短缺,连本地的需求也无法满足。
由于数据过时,俄罗斯的森林资源并没有准确的数字统计,但根据俄罗斯绿色和平组织的数据,每年至少有100万公顷的森林被砍伐,而被森林大火破坏的林地面积则更大。
对自然的威胁
但面临危险的不只是中国的木材供应。俄罗斯边境省份猖獗的森林砍伐也威胁着中国的“生态文明”建设。跨境生态系统遭破坏对当地气候、共享的河道、迁徙的野生动物种群、环境旅游业和“绿色经济”的发展前景都有不利影响。
俄罗斯方面的许多人对这一情况的担忧与日俱增。民众多次请愿,呼吁停止向中国出口木材。2017至2018年还发起了大规模的抗议活动。
一些努力确实起到了成效。5月11日在布里亚特共和国扎卡缅斯克区举行的公开听证会上,公民决定不允许中国投资者租用8.6万公顷的原始落叶松林。相反,他们成立了森林管制公民委员会(Citizen Council for Forest Control)来确保公众对林业部门的监督和对森林的保护。
管理不善的遗留问题
过去25年来,亚洲国家对木材的需求居高不下。2006年,中国仅从俄罗斯远东地区就进口了1200万立方米木材,但俄罗斯森林的破坏早在苏联时期就已经开始。
最大的问题是俄罗斯仍在其原始森林中进行“森林开采”。这种操作以不可持续的方式将森林砍伐殆尽,任其自然再生。
导致这一情况的原因之一在于俄罗斯缺乏发展人工林业的能力。俄国家森林局的一再重组导致森林管理质量持续下降,过去15年间当地林业从业人数减少了10倍。
然而,由于中国对木材的需求规模巨大且中国企业并未对该问题做出应对,这个在很大程度上由俄国内管理不善造成的问题却被演绎成一个来自中国的威胁。
西伯利亚的争议
西伯利亚最具争议的林业项目阿玛扎尔纸浆锯木厂(Amazar Pulp and Saw Mill,以下简称阿玛扎尔厂)反映了中俄两国林业部门之间复杂的关系。
该厂目前正在建设中,位于俄罗斯后贝加尔斯克省,距中国边境87公里,包括一个纸浆厂、两个木材加工设施、一个位于阿玛扎尔河上的水库和一片广阔的特许伐木林。整个项目为黑龙江兴邦国际资源投资股份有限公司全权所有。
自1999年起,后贝加尔斯克省第一个合资林业公司就开始肆意砍伐原始森林,至少每天有60辆卡车载着未经处理的原木越过位于洛古河临时过货通道的季节性边界,该大桥为私人所有。
类似企业如雨后春笋般在中俄边境涌现出来,促进了原木出口贸易的发展。而这不但没给俄罗斯带来多少利益,反而还引发了公众的批评。对此很是失望的俄罗斯政府严加限制出口,并敦促中国投资者在俄罗斯境内加工木材,以求将更大的附加值留在本国。
因此,后贝加尔斯克省和黑龙江省于2003年达成阿玛扎尔厂建设协议,并计划于2007年开始运营。
但对于林业企业而言,出口原木仍是更加实际的赚钱方式,所以之后5年阿玛扎尔厂本身的建设并没有什么进展。当时,200多万公顷的森林被租借给一些伐木公司,这些公司和阿玛扎尔厂多少存在联系。
但由于违反俄罗斯法律并涉嫌腐败丑闻,这条运输路线最终于2008年关闭,原木出口成为不可能。2013年以来,该项目一直受到民间社会的关注,并接受了各种检查。2015年,俄罗斯总统人权理事会也对其进行了调查。​
重启纸浆厂
2008年以来,阿玛扎尔厂项目的支持者一直在推动俄当局重新开放跨境运输线路。事实上,随着中国“一带一路”倡议的宣布,一些人甚至宣称该线路是中蒙俄经济走廊的关键部分。
毫无疑问,对中俄边境这个地处偏远、人烟罕至的角落而言,除了阿玛扎尔厂之外,也很难开展任何其他经济活动。
木材不足
该纸浆厂每年生产243486吨未漂白的纸浆以及多达70万立方米的木材。该厂原先规划年产量是40万吨纸浆,由于森林资源无法支持如此大的生产规模所以缩减了一半。
阿玛扎尔项目获准租用的森林有一半位于鄂温克族的传统用地范围内,其中一些之前已经预留用于建设自然保护区,其中就包括额尔古纳河沿岸218234公顷的原始森林,这里是阿玛扎尔唯一持有合法租约的地方。
即使把这片生物多样性丰富的森林全砍了,也只能满足项目15%到20%的需求。俄罗斯政府保证为这个“优先投资项目”提供能够生产157万立方米木材的森林。但到目前为止,其他出租给该厂的林地由于生产力低下,未能满足阿玛扎尔厂的需求。该厂称每年需要250万立方米的木材,但目前其半径200公里内的森林资源很难满足其10年运营期内的需求。
中国的绿色承诺面临考验
2017年,中国发布《关于推进绿色“一带一路”建设的指导意见》,要求确保海外项目的发展不超过当地生态系统的承载能力和复原力。
阿玛扎尔项目正迅速成为检验这一绿色承诺的试金石。(根据最近的一则广告)该项目的成本为47亿元,且迫切需要追加投资。2010年,项目从中国国家开发银行获得了24亿元贷款,并从其他来源筹得近10亿的资金。由于预计建设成本翻了一番,项目已经打算再次筹资。
许多中国企业都希望通过购买“一带一路”沿线的资产来实现自身经营活动的多样化,在深圳证券交易所上市的缝纫机制造商中捷资源投资股份有限公司就是其中之一。
中捷试图向股东募集资金用于锯木厂的建设,计划在兴邦国际中持有60%的股份,并进一步投资10亿元用于阿玛扎尔厂的建设。从其公开的文件来看,中捷既未阐明具体的环境和社会风险,也没有给出森林资源充足的证据。
2017年5月,致力于可再生纸张生产的机构联盟组织“国际环保纸张网络”(International Environmental Paper Network,简称EPN)以及俄罗斯国内外的8家非政府组织向深圳证券交易所和中国证券监督管理委员会提交申请,要求调查该公司。2018年初,中捷因未能得到监管部门批准撤回了非公开发行股票的申请文件。
“这说明证券交易所采取了严格的尽职调查程序,并考虑到了中国海外投资对脆弱的北方生态系统的潜在影响,”“国际环保纸张网络”在一篇新闻稿中说。
改变策略
非政府组织正在呼吁该项目的支持者从此次筹资失败的案例中吸取教训。他们首先应对项目的风险和长期可行性进行全面评估,考虑在该省发展其他经济,而不是寻找其他的融资来源。
但这看起来似乎不太可能。项目支持者做出的反应是加倍努力寻找其它投资者和重新开放跨境运输路线。这样一来,原木出口将得到恢复,并依靠出口带来的收入完成阿玛扎尔厂项目的建设。
然而,俄罗斯总统办公室承诺对整个项目重新进行环境影响评估(EIA),这是朝着正确方向迈出的一步,但在普金领导下,环境影响评估程序被严重削弱,因此未来的评估本身可能无法确保项目的可持续性得到改善。
阿玛扎尔厂项目是一次机会,让中俄两国能够重新评估一些已经根深蒂固但具有误导性的观点,如类似加格达奇网站上宣传的那样,认为中国可以在“一带一路”合作的旗帜之下继续开发俄罗斯不再丰富的森林资源。
如果今后10年“一带一路”的北部线路不再被有生产力的森林覆盖,那该倡议的“绿色”愿景也就无从谈起。
翻译:金艳
 
Eugene A. Simonov
added 2 research items
Первый выпуск Ежегодника «Вода в Центральной Азии и мире», в котором Вы найдете краткую информацию о ключевых событиях, произошедших в 2017 году в сфере водных ресурсов. http://cawater-info.net/yearbook/index.htm Понимая, что необходимо рассматривать водные вопросы в контексте общего развития стран и с учетом интеграционных процессов, в Ежегоднике принят расширенный подход к подбору материала. Например, детальный авторский обзор Симонова Е.А. посвящен инициативе Китая «Пояс и путь», реализация которой будет непосредственно или опосредованно влиять на использование и управление водными ресурсами в ЦА. Вопросы изменения климата и прогресс в достижении Целей устойчивого развития (ЦУР) также стали предметом отдельных тематических обзоров в виду их особой актуальности (См. раздел «Тематические обзоры»). Полный обзор ранее издан отдельным выпуском. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324167737 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ WATER YEARBOOK IN ENGLISH http://cawater-info.net/yearbook/index_e.htm ---------------------------------------------------AND -------------------------------- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331298360_Central_Asia_Water_Yearbook_2017
“Global Energy Interconnection”(GEI -www.geidco.org/) - a technocratic vision for a supergrid enabling deployment of large "clean energy bases" in remote corners of the world. Its showcase projects include the 50GW Siberian hydropower project in Lena and Amur rivers basins, 100 GW "wind power circle" in the heart of the Arctic, African dams harnessing the flow of Nile, Congo and Zambezi rivers, solar farms paving “5% of Sahara Desert” and interconnection between all elements with high-voltage supergrids crossing continents and oceans. By 2050 it promises 720 GW transboundary power flow with total estimated investment of 38 trillion USD during 2018-2050. We hope that GEI becomes of a focus of social-science research for it showcases many very interesting phenomena: -Relation between divergent technological shifts and diverse societal values related to key aspects of development -Successful cooptation of diverse allies into new global strategy by emerging political power (more specific and clear than the BRI as whole , the GEI provides very attractive and almost transparent research case) -Attempt to redefine "green" values in a way most suitable for large corporations and centralized economies preaching state capitalism -Attractive practical model of "green authoritarianism" with all its ups and downs, including inherent lack of critical thinking and independent oversight -Reemergence of world-wide technocratic dreams, which have been crashed by reality several times before -Grand-planning as a way for many actors to hide from necessity to act and make decisions in the atmosphere of high uncertainty (GEI practical solutions are delayed far beyond 2030 horizon at within which all other actors tend to operate) If it continues to develop without public oversight and SEA the GEI presents huge potential obstacle to search for truly sustainable energy system alternatives
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
The AIIB claims that the draft strategy outlines AIIB's vision to develop sustainable and integrated transport systems that promote trade and economic growth in Asia. Although deprived of any comprehensive section on environmental and social aspects, the Transport Sector Study correctly calls for "Clearly defining a set of priorities for the transport infrastructure sector, and adopting a framework to allow effective project selection. The set of priorities should include modal and cross border connectivity, and environment sustainability… Some assessment of projects' strategic value, how well they are integrated with national plans, how important they are in the overall network should be built into the project selection criteria." The drat Strategy however completely avoids and downplays all those key aspects highlighted above, and thus disregards results of its own "Study" let alone all preceding global experience with assessing and improving sustainability of transport infrastructure.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Рекомендации специальной экспертной секции по экологии. (приложение к презентации Е.Шварца и Е.Симонова на конференции) В 2015 г. Китай утвердил Комплексный план реформ по содействию экологическому прогрессу. За минувшее десятилетие Китай показывал одни из самых высоких темпов роста в мире, в то же время увеличивая нагрузку на окружающую среду. Несмотря на большую площадь экологически чистых районов и зеленых территорий, многие экологические проблемы сохраняют актуальное значение и для России. При этом проблемы экологической безопасности носят трансграничный характер: российские проблемы могут нанести урон экологии Китая, а китайские – нарушить экологический баланс России. При всей важности экологических проблем их обсуждение находится на периферии политического диалога двух стран. Двустороннее сотрудничество должно строго соответствовать не только интересам России и Китая, но и Целям устойчивого развития, принятых на Саммите ООН по устойчивому развитию в 2015 г.
Evgeny A Shvarts
added an update
Presentation "International Environmental Law and China’s BRI development: Environmental Challenges, Risks and Opportunities"
IGU Thematic Conference “Practical Geography and XXI Century Challenges”
Moscow, 4-6 June 2018
 
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Large volume of infrastructure and industrial projects planned along Belt&Road economic corridors is associated with significant environmental and social risk. Using example of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor this paper explores how the new Green B&R policies issued by China can be used to promote environmental security and green development in specific economic corridors. The greatest shortcoming of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor Development Programme is the fact that "environmental protection activities" are fully segregated from all the rest of cooperation activities which are deprived of any objectives in green economy development and ensuring environmental security of the Programme as whole and its specific development projects. Большой объем планируемых в экономических коридорах Инициативы "Пояс и Путь" (ПиП ) инфраструктурных и промышленных проектов несет с собой крупные экологические и социальные риски. На примере КМРЭК в сообщении рассматривается как выпущенные КНР "директивы зеленого ПиП" могут быть использованы для обоснования мер по обеспечению экологической безопасности и зеленому развитию при создании конкретных экономических коридоров. Важнейшим недостатком Программы КМРЭК является выделение направления "экология" исключительно в отдельную линию сотрудничества, при отсутствии интеграции задач зеленого развития и обеспечения экологической безопасности в сам механизм планирования и реализации Программы КМРЭК и её проектов. Предыдущий доклад связанный тематически: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321570197_EKOLOGICESKAA_POLITIKA_POASA_I_PUTI_KNR_CHINA%27S_BELT_AND_ROAD_ENVIRONMENTAL_POLICIES Общая презентация для двух докладов https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321574259_CHINA%27S_BELT_AND_ROAD_ENVIRONMENTAL_POLICIES_EKOLOGICESKAA_POLITIKA_POASA_I_PUTI?_iepl%5BviewId%5D=yGs88BdOVjJ5KJAtVHzWST20&_iepl%5BprofilePublicationItemVariant%5D=default&_iepl%5Bcontexts%5D%5B0%5D=prfpi&_iepl%5BtargetEntityId%5D=PB%3A321574259&_iepl%5BinteractionType%5D=publicationTitle
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Presentation describes the RwB Coalition experience with financial advocacy at different stock exchange institutions. It was compiled to argue that despite highly specialized nature of stock exchange operations there are clear advantages for grassroots groups to pursue their advocacy objectives there.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Состояние водных бассейнов и отношений во многом зависят от далеких от вод- ного хозяйства экономических и политических процессов и трендов. Для стран континента Евразия таким рамочным процессом все больше влияющим на все аспекты развития и использования ресурсов является заявленная Китаем ини- циатива «Пояс и путь» (ПиП). При этом рассматривать ПиП следует в том числе как продолжение китайской внутренней политики и видеть в ней не только по- пытку экспансии но и способ решения внутренних проблем. Данный обзор составлен как краткий список основных трендов и событий 2017 года и везде где возможно снабжен ссылками на более подробные источни- ки. Издатель: Научно-информационный центр Межгосударственной координационной водохозяйственной комиссии Центральной Азии (НИЦ МКВК) http://www.cawater-info.net/library/rus/inf/50.pdf Developments in Water Management and Related Environmental Policies in China and in "Belt and Road " Countries are interrelated and therefore I analyzed them together exploring possible linkages. The rview was published in Tashkent, Uzbekistan as the Information Bulletin of the Scientific-Information Center of the Interstate Coordination Water Commission of the Central Asia (SIC ICWC) (editors: Prof.Viktor Dukhovny, Dr. Dinara Ziganshina and Dr. Iskander Beglov) Original publication link: http://www.cawater-info.net/library/rus/inf/50.pdf
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
Вводная презентация на специальной экспертной секции «Экологические вызовы и риски российско-китайского сотрудничества» на российско-китайской конференции РСМД (RUCN2016) по экологии Рекомендации специальной экспертной секции RUCN2016 по экологии: http://russiancouncil.ru/common/upload/%D0%A0%D0%B5%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B4%D0%B0%D1%86%D0%B8%D0%B8%20%D1%81%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%86%D0%B8%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B9%20%D1%8D%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%80%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B9%20%D1%81%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%86%D0%B8%D0%B8%20RUCN2016%20%D0%BF%D0%BE%20%D1%8D%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%B8%D0%B8.pdf
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
This presentation illustrates the report The Amur-Heilong River Hydropower-TransSibirskaya Hydro Case-study https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314952860 It contains case-studies on NGO financial advocacy work in Amur and Selenge river basins.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
На восьмой Конференции министров Европейской экономической комиссии ООН (ЕЭК ООН) «Окружающая среда для Европы», которая состоялась 9–10 июня 2016 г. в Батуми (Грузия), страны-участницы одобрили «дорожную карту», нацеленную на «озеленение» экономики нашего региона. Этот план предусматривает ряд мер, среди которых укрепление экономического прогресса и снижение экологических рисков. В каких формах будет осуществляться переход к «зеленой» экономике? Как скоро это произойдет? Ответы на эти вопросы зависят в том числе и от подходов к реализации выдвинутой Китаем стратегии нового Шелкового пути, которая на сегодняшний день играет роль важнейшего драйвера развития в панъевропейском регионе.
Eugene A. Simonov
added a project reference
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
China has been successfully promoting as a part of "Belt and Road" the "Global Energy Interconnection" (GEI) - a transboundary grid technology enabling deployment of large "clean energy" sources. Hundreds of companies, NGOs, agencies joined the GEI, legitimizing it and triggering Northeast Asia Supergrid projects and other pilots. Several CSOs in Russia, Mongolia, China and elsewhere questioned environmental sustainability of GEI as a global solution antithetical to distributed generation owned locally. At the same time CSOs promote specific large-scale transboundary grids as alternatives to some coal and hydropower projects. This dualism influenced CSO position vs AIIB Energy Strategy, that prioritizes "connectivity". This report in Russian explores reasons and major possible consequences of the GEI and roles Russia and other players may have in it in foreseeable future. Доклад описывает обстоятельства возникновения, причины популярности и перспективы развития китайской программы Глобального энергетического соединения (GEI) и роль России и иных акторов в его продвижении.
Eugene A. Simonov
added 6 research items
This Report reflects policies and issues in development of greenfield hydropower projects as seen by the RwB Coalition in early 2017. В файле также имеется краткое изложение на русском языке.
PRESENTATION ON LIKELY SHIFT IN CHINA'S TRANSBOUNDARY RIVER MANAGEMENT POLICIES DUE TO BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE: Previously China reserved water on its own territory and was not risking to share with neighbors comprehensive joint river basin-protection and management plans and mechanisms. Now as China invests in development of adjacent countries its interests and policies likely to change to ensure that sufficient water resources are available for those development efforts. Such change is already obvious in the Mekong River Basin, where in 2016 China launched Langcang-Mekong Initiative and widely publicized an effort to share water to alleviate drought in downstream countries. The question is how to convince China to use various international environmental tools in transboundary basins.
Русское саммари доклада North Eurasia Hydropower Outlook: Annual repellent for investors and climate funds https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322486545
Eugene A. Simonov
added 2 research items
Мохэ -название древнего племени, некогда жившего на берегах Амура. Племя исчезло, а имя досталось самому северному уезду Китая, имеющему 2255 километров общих границ с Россией. Уезд занимает в аккурат весь бассейн реки Албазихи (Эмуэрхэ)- первого купного притока Амура с китайкой стороны, то есть выкроен по образцовым лекалам биорегионалистов. Мохэ с прилегающей Россией объединяют общие экосистемы и общие проблемы. Волею судеб Мохэ оказался в авангарде развития человеческой цивилизации. Уезд недавно пережил рукотворную экологическую катастрофу и ныне пытается строить новое будущее, которое партия назвала "экологической цивилизацией". Мохэ также лежит на северном краю нового "Шелкового пути", что вновь накрепко соединит Китай с Россией и другими евразийскими соседями.. То что происходит в Мохэ - крайне интересный опыт, который полезно знать соседям. Кроме того развитие экологической цивилизации Мохэ, требующей ресурсов для роста, может отрикошетить по соседям проблемами подобными той, что привела сам уезд Мохэ на грань катастрофы. В августе 2015 мы поехали всей семьей познакомиться с загадочным Мохэ и написали эти заметки. "Ecological Civilization Policy" is one of main pillars of development in modern China. In August 2015 we went to remote forest region on the border with Russia to witness how this transition happens in practice. Findings were condensed into a Russian-language travelogue with 100 illustrations. Published by "Ecodelo" in 2015.
Стратегия утверждена россией и Китаем в июне 2011 года. Статья здесь https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320977448 См. Доклад о работе по выполнению российско-китайской Стратегии создания трансграничной сети особо охраняемых природных территорий бассейна реки Амур в 2010-2016 гг_____________________ See Report on Implementation of the Sino-Russian Strategy for Transboundary System of Protected Areas in Amur River Basin in 2011-2016_________________________ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322256446
Eugene A. Simonov
added an update
Today I posted a file of a discussion paper on Green Silk Road
This Discussion Paper on Environmental Responsibility Mechanisms for New Integration in Eurasia. was originally compiled to facilitate discussions at a CSO Moscow, in November 2016. . This assisted planning undertaken by the Green Silk Road Initiative, that includes 30 NGOs from 11 countries. As interaction between Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the world developed further the document was updated twice in 2017 and supplemented by a range of annexes.
The 2017 Guidance to Promote Green Belt and Road, published by the China Government in Spring 2017, contained almost every tool listed by CSOs in the Green Silk Road Initiative Declaration, but for transboundary river basin management. Over the next several years, these policy documents may pave the way for China and its neighbors to cooperate on environmental sustainability and nature conservation in Eurasia. Therefore it is critical that now international CSO community explores ways to use in practice and strengthen these new Green BRI policies.
Eugene Simonov
 
Eugene A. Simonov
added 4 research items
In 2016 and 2017 the AIIB subjected its Draft Energy Strategy to two rounds of public comments. After the end of the initial consultations in November 2016 the RwB Coalition was asked by the AIIB ED for Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan Timur Maksimov to summarize the RwB's comments on opportunities and risks of AIIB involvement in hydropower sector. We have heard back from Mr. Maksimov that this material was useful for discussion with other AIIB EDs and management. In the new Draft ESS available in early 2017 the wording on AIIB commitment to hydropower softened , likely in reflection to extensive reasoning provided by CSOs, but still there was little clarity and weak commitment to avoid well known environmental harm associated with this type of generation. To continue this important line of discussion the RwB and CEEB together updated detailed comments on hydropower and included it as an Appendix to our general comments on the Second Draft of the AIIB Energy Sector Strategy (submitted together with Biodiversity Conservation Center. Moscow). The document consists of hydropower-related comments to the text of 2nd Draft ESS, notes on Appendix II (performance indicators) and overall conclusions. Related AIIB documents available at https://www.aiib.org/en/policies-strategies/strategies/sustainable-energy-asia/index.html.
Belt and Road academic conference and Symposium on protected areas in Chita, November 2017. Contains three papers by Eugene Simonov. Conference Proceedings on the INREC SiBRAS web-site http://inrec.sbras.ru/files/meropriatia/1515876264.pdf
Summary of the Report https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322385652_GREENING_THE_NEW_SILK_ROAD-MISSION_POSSIBLE
Eugene A. Simonov
added 2 research items
Программа сотрудничества пограничных регионов до 2018 года четко отражает наиболее вероятный сценарий сотрудничества — business as usual (как обычно), который реализуется почти стихийно, независимо от принимаемых стратегий, программ и доктрин. В данном обзоре мы кратко рассмотрим содержание Программы, полноту описания технологических цепочек и направлений сотрудничества, соответствие потенциалу, проблемам и нуждам Востока России и СВК, обеспеченность мерами социально-экологической безопасности. Abstract The Programme of Cooperation between the Regions of the Far East and East Siberia of Russia and Northeast China for the Period 2009—2018 simply reinforces the status quo of border relations between Russia and China. In fact, the 2018 Cooperation Programme clearly describes the most probable scenario of cooperation — business as usual, which works on its own regardless of any strategies, programmes, or doctrines. In this chapter, we will take a brief look at the content of the 2018 Cooperation Programme; the completeness of the description of technology chains and areas of cooperation; Programme’s correspondence to the development potential, problems, and needs of the Russian Far East and Northeast China; and the planned environmental and social security measures (or the lack thereof). https://istina.msu.ru/media/publications/book/88d/363/3669442/russia-china_for_web.pdf English text here http://www.wwf.ru/resources/publ/book/eng/440
Eugene A. Simonov
added 2 research items
В 2017 году в специальном совместном докладе были впервые подведены промежуточные итоги работы по “Российско-китайской Стратегии создания трансграничной сети особо охраняемых природных территорий бассейна реки Амур” за 2010-2016 год. В апреле-мае 2017 года ведомства КНР опубликовали документы по реализации политики "Зеленого Пояса и Пути", включающие создание экологических коридоров для сохранения биоразнообразия. Базируясь на материалах совместного доклада данное сообщение излагает основные итоги и перспективы развития сотрудничества. Сообщение подготовлено для представления материалов Доклада участникам симпозиума по ООПТ в Чите. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322383786_Cbornik_materialov_konferencii_Selkovyj_put_Transsib_Marsruty_soprazenia_ekonomika_ekologia_11_2017_BRI_Conference_PA_Symposium_in_Chita Копия доклада размещена здесь https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322256446_Doklad_o_rabote_po_vypolneniu_rossijsko-kitajskoj_Strategii_sozdania_transgranicnoj_seti_osobo_ohranaemyh_prirodnyh_territorij_bassejna_reki_Amur_v_2010-2016_gg_PODKOMISSII_PO_SOTRUDNICESTVU_V_OBLASTI
Eugene A. Simonov
added 3 research items
Отчет посвящен анализу рисков крупнейшего китайского инвестиционного проекта в лесной отрасли России - ЦПК Полярная. В апреле 2013 года в пгт. Амазар проводятся "слушания" по проекту целлюлозного завода. При этом из рассмотрения ОВОС исключены остальные производства, гидроузел, схема лесозаготовок и развития транспортной инфраструктуры. Участники признают слушания несостоявшимися из-за очевидно неполной и недостоверной информации представляемой проектировщиком. Глава местного самоуправления фальсифицирует результаты слушаний, что обеспечивает успешное прохождение проектом дальнейших экспертиз и начало строительства завода в 2014 году. В отчете показано как игнорирование мнения населения и профанация экологической экспертизы привели крупный проект в тупик. Аннотация на китайском и английском: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322231730_amazhaerlinjiangyitihuaxiangmu_beijixinglinyejingmaohezuoqu_Amazar_Pulp_and_Saw_Mill_Polar_Star_Forestry_Trade_Zone Описание развития программы Экологической цивилизации в соседнем уезде КНР здесь https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322466368
A proposal to divert Siberian lake water to China's arid northwest meets with opposition. Lake Baikal in Russia holds 20% of the earth's freshwater supplies and harbours at least 2,500 species, most of them found nowhere else. Every spring a new mega-pipeline is proposed to quench the thirst of arid corners of Asia. This year, Chinese urban planners proposed building a 2,000 kilometre pipeline to pump water from Siberia to relieve shortages in the parched northwestern city of Lanzhou. The Lanzhou Urban and Rural Planning and Design Institute released plans for the project in February as part of its "Vision for Urban Planning 2030". The scheme would divert water from Lake Baikal, the world's deepest freshwater lake, and pump it at least one kilometre uphill to the capital of Gansu province, reported the Global Times. The plan has been met with criticism and was later removed from the website of the Lanzhou institute. Experts have questioned the scheme's environmental impacts, economic rationale and political feasibility. This is only the latest in a series of proposals to export surplus water from Russia and Mongolia to China.
Eugene A. Simonov
added 2 research items
Many policies and patterns in transboundary cooperation between China and its neighbours are now influenced by the new Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proposed by China, that promotes trade, international investment in infrastructure and sharing of China’s industrial capacity with more than 60 countries and is viewed by some as a blueprint for continental economic integration . The BRI is expected to have profound influence on natural resource management and environmental protection in Eurasia . In particular, it is expected that major changes may happen in the management of transboundary rivers basins. While previously China was interested in ensuring water security within its national borders, nowadays it has to pay attention to water-related problems in whole transboundary basins to ensure that water is at least available for planned investment schemes. On the other hand, the environmental health of shared river basins should also receive much greater priority due to more environmentally responsible domestic development polices in China, illuminated by “Ecological Civilization” Policy, that prescribes a comprehensive set of reforms driving the whole of China’s governance system towards sustainable resource use and nature conservation (Presentation on this subject here https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322487076) . So far, the new heights of political trust and cooperation between China and Mongolia or China and Russia have not yet significantly changed water management problems and tendencies that have been formed during the previous several decades. Therefore, in this chapter, we seek to establish a “baseline” account of transboundary water management in the Amur River Basin in the wake of major changes dictated by wider transboundary and domestic policies...... ISBN: 9781138060654 (hardback)\ ISBN 9781315162973 (e-book) http://208.254.74.112/books/details/9781138060654/
Eugene A. Simonov
added a research item
What are specific consequences of china's BRI for countries of former USSR? How BRI is changing over time? What NGOs do to deal with new challenges? How NGOs and China Government put forward similar Green BRI Initiative?
Eugene A. Simonov
added 2 research items
The China Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce in April 2017 issued a policy ”Guidance on Promoting Green Belt and Road”(关于推进绿色“一带一路”的指导意见) . The Guidance objectives are to mainstream Ecological Civilization (which is the key domestic policy in China) in the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative (BRI), promote green development, strengthen eco-environment protection, and jointly build a Green Silk Road. Given rapid progress in environmental policy on China side, the unpreparedness and unawareness of the counterparts in development process from other Silk Road countries becomes a very serious impediment to ”green cooperation”. Development of Russian position on ”greening” cooperation with China is the most important and hardly progressing to date part of ”mutual adjustment of Silk Road Economic Belt and Eurasian Economic Union”. Large volume of infrastructure and industrial projects planned along Belt&Road economic corridors is associated with significant environmental and social risk. Using example of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor this paper explores how the new Green B&R policies issued by China can be used to promote environmental security and green development in specific economic corridors. The greatest shortcoming of the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor Development Programme is the fact that ”environmental protection activities” are fully segregated from all the rest of cooperation activities which are deprived of any objectives in green economy development and ensuring environmental security of the Programme as whole and its specific development projects. ADDITIONAL PRESENTATION ATTACHED IN ENGLISH IS MORE ABOUT NGO VISION OF BRI **** В 2017 году ведомства КНР опубликовали «Руководство по продвижению зеленого Пояса и пути», суммирующее экологическую политику в рамках сотрудничества со странами Евразии. В качестве отправной точки зеленого развития рассматривается внутри-китайская политика ”Экологической цивилизации”, которая после 19 съезда партии окончательно стала одним из ключевых ориентиров развития КНР. Существенным тормозом на пути ”зелененого сотрудничества” становится неподготовленность и отсутствие информации у контрагентов КНР в странах Шелкового пути. Выработка собственной российской повестки в области экологизации экономического сотрудничества с КНР - важнейшая и пока неразвитая часть работы по сопряжению ”Экономического Пояса Шелкового Пути” с ЕврАзЭС. Большой объем планируемых в экономических коридорах Инициативы ”Пояс и Путь” (ПиП ) инфраструктурных и промышленных проектов несет с собой крупные экологические и социальные риски. На примере КМРЭК в сообщении рассматривается как выпущенные КНР ”директивы зеленого ПиП” могут быть использованы для обоснования мер по обеспечению экологической безопасности и зеленому развитию при создании конкретных экономических коридоров. Важнейшим недостатком Программы КМРЭК является выделение направления ”экология” исключительно в отдельную линию сотрудничества, при отсутствии интеграции задач зеленого развития и обеспечения экологической безопасности в сам механизм планирования и реализации Программы КМРЭК и её проектов. ПРЕЗЕНТАЦИЯ ПО РУССКИ СОВМЕЩАЕТ ДВА СООБЩЕНИЯ СДЕЛАННЫХ НА КОНФЕРЕНЦИИ В ЧИТЕ (ТЕКСТЫ ПРЕДСТАВЛЕНЫ ОТДЕЛЬНО В ТОМ ЖЕ ПРОЕКТЕ)
CHINA'S "BELT AND ROAD" ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES The China Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce in April 2017 issued a policy "Guidance on Promoting Green Belt and Road"(关于推进绿色“一带一路”的指导意见) . The Guidance objectives are to mainstream Ecological Civilization (which is the key domestic policy in China) in the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative (BRI), promote green development, strengthen eco-environment protection, and jointly build a Green Silk Road. Given rapid progress in environmental policy on China side, the unpreparedness and unawareness of the counterparts in development process from other Silk Road countries becomes a very serious impediment to "green cooperation". Development of Russian position on "greening" cooperation with China is the most important and hardly progressing to date part of "mutual adjustment of Silk Road Economic Belt and Eurasian Economic Union". В 2017 году ведомства КНР опубликовали «Руководство по продвижению зеленого Пояса и пути», суммирующее экологическую политику в рамках сотрудничества со странами Евразии. В качестве отправной точки зеленого развития рассматривается внутри-китайская политика "Экологической цивилизации", которая после 19 съезда партии окончательно стала одним из ключевых ориентиров развития КНР. Существенным тормозом на пути "зелененого сотрудничества" становится неподготовленность и отсутствие информации у контрагентов КНР в странах Шелкового пути. Выработка собственной российской повестки в области экологизации экономического сотрудничества с КНР - важнейшая и пока неразвитая часть работы по сопряжению "Экономического Пояса Шелкового Пути" с ЕврАзЭС. Сборник конференции здесь: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322383786_Cbornik_materialov_konferencii_Selkovyj_put_Transsib_Marsruty_soprazenia_ekonomika_ekologia_11_2017_BRI_Conference_PA_Symposium_in_Chita