Nevertheless, contrasts are striking since near 15% of the total country territory is polluted due to the petrochemical and chemical activity and near 40 million of Russian habitants from 86 cities are frequently exposed to inadmissible air pollution levels. On the other hand, the exploitation of forest and fish resources has been reduced even though there is no national plan for balancing economic benefit and environment protection. So, in general terms, reaching sustainable development depends on achieving a good equilibrium between economic progress, citizen wellness and environment programming.
The Russian federation has been impacted with this issue since the 90s. However,
sustainable living achievement and environmental protection is regulated by long-terms Action Plans which are concreted in numerous Federal ecological programmes (nowadays there are about thirty). Additionally, regional and sectorial authorities implement similar forms of environmental and sustainable development programming through regional/sectorial concepts and strategies, action-plans, etc.
Taking into account this complex scenario, the SUST-RUS project aims at obtaining a new model for the Russineconomy model by linking economic, environmental and social issues, enabling a sustainability point of view of strategic planning. Thus, policy makers can easily assess the sustainability of past, actual and future politic and economic reforms, managing which measures are urgent and which will affect the long-term sustainability goals. The project, funded under the scope of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7_ENV), was coordinated by the Centre for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR). It lasted from January 2009 to December 2011.
In order to develop the model, existing European and international models were previously studied. Then, an analytical formulation was carried out, and an economic model was built taking year 2006 as reference. To construct this 2006 model, different detailed dataset with economic, social and environmental data were used: several national input-output tables, the System of National Accounts for 2006, the Interregional trade database, Social taxes in the structure of the value added in 2006 and other databases and statistics. The constructed database consists of 7 federal districts of Russia, each represented by 32 industries, 3 household types, regional and federal government. However, to obtain a meaningful database involving information that was not always complete, some input-output estimation techniques as well as the entropy minimization technique and the RAS method had to be used. The model was additionally implemented in the modelling language (General Algebraic Modeling System – GAMS).
The validation of the model was carried out by calculating both short and long term scenarios. A simulation of the effects of a cap on carbon emissions on Russian economy was applied for detecting improvement points. When the model was achieved, validation was carried out by applying the model for assessing the effect of a Russian World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession on specific sectors. Main conclusion for these scenarios was a potential growth of economy (from 0.4 to 1% per year) due to the WTO accession. Additionally, the model has been used to study the effects of gas price liberalization.
The model is already operational and was successfully validated, so it reaches a 7 in the TRL scale. Furthermore, new applications concerning scenarios of sustainability for several political reforms in at Russian, regional or European scale could be attained.