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RESOLVING ECOLOGICAL PROBLEMS IN THE CONTEXT OF MANAGING SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE BAIKAL REGION TERRITORY

Author:  Shodorova N.
Source:  Water quality and traditions in Lake areas: The 6-th Living Lakes Conference Ulan-Ude, Lake Baikal, Russia July 3-th – August 3-rd, 2001. – Ulan-Ude, 2001. – P. 23-25.

A distinct tendency to delegate the functions of managing the territorial socio-economic development to the institutions of local government has been observed lately. One of the major objectives of these institutions nowadays is to identify medium- and long-term strategies of the dependent territories development. Setting priorities for economic growth, financial invigoration, investments attraction, is naturally influential in the social situation in the regions and their ecological set-up.
The objective basis of the existent contradictions between the striving to increase the level of economical welfare and the requirements for the preservations of the natural ecosystems of the Baikal region territory is the inadequacy of management decisions. Announced ecological priorities and the outdated inefficient methods of economic management become the cause for the conflict of economic and social interests at the local level and intensify the public's negative attitude to the unreasoned socio-economic policies and their basic principles.
In this regard, several problems related to the territorial management and directly connected with the existing and future ecological state of Lake Baikal and the adjacent territories may be identified.
First, it is the absence of the unified system of social and economic policies and the policies in the field of environment protection. These policies to a certain extent influence the character and scale of economic activities, which, in its turn, result in the strategic decisions about the development of the concrete economic organizations.
Second, it is the absence of the methodological basis for administrative decision-making, which will allow to achieve the stability in accordance with ecological, social and economic interests of the territorial development.
Third, it is the minimum of authority in regulating ecological situation at the local level and, as a result, the want of information on the ecological state of the territories and the scale of the specific economic organizations environmental impact.
Elaborating administrative decision-making mechanisms, which provides the equality of social, economic, and ecological development priorities at the municipal level, is the only way to ensure sustainable development of the territories, and to create the basis for resolving social problems. This will require enhancing these processes on various levels.
The optimal mechanisms of economic decision making under the conditions of ecological regulation in the Baikal region have to be based on the marriage of different scientific theories, and Russian and foreign experience. At the same time, the interests of sustainable development of the territories and business development and ecological regulations of economic activities should go together, and this can be done through the elaboration of flexible and efficient schemes of economic management.
Adequate regulations of everyday questions, which concern environmentally sensitive economic activities in the territories, social security of the population, and rational use of natural resources, are impossible without the general vision of the territorial development, without defining strategic goals and objectives of development. A constant combination of short-term and long-term interests is also necessary, and it requires well-thought planning.
Current problems can only be solved by providing the institutions of local government with objective assessment of the social, economic, arid ecological situation in the region, and by ensuring close interconnection of the socio-economic strategies of development of focal territories and the whole region.
Present-day need to strengthen the process of consolidating efforts of non-profit organizations in solving ecological problems of Lake
Baikal is outlined by the positive experience, accumulated by these organizations in the Baikal region, especially in the questions of environmental protection and elaborating mechanisms for involving public into decision-making processes; the unique informational data bank, which is being constantly updated by the scientific institutions, international social and scientific institutions; the researches of local specialists, public and other sources.
Moreover, the ecological constituent should be in close connection with the economic and social constituents of the territorial development, as it is impossible for them to develop in isolation from each other.
Joining our efforts, we will be able not only to attract attention of the public and business circles to ecological problems, but also to offer the real mechanisms for organizing the environmentally sensitive economic and social development of our region. Our own experience of elaborating the programs of socio-economic development of the Buryat Republic's municipal districts shows that such collaboration is not only desirable, but vitally important. We hope that this conference will be beneficial in this respect.

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