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Friday, December 1, 2017

Sustainable Development Goals: BRICS and Russia

The goals of sustainable development for the period 2016-2030 were formulated by the UN in 2015 and are intended for all countries. A key step towards the realization of these goals is their adaptation to the socio-economic particularities of individual countries. The achievement of SDGs depends on the level of human development, society structure, financial opportunities, certain strategic development documents and natural resources of countries.

BRICS countries differ from other emerging countries and from each other as well, in particular their social, economic, educational, financial aspects are different. BRICS countries should inform each other on implementation plans for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN and support other countries with expertise technologies and finances. During next decades BRICS countries will become more powerful in political and economic aspects; they will enhance the level of human development and try to solve the problem of inequality.

Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) has already been endorsed by the UN as a potential “accelerator and an effective vehicle” to achieve SDGs. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation will boost development in several ways:

· BRI will function as a vehicle for promoting regional cooperation with possible future consolidation of existing bilateral efforts

· BRI will require an optimal strategy for coordination among countries to become efficient

· The Silk Road goes far beyond transportation, and it is probably the biggest continental infrastructural initiative since the Russian Trans-Siberian railroad.

· The Silk Road positive economic impact will gradually expand due to the involvement of wider areas of member states and economic sectors into it.

Official Adaptation of SDG for Russia is still to be developed. But Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation has already made a big report: “UN Sustainable Development Goals and Russia” (2016) where we can see SDGs compared with Russian specifics. Some of SDGs are relevant for Russian social and economic development, others are already achieved (several — at soviet period):

· SDG #3 “Good Health and Well-being” is relevant for Russia. During the last forty years, Russia has fallen in the rating of life expectancy from 82nd place to 137th in the world. It should be noted that increasing life expectancy and quality of life much depends on proper diagnosis and effective disease treatment.

· The significance of quality education (SDG #4) should also be noted. The indicators of education (for example, secondary education is completed by 96% of Russians) are much better than the same rates in the BRICS countries and in the OECD countries.

· As for SDG #9, a very important sector of Russian economy is transport, producing 5.4% of gross domestic product; it is higher than the same meanings of other countries (for instance, BRICS, and even Germany and USA). In addition, Russia has the third longest extent of rail-track in the world (the USA have the 1st and China – the 2nd).

One of important problems in Russian economy is the lack of private investments especially in R&D. Almost 70% of investments in R&D in Russia are state investments.

We should also consider regional inequality while speaking about sustainable development. Looking through the human development index distribution across Russian regions we can see that the Gross regional product per capita differs almost 20 times among Russian regions while education and health development levels are more even.

So there is a lot of work on Sustainable Development in Russia, BRICS and other emerging countries as well. At the same time, we already can see considerable progress in this direction.

Source: BRICS National Resrarch Committee