2006-09-14 12:27:00

Towards sustainable development through social and economic modernization

It is time for Ukrainian Prime Minister to take care about the construction of the connected worldview position. An approach that eliminates sharp political divisions, demonstrating their superficial and momentary nature is worked out in the world. This is the strategy of sustainable development.

The starting point is a change of economic orientation. We need to move from the oldenergy-intensive and environmentally hazardous industries (especially steel and chemistry) to the innovative postindustrial production.

Selection of development priorities should be made on the basis of independent expert assessment of investment attractiveness of these projects. We have to create the rules under which to make objective decisions would be easier and more profitable than nonobjective.

Enterprises which set new production lines and prepare and teach staff at their own expense, etc. should be encouraged. Businesses that are not ready to upgrade their work, must be put in more stringent conditions. Tax and credit systems should force manufacturers to change the style of management.

The overall strategy is to develop production which gives a high added value with a relatively low energy consumption.

During the Soviet era in Ukraine 60% of the scientific and industrial potential of the Soviet Union was concentrated in the field of secondary and general engineering, but most of the production chains were consciously cut short. Thus a voluntary-compulsory cooperation with other republics was being created. Now Ukraine needs a new way to enter in the international division of labor. Economic cooperation can do much more to bring Ukraine closer for example with Russia than any statements of politicians. Suppose, Russia starts program now to restore the large-scale fleet. Nikolaev Shipbuilding Plant shall be considered as a potential contractor. This is a very large order: tankers and aircraft carriers, large cargo ships and vessels for the transportation of liquefied gas… Russia also needs large tractors, Kharkiv Tractor Plant with its products can be very useful in this case.

Shortly before the election, Cabinet of Ministers presented the Energy Strategy of Ukraine till 2030. Critics reasonably accuse this document in pro nuclear orientation. Because it is implicitly based on the idea that the development of «peaceful atom» (the construction of 22 new units and a closed fuel cycle) will make Ukraine one of the leading exporters of cheap electricity and energy independent. In this case, the least emphasis was placed on the areas of energy, which the European community considers necessary to promote.

The concept of the energy strategy should be changed. First, in terms of geographic location, Ukraine could play a much more important role as a transit hub — pumping power and energy. In terms of environmental impact, this income would certainly be easier for the country than development of nuclear energy.

Secondly, scientific, industrial and natural potential that we have, allows us to lay claim to a significant role in the creation of the European renewable infrastructure.

In addition, there are studies on development of hydrogen energy and fuel cells in our country, and it is, by the way, part of the EU strategy. Hydrogen energy and fuel cell technologies should help build a future framework of the European energy sector, as well as contribute to improvement of the overall environmental situation, as hydrogen is a clean energy carrier.

The introduction of new technologies should touch upon conventional energy, we need to use off-balancesheet sources, particularly in the coal industry. Experts estimate that Ukraine has 1.3 billion tons of sludge accumulated, those are fine coal dust which forms waste heaps. Each year, the coal industry issues other 60 million tons. There is already a technology that allows to recycle sludge in order to produce fuel. Just using this Ukraine could cover all the governmental needs in such fuel.

At the same time, we need a law on environmental passports. All enterprises must be certified and approved. We must also determine the volume of current emissions — for water, solid waste, etc. — and set limits for each of them. Environmentally friendly business should be more profitable than those ecologically harmful.

A flat fee on the environment should be allocated in the national budget which mustn’t be less than one percent. The same should be done in the city budget.

Another point that a new government should consider is a social policy. The main drawbacks of our insurance system are poorly developed insurance institutions, theirs unavailability and distrust to them. Most important is the question of guarantees. One way to support them is government guarantees, the second is to attract known Western insurance companies as guarantors. For example, in the case of pensions, the person should have the choice and the opportunity to diversify investments. For example, one part — in the state pension fund, other part — in funds with high liquidity, and another part — in a fund with less liquidity, but also less venture.

Duty of the state is to provide citizens with a confidence in the future. Development of social infrastructure should become subject of the highest priority for a new prime minister.

Plenty of work needs to be done in order to implement a strategic plan for the development of Ukraine. Great responsibility in this process lies with the state agencies, especially with the Council of National Security and Defense, which is to coordinate and supervise the activities of the executive power in the sphere of national security. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the National Agency for the efficient use of energy resources need to work more effectively. In its turn a strong political wil and the harmonious combination of all the elements in the program of the new prime minister wil lhelp turn Ukraine into a really prosperous European state.

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