Long-term planning is another thing entirely: for five or ten years or even for life, planning to build a house, buy a cottage, have a baby or buy a new car perhaps. It is very difficult to make one’s life run according to a detailed programme; after all, fate often interferes with the course of events. Nonetheless, there are advantages to living one’s life with goals in sight. In many countries this logic has led to policy planning and detailed strategy development for a lengthy period. The Russians, for example, have already made plans till 2025, Kazakhstan until 2050. Soon a similar document will appear in our country. The Ministry of Economy is beginning public consultation on the National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030 (NSSD-2030). Anyone interested can now view this document by clicking on the link provided on the department’s website.
In brief, the strategy is based on three principles: those of people, economy and ecology. In addition to the Economy Ministry, other authors of the project are: the Research Institute of Economy with the assistance of state administrators, regional executive committees, the National Academy of Sciences and representatives of the business community. Expert support was given by international organisations such as representatives of the UN\UNDP in Belarus, the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank and others.
The document itself is rather lengthy, but worth reading in its entirety. Its one hundred and thirty pages describe how the country will follow a path of sustainable development and outlines the risks it will face in the long-term. Among those risks listed are: the slow rate of transformation of economic relations and the preservation of an insufficiently effective and high-cost structure to the economy, a high dependence on rates of economic growth on external deliveries and the instability of prices on power and sources of raw materials, as well as the risk of technological decline during a new period of innovation in foreign countries.
The authors of the NSSD divide the next 15 years of development into two stages. The first will last from 2016 until 2020. In this period the country will have to achieve qualitative balanced growth in the economy. At the second stage (from 2021 until 2030), it is expected there will be a transition to strong sustainable development. The experts suggest there should be emphasis given to improvements in the high-tech sector of the economy with V and VI technological setup, on the application of power effective and ecologically safe technologies. Among the priorities is the accelerated development of information and engineering services, transport infrastructure, improvement in the quality and expansion of export of educational and medical services. The criteria for these qualitative structural transformations will be to halve the gap in labour productivity compared to the average European level and to increase the share of the high-tech and information technology sector in GDP (up to 8-10 percent in 2030), and a decrease in the power intensity of GDP for 2016-2030 to 35 percent.
By Alexander Benko