The Sakhalin experience was presented at the Third Forum of Regional Social Innovation, which was held on June 19–21 at the VDNH exhibition complex in Moscow. It has brought together more than three thousand participants: heads of Russian regions and federal ministries, experts in various fields, employees of non-profit organisations, scientists and volunteers, representatives of businesses and development institutions.
The main topic of the forum was the role of national projects in the breakthrough innovative development of the social sphere. Which projects do the regions prioritise today? What should be the format of interaction between the state, the business community and the non-profit sector so that it would benefit the society? How can we spread regional breakthrough mechanisms? How is international experience taken into account?
These and dozens of other pressing issues formed the basis of the forum agenda, which this year included three areas: business programme, interactive exhibition and charity performances. The business programme included 60 discussions, coaching sessions and workshops attended by experts fr om many countries and 85 subjects of the Russian Federation.
At the session devoted to the dialogue between the business and NGOs, participants from Arkhangelsk, Yugra, the Perm Territory and other regions shared effective practices of long-term partnership.
“Partnership is a system that you need to adapt to. Partners recognize that there is a common ground that allows them to unite. But at the same time, they understand that others have interests of their own that need to be respected,” stressed Elena Feoktistova, Managing Director of the Corporate Responsibility, Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship Department of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
The Sakhalin experience was represented by the Sakhalin Indigenous Minorities Development Plan, a joint programme implemented since 2006 by the Regional Council of Sakhalin IP Authorized Representatives, the Sakhalin Oblast Government and Sakhalin Energy.
“Sakhalin, indeed, has become the first region in Russia and in the world wh ere, as part of the Development Plan, an industrial company applied the principle of free, prior and informed consent. Over these years, we implemented more than 800 projects that contributed to the development of the social sector and traditional economic activities of indigenous ethnic groups. This is certainly important. However, the main lesson that we have learned is the need for an open dialogue, as well as constant reflection on the experience we have gained,” said Natalya Gonchar, Head of the Sakhalin Energy Information Support and Media Liaison Subdivision.
According to the expert, the Plan is a living mechanism that should respond to changes in society and improve itself. Next year, the development of a new five-year stage of the programme for 2021–2025 will begin. “What will it be like? It is hard to tell yet. There is long work and consultations with the people ahead. I hope the Fourth Development Plan will be unifying, and Sakhalin will once again surprise the world,” added Natalya Gonchar.
The Third Forum of Regional Social Innovation was organised by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the government of Moscow.
21 June 2019