Digest 06

We are glad to present you the sixth issue of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest.

Prior to the Forum 2014 we start a new column “Invitation from session chairs” providing details of discussion sessions.

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The VI Guest Conference under the auspices of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum in Kazakhstan

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The VI Guest Conference under the auspices of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum will take place in Kazakhstan in 2014.

The Conference is organized on behalf of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in order to enhance the bilateral legal relations and establish a dialogue between the two member countries of the Conference in business and legal areas.

The discussion sessions of the Guest Conference are as follows:

  1. Presentation of the key novels in the legislation of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan Federation regulating civil transactions and investments;

  2. Legal regulation of commercial and economic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan in terms of being a member of The World Trade Organization and Customs Union.

Among the participants of the Conference we expect to see corporate and practicing lawyers, representatives of business, judicial community and authorities, economists, investment bankers of Russia and Kazakhstan.

To register in the Conference please contact kazakhstan@spblegalforum.com.

In fact, the discussion we are planning should provide answers to two main questions: how the modern law can help the society to save water and ecosystems and how we should help the modern legal framework to do so.

Marina Gassiy

Merited lawyer of the Russian Federation, SUE “Vodokanal of St. Petersburg” General counsel

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- What is the practical importance of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, in your opinion?

- It is impossible to overestimate the practical importance of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. It is an unparalleled platform that brings together professional lawyers, representatives of public and international organizations, governmental authorities and other entities and allows them to discuss the most pressing issues from a legal angle.

As the Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation Elena Borisenko pointed out during one of her interviews, the Forum organizers try to focus not only on traditional topics, but also on the issues of innovative nature, oriented on the future of legal regulation.

Our company has eagerly accepted the organizers’ invitation to take an active part in the preparation of the platforms for the Forum discussion. During the Fourth Forum, which will take place in June 2014, we will hold a round table dedicated to ecology and sustainable use of natural resources.

- Could you please discuss in more details your company’s planned participation in the next Forum?

- As an initial matter, SUE “Vodokanal of St. Petersburg” is an environment-oriented company. We recognize the importance of preserving the ecosystem for the people, and the tentative name of our round table is “Water – Heritage of the Past, Resource of the Present, Right to the Future". The round table is dedicated to a global challenge: protection and restoration of water resources. In fact, the discussion we are planning should provide answers to two main questions: how the modern law can help the society to save water and ecosystems and how we should help the modern legal framework to do so.

This issue is not just a problem but a global challenge to the humanity. It’s no coincidence that a solution to the water conservation problem can only be found through a multi-stage and multi-faceted process where one of the facets is a proper legal support of the measures that the society has to take.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation confirms a right of every citizen to life and sound environment. The President of the Russian Federation, by his decree, declared 2013 as the year of environment protection. However, the water protection has long ago expanded beyond the limits of the national jurisdictions. In 2013, I had a chance to participate in a conference under the aegis of the UN, which was dedicated to the Global Compact – the initiative that sets out the commitment of its members to ten key principles regarding the observance of human rights. One of these principles confirms the obligation to protect the environment. One component of this international initiative is dedicated to water management.

In St. Petersburg, the city that is involved in various activities with the purpose to protect the Baltic Sea Region (the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea), the water management is a serious issue. As early as 2010, at the 2nd International Forum “Pure Water 2010”, Vladimir Putin pointed out that conservation of the Baltic Sea environment is one of the most pressing challenges for the countries in the region. This January, 2014 was formally declared in Helsinki as “Year of the Gulf of Finland” for the purpose of meeting this challenge. In fact, it is an international Russian-Finnish-Estonian project aimed to coordinate the actions of these states in the sphere of water management and water restoration in the region. It is easy to imagine the huge amount of work to be done by lawyers and other specialists to ensure implementation of this project.

Vodokanal is one of Russia’s biggest water users and has a wide experience of participation in various international and national programs aimed at the conservation and careful use of water resources. We make every effort to comply with all international standards. Our achievements on this pathway have been marked by several national and international awards.

By organizing a discussion platform, we will give the Forum participants a good opportunity to learn more about our enterprise activities and the innovations applied by its specialists. We have prepared some reference materials, including a short film narrating about our enterprise activities, which can be shown to the Forum participants right now.

For the future discussion to be more illustrative, we decided to hold the round table at the enterprise premises. The guests will be invited to the exhibition complex The Universe of Water and will be offered to use the discussion platform with all facilities available for comfortable work of the Forum participants.

Among other activities, our enterprise is a co-developer of regulatory framework in the sphere of water management. It is a very important activity since Russia is now implementing a large-scale reform of legislation in the sphere of water management, water supply, and wastewater disposal and treatment. I think that our experience of participating in development of such legislation and as a member of professional community would be interesting for the guests.

- What questions do you plan to dwell upon during the round table discussion?

- The theme of water management is much broader that the relevant laws. The following questions are included into the agenda of our round table discussion: access to drinking water, scarcity of water resources, international cooperation in the field of water resource management, increase of the anthropogenic load on water bodies, ways to improve the protection of water bodies, adverse impacts on water and ways to prevent and mitigate the effects of such impact, compensations to persons affected by the breach of water use regulations, special aspects of underground water protection, arrangement of water supply and wastewater disposal, prospects of public-private partnership in the water sector. We also want to touch on the issue of cooperation in the field of water use under CEO Water Mandate – the initiative implemented by UN Global Compact.

- Who would you like to see among the participants of the round table? What is your target audience?

- We assume that the themes to be discussed at the round table will be interesting for any representative of the professional community of lawyers, since each theme is closely linked with routine issues the lawyers are confronted with in their everyday professional activities. However, participation in the round table will not be limited to the representatives of legal profession. We believe that public authorities, experts in environment protection, economy, politics and other fields related to the theme of the round table will also participate in our discussion.

Some experts have already expressed their intention to participate in the round table discussion, including Ms. Tarja Halonen - Ex-President of Finland, the chairperson of the Administrative Board of the World Wildlife Fund in Finland - lawyer by profession and a person who pays a lot of attention to environmental problems, Mr. Timo Mäkelä - Director of International Affairs of DG Environment of the European Commission, Mr. Ilka Herlin - the Chairperson of the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) Foundation, Mr. Juha Nurminen - the Chairperson of the John Nurminen Foundation, and Mr. Jaakko Henttonen - Director of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP).

Among the Russian participants we would like to mention the Chief Executive Officer Mr. Felix Karmazinov – doctor of technical sciences, winner of the prize for the protection of the Baltic Sea, a person who dedicated 26 years of his life to the protection of, and fostering careful attitude towards water resources.

We will be glad to see among the speakers of the round table the dean of the law faculty of Moscow State University Mr. Aleksandr Golichenkov - doctor of legal sciences, head of the university department for environmental and land law, and Mr. Vladislav Nikishin – doctor of legal sciences, professor of the department for legal protection of the environment at the law faculty of St. Petersburg State University.

I hope that the Director of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Mr. Nuritdin Inamov will participate in the round table discussion as a speaker. I listened to Mr. Inamov’s eloquent, authoritative speech at the panel session organized within the opening ceremony of the Gulf of Finland Year.

The list of our guests is unlimited. We will be glad if representatives of scientific community, other interested professional communities and international organizations could participate at the round table.

We sincerely hope that this round table discussion planned by us will become an integral part of the forthcoming Forum and will evolve into one of its permanent discussion platforms in future.

News of the Forum

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  • Register within 2 weeks to take advantage of the early bird pricing! Since April 1st the participation fee will cost 50% extra.

  • Official hotels provide special rates for Forum participants. Accreditation is located in the lobby. Shuttle bus system includes official Forum hotels in their route. We kindly ask you to proceed your booking in the personal office.

  • Daily programme of the Forum is already available on the website.

  • On February 27, 2014 Maxim Travnikov, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, had a meeting with Dirk Miro, Director of the German Foundation of International Legal Cooperation, and Ivo Thiemrodt, Head of the International Legal Cooperation Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ). The participants of the meeting discussed future prospects of Russian-German legal cooperation and the participation of the German delegation in the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.


Coming in the next issue:

In the seventh issue of the Digest on March 26 we will present you the article by John Allison, founder of The Coach for Lawyers, LLC, trained professional coach, about moving from private practice to an in-house position, as well as the announcement of the Conference “Novels in the legislation on State registration of estates in real property and notariat: trends in harmonization, prospects for development”.