Welcome to the Nevsky International Ecological Congress, which has convened in St Petersburg for the eighth time.
Clean air, fresh water, green forests and meadows, and quality foods are what can keep us and future generations healthy. Today you will discuss nature conservation, improving the environment in cities and towns and reducing the negative impact of industry on the environment. I hope that the discussions will, as always, be straightforward and substantive.
Many countries have embraced green development not as a fashion, but as a fact of life and a vital condition for sustainable and safe economic growth and prosperity. It is important that the main theme of your congress this year is environmental education. We must promote awareness of the global challenges and threats of pollution not just with young people but also everyone on the planet, especially businesspeople and leaders at all levels who make decisions and are responsible for their environmental consequences.
I am sure that your congress will be one of the most important events in this Year of the Environment.
I wish you interesting discussions and productive work that will culminate in the formulation of new environmental protection concepts and initiatives.