Successful management of any large territory is impossible without its zoning, or administrative-territorial division, i.e. dismemberment of this territory into its component parts. The problems of zoning are especially relevant for states that have a vast territory, diverse natural conditions, and a large potential of productive forces. Among these states, first of all, include Russia, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, China, India, Mexico, Brazil and a number of others. Zoning is also very relevant for medium-sized states, to which the Republic of Belarus should be ranked.
The need for zoning and administrative-territorial division reflects the objective process of region- and district formation, which is due to the size of the territories, the economic ties that have developed in them, national, religious and other features. Zoning is carried out at two levels, due to its goals: cognitive and transformative. The cognitive level pursues the study of the natural, demographic and economic potential of the country by means of allocation of homogeneous territories. It allows you to accumulate statistical material, thereby creating the basis for the transition to the transformative level. The transformative level of zoning is associated with the development and implementation of prospects for the rational use of natural, demographic and economic potential and the appropriate allocation of regions in order to maximize the effective use of their resources.
Depending on the characteristics by which areas are distinguished at the above-mentioned levels, the types of zoning also differ. In particular, there are natural, demographic and economic regionalization. It should be borne in mind that economic zoning, along with the existing economic ties and economic relations, to one degree or another, already takes into account both natural (climate, fertility, resource security, etc.) and demographic (population, labor resources, etc.) zoning.
In turn, economic zoning is divided into sectoral and integral. Sectoral zoning contributes to the correct placement of enterprises of a particular industry, while integral – to the integrated development of regions. As a rule, on the basis of integral economic regionalization, the territorial division of countries is carried out.
The main element of the territorial structure of the country’s economy, taking into account specialization in the territorial division of labor, the specifics of natural resource and socio-economic conditions, is the economic region. An economic region is a part of the national economy of a country in a certain territory, characterized by a certain economic and geographical position, territorial-economic and economic-
Unique unity, the peculiarity of natural and economic conditions, historically formed production specialization based on the territorial division of labor. An economic region, as a rule, is allocated on the basis of a district economic complex, which is a more or less integral system of economy and social processes objectively formed within a certain territory.
Economic zoning is the most important prerequisite for the administrative-territorial division of the country, which should be built on a socio-economic basis, taking into account both economic specifics and historical factors. At the same time, the criteria for administrative-territorial division can be: the approximate equality of the area of territorial entities, their population, economic potential, etc., as well as the convenience of controllability of territories by bringing the subject of management closer to the object – to the population and economic units (taking into account transport and other communications). In general, economic zoning and administrative-territorial division are designed to ensure the possibility of effective management of the country, facilitate planning and forecasting, and solve socio-economic problems.