Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Exhibition on sustainable coastal development

An exhibition ‘Land, Sea and People: Seeking Sustainable Balance’ opened at the World Ocean Museum in Kaliningrad, Russia in February 2000. The exhibition was jointly organized by CSI and the Museum, and is the only one of its kind in the country.

The opening ceremony was attended by some 80 scientists and professors from local research and educational institutions, sailors, fishermen, politicians and the general public. Two television companies and seven press agencies were also represented. A film, prepared by the Museum, on the coastal matters was shown.

In 1999, CSI provided the Museum with various publications: the CSI brochure (published in Russian and numerous other languages), a series of posters on sustainable coastal development, and other UNESCO publications. These materials were widely distributed at the Second National Conference on the History of Oceanography, which was held in Kaliningrad in September 1999. Further material for the CSI exhibit was added in February 2000: an introduction to the local coastal system, the problems facing it and potential ways of resolving these difficulties.

The World Ocean Museum, opened in 1979, is run by Russia’s Ministry of Culture, but it has established strong contacts with the Russia oceanographic community, including people and institutions studying coastal processes. It consists of two, three-story buildings, one administrative and one exhibition space and, since 1995, the Russian research ship ‘Vitiaz’. This vessel operated in the Pacific and Indian Oceans from 1949 to 1979 and is now a major visitor attraction. It is used as an exhibition space and among other things now houses the CSI exhibit. The Museum welcomes some 50 000 visitors annually from Russia, neighbouring countries and other Baltic countries.

At UNESCO’s invitation the Museum has initiated a series of joint activities with a local UNESCO Associated School, which is involved in the Baltic Sea Project of the UNESCO’s Education Sector. The school focuses on geography and environmental matters. Proposed joint activities include: the presentation of the school’s recent environmental expedition along the coast of Kaliningrad province; competitions for the best description of the coastal zone; and exhibition of the children’s drawings.

Kaliningrad (formerly Konigsberg) is a major commercial and industrial centre. Its principal products are: ships, machinery, chemicals, paper, and lumber. Its large harbour serves important fishing, cargo, research and military fleets. As such it has considerable impact on the local coastal environment.

To the north of Kaliningrad lies the Kurisches split. It is the second largest dune area in Europe and is one of the ‘pearls’ of the region. The split is part Russian and Lithuanian. These countries are now jointly preparing documents for submission to UNESCO proposing the site for inclusion on the World Natural Heritage Site list. To this end the public awareness campaign run by CSI through the World Ocean Museum is timely.

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