Seminar for Representatives of Russian Biosphere Reserves
Seminar for representatives of biosphere reserves of the European territory of Russia took place in Volzhsko-Kamsky National Nature Reserve and Raifa God’s Mother Men Monastery.
The seminar was organized by the Russian MAB Committee, UNESCO Moscow Office and the Government of Tatarstan Republic with the support from Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Tatarstan and Volzhsko-Kamsky National Nature Reserve. Apart from the above-mentioned the following organizations also participated in the meeting: Department of Specially Protected Natural Areas (SPNA) of Russian Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Center of Wildlife Conservation, Institute for Sustainable Communities, Institute of Ecology and Evolution Russian Academy of Science, Moscow State University, Administration of Zelenodolsk District of Tatarstan, Bol’shaya Kokshaga and Volzhsko-Kamsky National Nature Reserves.
The following topics were discussed during the seminar:
- the experience in implementing the recommendations of the Seville Strategy and biosphere reserves' input to the realization of the sustainable development concept;
- foundation of Russian Biosphere Reserves Association and mechanisms to strengthen cooperation in the framework of biosphere reserves' net on the European territory of the Russian Federation;
- development of a biosphere reserve standard description to present on the Internet and the improvement of biosphere reserves' participation in information exchange;
- development of possible joint projects for extrabudgetary support.
The results of the meeting were summarized in the resolution, in which descriptive part it is stated that Russian biosphere reserves fulfill functions, designated by the Seville strategy. They effectively work for biodiversity and landscape preservation and for the conservation of cultural heritage. The scientific research and ecological education are at a relatively high level. Besides, biosphere reserves serve as a basis for the professional education in related fields. At the same time, biosphere reserves do not get sufficient financial support from federal and/or regional budget, which hampers the successful movement towards the goals of the Seville strategy. Efforts taken to obtain additional financial support from their own activities do not always have the desired results.
To increase the work efficiency of Russian biosphere reserves, the seminar participants recommend:
- to found the Association of biosphere reserves of the European territory of Russia and to improve its draft constitution (responsible – M.N. Brynskikh, Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve, and V.P. Novikov, Ugra Biosphere Reserve);
- for the Association of the Biosphere Reserves:
a) to initiate a publication of a special electronic issue and establish joint data bases;
b) to practice annual meetings of specialists from biosphere reserves, heads of local authorities and business representatives;
c) to prepare letters to heads of regions and to the RF minister of natural recourses to get promotion and increase financial support of biosphere reserves;
- to ask the Department of SPNA of the Russian MNR:
a) to initiate the elaboration of the official status of Russian biosphere reserves;
b) to prepare special forms for biosphere reserves' annual reports, which should reflect the specificity of their activities and the realization of Seville strategy goals;
c) to consider the organization of a special section within the Department of SPNA of the Russian MNR, which would directly work on the problems of biosphere reserves;
- for Coordination Boards of biosphere reserves – to practice bilateral and multilateral agreements on the collaboration with regional partners in order to reach the designated goals;
- to ask the Russian MAB Committee, UNESCO Moscow Office, the Government of Tatarstan to find financial support for the publication of proceedings of the seminar in Russian and English;
- to ask the Russian MAB Committee and UNESCO Moscow Office to send letters to the Governors and President's Representatives in the regions, where biosphere reserves are located, to stress their important role in sustainable development of the corresponding subjects and regions of the Russian Federation, and the necessity of their support;
- to ask UNESCO to support the nomination of the Volzhsko-Kamsky National Nature Reserve to the list of world biosphere reserves.