21.07.2004 -

UNESCO International Workshop On "Traditional Knowledge and Modern Technology for Sustainable Management of Dry-land Ecosystems"

In accordance with the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kalmykia N°139-r, issued on the 29th of March, 2004, the UNESCO International workshop on «Traditional Knowledge and Modern Technology for the Sustainable Management of Dryland Ecosystems» was convened in Elista on June 23-27, 2004.

With the aim of further cooperation of the Republic of Kalmykia with UNESCO in different directions including the intergovernmental scientific program «Man and the Biosphere» (MAB), the International workshop was arranged and carried out in the steppe capital. The aims of the workshop were to bring the certain contribution in maintenance of an optimum combination of the traditional knowledge and modern technologies for the efficient preservation of the productivity of dryland ecological systems, which occupy vast expanses of our planet.

More than 10 years the Republic cooperates with UNESCO: only for last two years two International workshops - on problems of conservation of the Saiga antelope and on the renewable sources of energy were carried out. The State Biosphere Reserve Chernye Zemli was founded in 1990. The Center of wild animals of the Republic of Kalmykia was created in 2000.

This International workshop helped to unite efforts of representatives of the academic institutes, educational institutions, state structures, nongovernmental and international organizations in the elaboration of vital issues of economic development of dryland regions of our planet. About 15 leading experts in the field of integration of traditional methods and modern technology for maintenance of stability of dryland territories from 11 countries, where they conducted relevant projects, have participated in the Workshop. The international experts from UNESCO and FAO, from India, Mongolia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Jordan, Iran, Morocco and the Russian Federation have exchanged the valuable experience in usage of traditional forms of agriculture and modern technologies in agricultural production, pasture cattle breeding and management of biological resources in dryland ecological systems.

The scientific community of Kalmykia presented 25 scientific papers prepared by employees of scientific research institutes, higher schools, other organizations engaged into the problems of the formation of ecological culture, control of soil degradation, sustainable use of natural resources.

During the workshop three key issues were widely discussed: management of agricultural systems; application of modern technologies in the system of pasture cattle-breeding; ecosystem approach and management of biological resources. The Workshop’s participants have given the special attention to the problem of use of the traditional knowledge directed against land degradation and loss of soil fertility and reducing the negative anthropogenic impacts.

One of the stages of this Workshop has taken place in the Yashkul district. The leaders of this district have informed the Workshop’s participants about some achievements accomplished in agriculture, their approaches to conservation of wild animals and plants, results in combating desertification and rearing the traditional cattle breeds.

The guests of the Republic had an opportunity to meet and to talk with some custodians of the Kalmyk traditions and customs, schoolchildren of the Yashkul gymnasia, involved in the nature conservation. The Headquarters of UNESCO, the UNESCO Moscow office and the Russian Committee on «Man and the Biosphere» (MAB) program have presented a personal computer and popular publications on control of desertification to this gymnasia. The Kalmyk Institute for Humanities of the Southern Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences has handed to the Library of the gymnasia scientific editions of the Institute. The participants of the Workshop have been acquainted with activities of the state enterprise "Center of Wild Animals of the Republic of Kalmykia", which is engaged in the rearing of saigas in captivity. The third generation of these animals is already received in conditions of the artificial population.

The recommendations adopted during the International workshop in Elista on the use of the traditional knowledge and modern technology in management of dryland ecosystems will stimulate the studying of the world experience in the prevention of environment degradation and desertification and will give a new impulse to scientific researches in this field.


The organizing committee of

the UNESCO International workshop on

«Traditional Knowledge and Modern Technology

for the Sustainable Management of Dryland Ecosystems»



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