Volga Day - 2011
For the fourth time the Volga Day was celebrated with festivities, concerts, children and youth competitions and scientific seminars. Events took place on 20-21 May in Astrakhan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara and Volgograd. This memorable day was honored on the territory of Volzhsko-Kamsky Biosphere Reserve in the Republic of Tatarstan and Middle Volga Integrated Biosphere Reserve, which consists of the National Park “Samarskaya Luka” and Nature Reserve “Zhigulevsky” situated in Samara Oblast. Volga Day celebrations were supported by the UNESCO Moscow Office, Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia and UNDP/GEF project “Conservation of Wetland Biodiversity in the Lower Volga Region” with the assistance of other partners.
The Volga Day was proclaimed within the UNESCO/Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia programme “the Living Volga”. With every year it becomes more and more popular among local population, administration, business and mass media. The variety of events organized during the Volga Day involves everyone: from children to representatives of scientific and business communities.
Nizhny Novgorod in the framework of the Great Rivers Forum-2011 hosted the seminar “Sustainable development of biosphere reserves in the Volga Basin: past and future of the MAB programme.” The seminar was dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB), which is celebrated in 2011. This important seminar gathered together representatives of all 11 biosphere reserves situated in the Volga Basin, representatives of the Russian MAB Committee and National Committee of Russia for the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO (IHP), UNESCO Chairs, governmental authorities, experts from ecological NGOs and etc.
In Astrakhan the scientific component included the seminar on perspectives of the development of ecotourism in Astrakhan Oblast. The meeting was attended by representatives of local administration, nature protected areas, universities, business and experts in the field of tourism. The issue of ecotrourism development was addressed for the second time during the Volga Day celebrations in Astrakhan. This unusual type of tourism has a great potential for development on that territory. However the development is hindered by lack of decent infrastructure and up-to-date information, it faces administrative burden and struggles with high transportation expenditures. In addition to the expert meeting with the support of the UNDP/GEF project the celebrations of the Volga Day were organized on the river embankment. There schoolchildren enjoyed the exhibition of their drawings and photos, competition of drawing on the asphalt, sport competitions, ecological body-art and graffiti. As well the concert programme with dance performances, songs, children ecological theatres and modern electronic music was organized.
Volzhsko-Kamsky Biosphere Reserve and Middle Volga Integrated Biosphere Reserve celebrated the Volga Day with clean-up operations of the river banks, award ceremony for winners of ecological competitions and folklore concert.
In Volgograd an expert round table on ecological problems of Volga was a good complement to the mass entertainment programme, organized by UNDP/GEF project “Conservation of Wetland Biodiversity in the Lower Volga Region”.
Concerts, games and other festive events within the Volga Day were held in various big cities and small villages of the Volga basin, because Volga is unique and is dear to Volga people’s hearts.
The UNESCO Moscow Office expresses its appreciation to all its partners that were involved in the preparation and organization of the Volga Day and all its supporters for their initiative and contribution to the preservation of the Great Volga river.