By 2025 the area of reserves in Russia will increase by 12 million hectares

As stated by Sergey Donskoy - Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation - during his speech at the closing ceremony of the IUCN World Park Congress in Sydney (Australia). Representatives of Australia, Canada, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and some other countries also made statements during the ceremony.

According to Sergey Donskoy, in the next 10 years the total area of federal protected areas of Russia (PA) will increase by 22% due to the creation of 27 new federal reserves and extension of 12 existing ones. Currently there are 103 reserves, 47 national parks and 68 federal sanctuaries in Russia. The total area is 596 sq. km. and it exceeds the territory of the largest European country - France. The area of federal protected areas takes almost 3% of the territory of Russia, of protected areas of all categories - 11%.

Sergei Donskoi also said that the creation and development of protected areas was among the main priorities of the state policy in the field of environmental protection. That is stated in the Environmental Doctrine of Russia.

In the next 10 years, habitats of the Amur tiger in the Bikin River Basin (Primorsky Krai) and the polar bear on the New Siberian Islands will fall under federal protection. In the next decade, Russia also intends to increase the area of marine protected areas up to 17 million hectares.

Sergei Donskoi reported that Russian PAs will continue the work on the conservation of rare species. Including the restoration of the Persian leopard population in the Western Caucasus.

As part of the program for the Amur leopard conservation in the south of the Far East, in 10 years its population is expected to grow by 60% and reach at least 100 individuals. In the reserves of  Volga region and the Caucasus two new groups of bisons will be created, and the total number of free-living bisons will reach 2000 individuals.

The head of the Russian delegation also stressed the need for the development of international cooperation: "In the next decade I consider it necessary to actively use mechanisms such as cross-border reserves, twin parks, exchange of innovative experiences, joint research and educational projects." In this regard, he proposed to append the draft of the Congress outcome documents with a demand to pay special attention to sustainability of trans boundary protected areas for the conservation of biological diversity in areas near state borders.

Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Julia Marton-Lefèvre expressed interest in increasing the number of Russian organizations among IUCN members, given the importance of natural areas of the Russian Federation to preserve the world's natural heritage. Sergey Donskoy supported the proposal and said that the Russian Association of Directors of reserves and national parks could become the new member of the IUCN.

«For the first time in many years Russia was well represented at such a significant and large-scale environmental forum. We saw a strong interest in environmental activities of our country, the support of the international community and that we are moving in step with global trends and can share our experience with other countries,"- said Deputy Director of the Department of State policy and regulation in the field of environment of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Vsevolod Stepanitsky.

The main organizer of the 6th World Parks Congress is The World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Congress was held from 12 to 19 November 2014 in Sydney, Australia.