On November 12 the 6th IUCN World Parks Congress starts in Sydney. It is organized by the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The main theme of the forum is "Parks, People, Planet: inspirational solutions"
A large Russian delegation, headed by Minister of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation Sergey Donskoy is participating in the Congress. The delegation will include more than 30 people - representatives of Russian nature reserves and national parks. Chairman of Khakassky Branch of the Russian Geographical Society Irina Sannikova is among them.
"For the first time in the history of this Congress Russia is represented by such a big delegation - more than 40 people are participating in it. Representatives of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, managers and specialists of 24 nature reserves and national parks, special non-governmental organizations are among them. Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia Sergey Donskoy will give a report on the final plenary session"- said Deputy Director of the Department of State Policy and Regulation of Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Vsevolod Stepanitsky.
IUCN World Parks Congress - is the largest and most authoritative international forum in the field of natural heritage. It is held every 10 years and brings together leading scientists, government officials, representatives of major international foundations, businesses and competent professionals in the field of sustainable development. Staff of reserves and national parks from around the world attend it to make acquaintances, share experiences and plan joint strategies. This year, the congress will be attended by more than 3,000 people from 160 countries.
The IUCN World Parks Congress has being held for more than 40 years. The previous Congress was held in 2003 in Durban, South Africa. This year the Congress will analyze the global experience of implementing the recommendations developed in 2003.
According to the members of the Russian delegation, the Russian reserve system will be presented at the sixth Congress sharing with new achievements, new ideas, knowledge of existing problems and ways of solving them.
Today there are more than 13 thousand different Protected Areas (PAs) in Russia with a total area of more than 2 million square km - this is 11% of the country’s territory. Three new reserves, twelve national parks and two federal sanctuaries have been created over the past 10 years. Territories of 5 reserves and 1 national park have been expanded. Thus, the total territory of federal protected areas increased by 12% or 65 thousand square km. This is essential for the preservation of rare species as a part of the world heritage: Amur tiger, Amur leopard, snow leopard, polar bear, gazelle, argali, whale and walrus. The Russian Geographical Society helps maintain populations of these animals.
In the last years the funding of federal protected areas has increased. This allows them to work more efficiently, use modern equipment for research, buy transport, means of communication, upgrade infrastructure, put new technologies into practice - such as energy-efficient construction and clean energy. The infrastructure of modern ecological, scientific and cultural tourism began to develop: new museums and visitor centers, nature trails, observation decks and guest houses were built in reserves and national parks. The staff intensively works with local populations, with representatives of small nationalities, studying their experience and culture, involving them into work with tourists, developing national crafts.
Russian Wildlife Conservation activities is represented by expositions in the central exhibition hall of the Olympic Park in Sydney. Moreover, considering the international importance of Russian protected areas the organizers of the Congress have arranged special panel discussions and debates on such topics as: "Protection of wild cats in Russia", "Treasures of Kamchatka and Lake Baikal", "Transboundary Protected Areas (PAs)", "Preservation of cultural landscapes in national parks" and "Development of marine protected areas network".