United Nations Development Programme

Russian Federation


20.05.2009. Annual Volga Day celebrated in Volgograd and Astrakhan

This year, Volgograd and Astrakhan celebrated the annual Volga Day on the 20th and 23rd of May. The event was organized on the initiative of the UNESCO Moscow Office and Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia within the framework of their joint programme Living Volga and supported by UNDP/GEF Project Conservation of Wetland Biodiversity in the Lower Volga Region.

In 2008, Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia (Russian branch of Coca-Cola Hellenic) and the UNESCO Moscow Office came up with an initiative to include Volga Day into the calendar of global environment events to promote measures aimed at environmental and biodiversity protection in the Volga River basin and to encourage the involvement of the local population into conservation activities. Volga Day was first celebrated last year in Nizhny Novgorod. In 2009, festivities were also held in Samara, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Yaroslavl, and the Republic of Tatarstan and lasted between the 20th and the 23rd of May.

They included seminars, round tables, exhibitions, games and competitions devoted to Volga River and the ecology of the region.

In Volgograd and Astrakhan, UNDP/GEF Project Conservation of Wetland Biodiversity in the Lower Volga Region provided financial and information support to Volga Day.

The inhabitants of Volgograd celebrated Volga Day on May 20th. The programme, supervised by the regional NGO, Zelenaya Orbita Ecological Center included a round table discussion Volga Day in Volgograd: water for people and nature with participation of representatives of local authorities, businesses and ecological organizations.

Members of youth ecological movements, students, and everybody who wanted to join, collected garbage on the banks of the river. Large-scale environmental festivities took place on the embankment of Volgograd, with many folk bands, young artists and members of youth ecological movements taking part in the performances.

Celebrations continued on the 23rd May in the Astrakhan region, where Volga Day was celebrated together with the 90th anniversary of one of the first protected areas in Russia - Astrakhan Biosphere State Nature Reserve. The Astrakhan Nature Reserve has been acclaimed worldwide for its contribution to the conservation of unique habitats and species of the Volga delta. The highlight of the day was a boat trip along the Volga River, with on-board discussion panels of the most pressing ecological problems in the Volga River basin and a presentation of new eco-friendly learning Volga kits. Guest included representatives of local and regional governments, private sector, environmental NGOs, academic institutions, staff of the protected areas and the media. Making a stop in the Reserve, those on board visited the Museum of Nature and learned about the culture and traditions of the population of the Lower Volga region.

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