19.03.2009 Presentation of Strategy and Action Plan on raising awareness of the Lower Volga wetland biodiversity among stakeholders
On February 27-28, 2009, UNDP/GEF Project ‘Conservation of Wetland Biodiversity in the Lower Volga Region’ held a meeting on ’Presentation of Strategy and Action Plan on raising awareness of the Lower Volga wetland biodiversity among stakeholders’.
The Strategy and the Action Plan were elaborated by a working group of local experts from the Astrakhan and Volgograd oblasts and the Republic of Kalmykia, headed by Yaroslav Orestov, consultant on environmental awareness and landscape architecture from the EcoCenter ’Zapovedniki’.
Representatives from UNESCO, environmental authorities from Astrakhan, Volgograd and the Republic of Kalmykia, Project PAs, environmental NGOs, mass media, universities and research institutes, tourism business, as well as representatives from large Lower Volga companies such as OOO Lukoil-Nizhnevolzhskneft, OOO Gazprom Dobycha Astrakhan, OOO Caspian Oil Company, ZAO Astrakhan GSM, Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia, and ZAO Astrakhanregiongaz attended the meeting.
The goal of the meeting was to search for ways of collaboration with stakeholders engaged in environmental awareness activities, discuss possible partnerships in the field of environmental education and advocacy, and approve UNDP/GEF Project action plan for PR and for the promotion of ideas on Lower Volga biodiversity conservation for 2009.
On February 27, Svetlana Dadonkina, team leader on environmental awareness of UNDP/GEF Project, opened the meeting and informed participants about the Project's main tasks and corresponding actions already taken or being currently under implementation.
Prior to the presentation of the ’Strategy and Action Plan on raising awareness of the Lower Volga wetland biodiversity value and importance among stakeholders and actions for biodiversity protection’, Yaroslav Orestov, head of the workgroup, explained to the audience the concept of the Strategy, its benefits for the UNDP/GEF Project, its main area of focus, its objectives and tasks to be solved. The participants of the meeting agreed that the Strategy is necessary for the establishment of an integrated system of environmental education, advocacy and information in the Lower Volga region, which would be aimed at raising the awareness among the population, PA specialists and decision-makers, and at stimulating the activity of social groups in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. In this regard, it is necessary to elaborate a system of most effective actions for awareness raising, identify and increase opportunities, and provide recommendations and technical assistance to governmental structures and the civil society within the Project.
The participants of the meeting were encouraged to fill in questionnaires prepared by Natalia Mekh, Deputy Director of the Astrakhan Reserve on environmental education, during the workshop held in March 2008 devoted to SAP on awareness raising. The main goal of the questionnaire was to identify the potential of organizations to implement environmental education actions, the level of their awareness of the conditions of the biodiversity in the Lower Volga region, and their readiness to collaborate. The results of the poll will be taken into account in the process of deciding upon joint environmental educational activities.
The presentations made by the participants were also worth mentioning. Elena Kazakova, Director of Museum of OOO Gazprom Dobycha Astrakhan told about the experience of OOO Gazprom Dobycha Astrakhan in the field of environmental education.
Irina Shcherba, Foreign Relations Manager of Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia, informed about the company's initiatives, in particular about actions held in the Volgograd oblast: ‘Clean Shore’ and ’Living Volga’, organized under the partnership between UNESCO Moscow office and Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia.
Alexander Khodaev, Leading Specialist of the PR center of OOO Lukoil-Nizhnevolzhskneft, informed the participants about the implementation of the Programme on environmental safety of OAO LUKOIL in OOO LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft and expressed the readiness to collaborate with UNDP/GEF Project in the field of initiatives on environmental education.
Elena Tveretinova, Programme Assistant on science of UNESCO Moscow office, told about environmental educational materials published in 2007 and 2009 under the partnership with Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia. She also shared their experience in implementing environmental education actions, based on the example of the ’Living Volga’ Programme carried out jointly with Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia since 2006. Major objectives of this programme include raising awareness about the value of the Volga wetland biodiversity among authorities and local communities, and the consolidation of efforts of various stakeholders to conserve the Volga natural wealth.
During the second day, the meeting participants were taught about the organization of volunteer movements and their effectiveness with regard to environmental education (reported by Yaroslav Orestov). Based on the results of the meeting, a resolution was presented with consideration of all comments and additions related to the Action Plans for the three regions covered by the UNDP/GEF Project.
Overall, the meeting on ’Presentation of Strategy and Action Plan on raising awareness about the Lower Volga wetland biodiversity among stakeholders’ was very productive. All participants noted its high informational value and expressed their hopes for a practical application of the Strategy elaborated at the meeting in the near future.
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