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Премия рунета 2017

Wildlife conservation became one of the key topics at the Eastern Economic Forum

07 september 2017
Federal protected areas cover only 3% of Russia’s territory, it is unprofitable and fatal for nature to develop there the same types of recreation as on the remaining 97%, because it will destroy the nature itself, WWF believes.

WWF Russia joined the discussion of one of the key sessions “Protected areas – Opportunities for Government and Business” at the 3rd Eastern Economic Forum hosted by Vladivostok on 7 September. Are we ready to open the protected system of Russia for business and tourism? How to open up recreation on the territory of protected areas? What risks do protected areas face if tourist flow increase? How can foreign tourists be attracted to protected areas of the Russian Far East? The system of public-private partnership: what steps does business expect the government to take in order to spark more active involvement in these projects? These questions were discussed at the session.

The discussion was attended by Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Chuychenko, Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation, Chief of the Control Directorate of the Presidential Administration, Dmitriy Gorshkov, Director of Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, Igor Chestin, Director of WWF Russia. 

I completely agree with the priorities that Konstantin Chuychenko has outlined: that task number one for protected areas is protection, task number two is to show the territory to people not in any way interfering protection and have a negative impact on ecosystems,” - said Igor Chestin in his speech. The most important thing is an individual approach to each protected area. Because there are sites, for example, in Sochi National Park, in the form of waterfalls, gorges, with a developed infrastructure, which can be completely painlessly visited by a million people a year without any damage to this gorge with the proper organization of garbage collection, etc. But if we are talking about seeing wild animals, what is of more demand, let's say Kuril Lake, if we put 5-star hotels, restaurants and bars there, then bears will vanish, there will be nothing to watch! All this comfortable infrastructure should be outside protected areas.”

WWF Russia is concerned that at present the same approach to tourism is being applied to PAs as well as to tourism outside of PAs. The emphasis is on the development of resort and sports tourism. This approach causes conflicts with the objectives of PAs which are aimed to preserve natural complexes and ecological processes.

As Igor Chestin noted, federal PAs occupy only 3% of the country's territory, and develop the same types of recreation there as for the remaining 97% is fatal for nature and unprofitable economically, because it will destroy nature, which is the main value of these territories. Therefore, it is necessary to clearly define at the legislation level what kinds of tourism and recreation are allowed on federal protected areas, keeping in mind that only ecological tourism is possible in nature reserves, the development of which does not require the construction of facilities and capital construction projects.

Along with the issues of the development of the Far East, the issue of conservation of rare cats - the Amur tiger and leopard - remains in the focus of attention of the Eastern Economic Forum, starting from the first year of its holding in Vladivostok. This year VTB Bank and WWF Russia presented a joint project for conservation of large felines in the regions of Russia - snow leopard, Persian leopard, Amur tiger and Amur leopard.

Another event at the Eastern Economic Forum was the awarding WWF certificate for 100,000 rubles to the winner of the contest for the most environmentally friendly development project on the Far Eastern hectare. Petr Osipov, director of WWF Russia Amur branch  presented the certificate to Leonid Sungorkin, Khabarovsk, for the idea of creating on the Far Eastern hectare an ecological and ethnic park of the indigenous peoples of Priamurye.

For additional information please contact
Director of WWF-Russia Amur branch