THE EIGHT NEVSKY INTERNATIONAL ECOLOGICAL CONGRESS
The VIII Nevsky International Ecological Congress took place in Tavricheskiy Palace, St. Petersburg on 25–26 May 2017 with a theme “Environmental Education – a Clean Country”.
The Congress was organized by the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member Nations (IPA CIS) under the leadership of V.A.Matvienko, Chairperson of the IPA CIS Council and Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
Seven roundtables were held in the first day, with one roundtable “Current Challenges and a Possible Future of the Aral Sea” focused on the problems of the Aral Sea and its coastal area, Prearalie. B.Alikhanov, Deputy Chairman of the Senate of Uzbekistan, A.Kenshimov, Deputy Director of IFAS Kazakhstan branch, Prof. V.Dukhovniy and G.Stulina, SIC ICWC, and Yu.Kamalov, Chairman of the Union for Protection of the Aral Sea and Amudarya took part in this roundtable.
Chairman of the Majilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan G.Shchegelskiy opened the roundtable. The leaders of parliamentarian delegations – B.Alikhanov from Uzbekistan and G.Berdimukhamedov on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan – delivered welcome speeches.
The key reporter Prof. V.Dukhovniy summarized many years of SIC’s activity based on the results of observations, analysis, and impact assessment and spoke on a set of structures and measures aimed to reduce the negative effects of drying up of the Aral Sea. He also underlined the lack of financing for as long as seven years needed for monitoring of the dried Aral Sea bed and made relevant proposal in the Congress resolution.
A.Kenshimov in his report presented the results of IFAS work and its Executive Directorate in Kazakhstan on saving and preservation of North Aral Sea. Large synthesis of fauna dynamics in the Aral Sea was presented by N.Aladin, leader of this work from the Zoological Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
A representative of the Nagoya University made an analysis of observations over fisheries in the North Aral Sea and pointed to sustainable fish catch as 7,000-8,000 tons a year, of flatfish mainly. He also highlighted several new challenges related to such growth in catch (i.e. pollution of the water body with residues of fishing nets). Krain Robert paid attention to a need for certification of fish and work with fishermen, particularly in developing a system of their ecological education.
Dr. Sebastian from the Marseilles Center spoke about the companion in misfortune of the Aral Sea – Lake Chad in Africa – that suffers from the lack of political attention to its problems.
G.Stulina presented the results of ten expeditions to the dried bed of the Aral Sea and the data of soil-environmental zoning of landscapes made in terms of their ecological hazard. She showed the unique data resulted from the combined field observations and RS that indicated to almost 250,000 ha of self-organized vegetation, i.e. the area equaling that of artificial plantations. The reporter underlined the importance and an acute need to continue such research so that one could plan measures that would help the nature to survive.
Ye.Arashkevitch from the Oceanology Institute reported on the research, mainly for the Kazakh territory of the Aral Sea that was carried out under the guidance of P.Zavialov and that was in line with the results and future prospects presented by SIC ICWC.
Interesting results of the remote sensing of the Aral Sea were presented by J. Chretien, who offered a new science direction – space hydrology.
On the 26th of May the plenary session was held under the chairmanship of V.Matvienko. Welcoming addresses were read on behalf of the President of Russia V.Putin and the Prime-Minister of Russia D.Medvedev. S.Ivanov, special representative of the President, and G.Poltavchenko, governor of St.Petersburg delivered their messages. Minister of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation S.Donskoy made a report on reformation of environmental law in Russia.
The status of nature conservation was covered by B.Alikhanov for Uzbekistan, S.Plotnikov for Kazakhstan, and A.Felaliev for Tajikistan. Prov. V.Dukhovniy, Director of SIC ICWC made a report on “Water Conservation and Cooperation” dedicated to 25 years of ICWC activity.
Finally, the participants adopted the Outcome Resolution (available on the Congress web-site: ecocongress.info/congress/).