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A century of protected lands in Russia

Prowling snow leopards, polar bears and Siberian tigers roam across the largest country in the world, honouring the Russian Federation’s Year of Ecology and Protected Areas.


Covering 10 percent of global terrestrial land, Russia’s diversity is immense – it is home to icy tundra, Europe’s tallest mountain (Mount Elbrus), arid deserts and deep lakes. In December, UN Environment Moscow office co-organized a round table in the KostRoma region on ‘Conservation of environmental infrastructure of protected areas and their role in environmental education and awareness raising’.


The two main conclusions drawn from this event were the need to increase environmental education and to inform decision-makers about successful sustainable practices. Plans to film and document the Kostroma Agriculture Research and Development Institute and ‘Sumarokovsky’ State National Reserve are now in motion.


Having reached a huge milestone – celebrating over 100 years of land protection – Russia continues to look after its natural environment. According to Vsevolod Stepanitsky, Deputy Director of the country’s Department of State Policy and Regulation for Environmental Protection, Russia plans to open 11 new national parks by 2020.


UN Environment’s Patron of the Ocean, Lewis Pugh, has also joined efforts to protect the country’s natural landscape. For instance, in September last year he swam in the icy depths of Lake Baikal to raise public awareness of the need for its protection. The event reached national newspapers and amplified the message that the Russian Federation’s lakes are extremely important.


This year, the Russian Federation is hoping to increase the number of visitors to their National Parks to celebrate nature and its beauty. This ties in with this year’s theme for UN Environment’s World Environment Day - connecting people with nature.


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