Association of Lake Regions has been created

The signing of the Memorandum on the establishment of the Association of Lake Regions addressing issues of environmental safety, innovative technologies, science, art and education took place in the Government of Irkutsk region. The document was signed by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Angara region Andrey Kryuchkov, acting Minister of Natural Resources of the Republic of Buryatia Yuri Safyanov and Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Altai Irina Lozovaya.

The text of the Memorandum reads:

Freshwater lakes of the Earth are a unique and invaluable source of life and repository of surface water. Lakes play an important role in the economic, environmental, aesthetic, cultural and educational development of regions. They are inspiring and spiritually enriching, relieve people of emotional stress and ennoble our thoughts, feelings and actions.

All over the world, we can see the growing concern and apprehension of people with the problems of pollution, shallowing and the death of lakes. A sad example of irreparable loss is the shallowing of such global water reservoirs as the Aral Sea, the Dead Sea and Lake Chad. Thousands of large and small lakes disappeared from the face of the Earth during the twentieth century. This negative trend continues to this day. By 2040 the world population will increase to 9 billion people and demand for water resources will increase by 30 percent. World reserves of fresh lake water amount to 123,000 km3. The bulk of the Russian fresh water – 26,000 km3 is accumulated in 16 largest lakes (Baikal, Ladoga, Onega, Teletskoye, etc.). The share of Lake Baikal alone accounts for 88% of the total fresh water supply of Russia. In this regard, the task of preserving of the world largest lakes for future generations, including this unique body of water, increases.

Today we are witnessing the violation of harmony in the relationships between lakes and people. In most countries and regions the scale of exploitation of lakes exceeds any acceptable norms and limits, creating environmental problems, reduction of biological productivity and imposing threat of degradation. The unique historical and cultural heritage of lake regions is rapidly disappearing. The humankind continues to move in the direction opposite to environmental protection and husbandry. The existing economic development model is yet unable to reverse these destructive processes in order to radically change the environmental situation on the planet and provide for long-term sustainable and harmonious development. Human impact on the biosphere of lakes has resulted into an environmental catastrophe on a global scale. Its consequences affect the quality of life and health of people and social and economic development in lake regions and disrupt the functioning of the entire natural environment. A broader elaboration of measures concerning restoration, rational use and protection of lakes is urgently required. For the implementation of sustainable environmental development of lake regions a transition to a “Green Economy” is desired, which takes into account the limited natural resources and their ability to replicate, optimises the use of resources and, therefore, increases the overall efficiency of business activities and life quality. In order to avoid environmental degradation of lakes, which often leads to growing social tension, it is necessary to increase the responsibility for the management of water and biological resources of lakes.

Taking the above into consideration, the participants of the Baikal Ecological Water Forum 2017:

- confirm the exceptional importance of lakes and their resources in the sustainable development of lake regions;

- welcome the Baikal Ecological Water Forum 2017 and the establishment of the International Association of Lake Regions;

- express deep concern about the deteriorating condition of many lakes in the world;

- recognise the importance of combining the efforts of public institutions, non-governmental organisations, educational and research institutions, business communities and cultural educational organisations in order to draw attention to the problems of lake regions and work together to eliminate them;

- understand the need of the commitment of government institutions, international and non-governmental organizations, civil society as well as academic and business communities to ensure a civilised behaviour in lake regions and compliance with the requirements of environmental legislation;

- placing specific emphasis on the scientific validity in the course of decision-making concerning the resource management and industrial planning in lake regions.

- endeavours to improve the level of environmental culture and education of the lake regions’ population with a focus on the younger generation;

- facilitation of the introduction of innovative technologies and systems of wastewater treatment for municipal and industrial sectors;

- expansion of scientific and educational cooperation between universities, limnologic centres and institutes;

- systemic approach in addressing issues of waste disposal and recycling;

- increase of the relevance and effectiveness of environmental monitoring of water quality and fishery resources; supporting the development of public environmental control; assisting state agencies in more effective forecasting of changes and decision-making associated with protection and restoration of lakes;

- development of socially responsible eco-tourism and scientific and educational tourism;

- strengthening public-private partnerships in addressing environmental challenges in lake areas;

- broadening and deepening of international partnerships in the area of conservation and development of water resources of lakes;

- supporting the creation of the International Association of Lake Regions.

The participants of the Forum recommend these steps to facilitate more effective development of lake regions within an environmentally sustainable process for the benefit of present and future generations.
It was announced during the signing ceremony that the Memorandum remains open for signing. It is known that the establishment of the Association of Lake Regions received support from Zabaykalsky Krai, Karelia, Leningrad region, certain regions of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Italy as well as some interested international organisations from Switzerland. In addition, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation, the United Nations Environment Programme, the
Convention on Transboundary Waters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the World Healthcare Organisation as well as international environmental associations and enterprises and limnologic universities and centres intend to support this initiative of the Governor of Irkutsk region Sergey Levchenko.


Опубликовано: 13 September 2017