Natalia Komarova, Governor of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra

UGRA AND UNESCO - Partnership for Sustainable Development


The productive work of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation to UNESCO laid a foundation for successful implementation of UNESCO projects and programs in Russia. They aim at promoting the best international practices, improving the quality of life of the Russian people, preserving cultural heritage, developing education, science, information-sharing systems. The Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra carries out such programs. In 2007 a Branch of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO was inaugurated in the Okrug. Assuming obligations to promote UNESCO’s mission  we took into account its priorities when elaborating the Strategy of social and economic development of Ugra till 2020 and for the period till 2030. In particular, we focus on developing human capital, building information society, preserving cultural heritage of indigenous peoples inhabiting Ugra from the earliest times.

In the Autonomus Okrug the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs program has been carrying out. This project enhances the qualiy education, provides an opportunity to compare national approaches to education with other countries’ practice, study international experience of reforming vocational education and training systems, build an education system focused on sustainable development.

 UNESCO Chair “Environment Dynamics and Global Climate Change” was established in 2008 at the Ugra State University. Field station “Mukhrino” of the  UNESCO Chair was included into the international environmental monitoring network SCANNET. Two major UNESCO Chairs’ conferences on education for sustainable development were held in the Okrug. On September 17 - 18, 2009 Khanty-Mansiysk hosted the first International Congress of UNESCO Chairs. During the Congress experts from the Autonomous Okrug had an opportunity to develop their cooperation with the leading Universities of Russia and other countries, to discuss social partnership in education with prominent experts, incorporating new educational ans information technology into the education system. Pursuant to the forum, the Ugorians made their amendments  to the   UNESCO Chairs’ Declaration regarding sustainable development.

The International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development dedicated to the 150th anniversary of great Russian scientist Vernadsky, which took place in the Autonomous Okrug on May 22 – 25, 2013 became another highlight event. The proposals stated in the forum’s declaration laid the basis for  developing the final document of the World Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Japan in 2014. The participants of the conference in Ugra studied domestic and foreign experience in enhancing the role of education in social development. We attracted attention of international and Russian experts to our International Ecological Action “To Save and Preserve.” The experts were also very interested in the projects of the UNESCO Chair at the Ugra State University on “Environment Dynamics and Global Climate Change.”

UNESCO “Information for All” program laid a foundation for international discussion on political, legal, ethical and social issues related to building global information society, as well as for preparing projects aimed at providing universal access to information. The Autonomous Okrug adopted the State program “Information Society” until 2020. Its main goal is to provide equal access of the Ugorians to information resources and government electronic services, regardless of their place of residence, to improve the efficiency of public administration in Ugra.

The Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO supported a number of Okrug-led projects. The international IT-Forum is held in Ugra under the aegis of the Commission. In 2014 the BRICS countries took part in it. Together with UNESCO Moscow Office and with UNESCO financial support, the “Regional multimedia centre of indigenous communities” project was implemented. As a result, two Internet access points were set up on the territory of Surgut Municipal District in traditional residence of the forest Nenets and Yugan Khanty.

In order to extend our cooperation with UNESCO we shall make a presentation of the Autonomous Okrug’s potential at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in 2014. We will also hold a round table on media and information literacy and linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace.

In science I take particular note of the International Hydrological Program that provides an opportunity to study the mechanisms allowing to minimize the dangers that threaten vulnerable water resource systems, including in emergency situations. Today’s integrated approaches to water resource management, the study and preservation of natural and cultural heritage in the regions of the World’s Great Rivers, are more important than ever before. Ugra is the participant of the “Great Rivers” project of the International Hydrological Program.  The International Conference of UNESCO Associated Schools “Ob-Irtysh River Basin: Youth Study and Preserve Natural and Cultural Heritage in the Regions of the World’s Great Rivers” has been held in Ugra since 2008. Over the past six years over 500 students of the Associated Schools from 20 countries attended the forum. We find it important that the Conference is focused on young people. The participants work together to address the problems of preserving natural and cultural heritage through interregional and international cooperation and share experience in environmental and cultural activities, gained from the creation of youth environmental organizations.

Since 2005, the International Ecological Action “To Save and Preserve” has been held under the aegis of UNESCO. The project’s mission meets the goals of the UNESCO “Man and the Biosphere” program,  so it was decided to share the experience of the ecological action with the National Commissions for UNESCO of the CIS countries, and to set up an international interdisciplinary pilot project on sustainable development in Ugra.

UNESCO Associated Schools Network project inspires active and creative school life, promotes the skills and ideals of inter-cultural dialogue, culture of peace, tolerance and respect for human rights. The status of a UNESCO Associated School contributes to the development of Russian educational institutions’ cooperation with their foreign counterparts. The status of a UNESCO Associated School was granted to three educational institutions of the Autonomous Okrug, Mr Berezin, Director of the Boarding school “Center of Art for Gifted Children of the North” was elected Coordinator of the Associated Schools network in the Altai and Siberia region. We expect that in the nearest future the Boarding school will be granted the status of a Center of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC).

I am confident that the partnership of Ugra and UNESCO will continue to develop through the projects focusing on socialization of the youth and also sustainable development of indigenous peoples of the world.