Main UNESCO activities in Yugra

Education, culture, environment, information environment - these are the areas of cooperation between the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra and UNESCO. This spectrum reveals how many people of different generations, professional and social interests and residence are involved in humanitarian programs that link many countries. Let us present and summarize the highlight events and activities under the auspices of UNESCO, which have become significant for the development of the Okrug today. 


         The Conference of the UNESCO Associated Schools “The Ob-Irtysh Basin: Youth Studies and Preserves the Natural and Cultural Heritage in the Regions of the Great Rivers of the World” (UNESCO project "Great Rivers")


         Two major Siberian rivers - Ob and Irtysh merge on the Okrug's territory. The abundance of rivers, lakes and wetland water reservoirs create natural balance that feeds the biosphere of this Russian region and the entire planet. The problem of use, development and conservation of such a gift should be recognized from youth. This is why the Ob-Irtysh basin, together with others became the ground for scientific and practical youth fora, which bring together like-minded people from around the globe.

         The Annual International Conference of UNESCO Associated Schools dedicated to water problems has been held in Khanty-Mansiysk since 2008. Its organizers - the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO and the Government of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra. Students of the UNESCO Associated Schools in Russia, neighboring and far abroad countries are participants of the conference.

         The representation of the Conference is really breathtaking. So far, since 2008 the event has been attended by 554 participants including students of associated schools from 27 countries (Estonia, Latvia, Tajikistan, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Hungary, Finland, Ukraine, Mongolia, China, Poland, Brazil, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Russia). Russia, in its turn, was represented by 12 subjects of the Federation (Republic of Bashkortostan, Primorsky Krai, Udmurt Republic, Omsk region, Sverdlovsk region, Moscow, Krasnodar, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra, Voronezh region, Kostroma region, Republic of Khakassia). 2008-2014 conferences were attended by 32 UNESCO experts and representatives.

         Imagine the amount of information, problems, ideas, collected in the Conference proceedings including research findings, reviews of water resources, projects that are associated with both the local icy ground waters near native village and the problem of fresh water for the whole of humanity. The delegates of the conference take active part in the work of research laboratories, attend educational institutions and enterprises, get acquainted with culture, traditions and sights of Ugra. In addition to plenary sessions, round tables, sections and exhibits there are water trips, competitions of socially important environmental projects, cultural programs, sports events. Creative thinking is improved in the simulation and role-playing strategy games where a team of associates face models of water management threats and offer solutions of these problems. Besides, voluntary Saturday work (or Subbotnik in Russian) with the purpose to clean water channels and the coast is also the direct practical contribution.

         So the youth forges the willingness and skills to save natural and cultural heritage of their regions. At the same time, there comes better understanding of each other across borders, continents and seas, use of valuable experience and cooperation.

         The resolutions of the conferences develop forward-looking energy and efficiency of the youth.


         All-Russian Research-to-Practice Conference "Environmental education and education for sustainable development"


         Adults do not stand on the sidelines. Since 2006, Ugra holds All - Russian research-to-practice conference "Environmental education and education for sustainable development."

         In 2012, this conference was held in the framework of the Decade on Education for Sustainable Development, endorsed by the UN General Assembly. The conference was organized by the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, the International Association "The Northern Forum", the Government of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra, the Institute of Globalization and Sustainable Development, the Scientific Council for Environmental Education to the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Education, the Center for Environmental Policy and Culture.

         The conference brought together leading scientists and teachers of Russia, representatives of federal and regional executive authorities, educational and research institutions, civil society organizations and municipalities of the Autonomous Okrug, representatives of UNESCO and international experts. They developed the strategies for further improvement of education for sustainable development at international, federal, regional and local levels, and for the development of international and inter-regional cooperation in this field.

         There were 19 events during the conference including: Plenary session "Education for sustainable development: the world, Russia, Ugra"; discussion platforms; The extended Bureau of the Scientific Council on Environmental Education to the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences; master classes.

         The conference adopted proposals and recommendations.


         The International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development 


         Today it is a high priority topic. On May 21-25, 2013 Khanty-Mansiysk hosted the second international conference, attended by 110 representatives from 15 countries, including professionals and experts from the Russian Federation, UNESCO, UNICEF, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, UNESCO Chairs of the Russian Federation and foreign countries, Russian and the Autonomous Okrug’s universities.

         The conference was aimed to formulate the principles and key actions for the promotion of education for sustainable development using the experience and capacity of the world academic community. UNESCO saw it as an important preparatory step for the major international event - the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development to be held in Japan in 2014. Khanty-Mansiysk declaration adopted by the conference laid the basis for the development of the final document of the World Conference in 2014, which will sum up the achievements and experience of the ESD Decade. The participants and the public were acquainted with the best foreign and Russian practices. It also includes the achievements of the Autonomous Okrug, as well as the activity of the UNESCO Chair of Ugra State University, "The dynamics of the environment and global climate change."

         A number of activities and projects are carried out under the auspices of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO.


         Ist International Congress of the traditional artistic culture: the problems of fundamental research of folk art


         The Congress was held from 26 to 29 November 2011 in Khanty-Mansiysk with the support of the Government of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra. The Department of Culture of the Okrug and the Okrug's "Center of folk arts and crafts" organized the event.

         It was initiated by the scientific conferences of the Festival of Finno-Ugric Peoples (2000 - 2010). It was necessary to analyze and summarize academic and university studies and their impact on practical decisions of cultural and educational administration as well as the production sector.
         Academicians, researchers, community leaders, government agencies from Hungary, Finland, Canada, Uzbekistan, Belarus, the People's Republic of China, as well as 26 subjects of Russia expressed their interest in this Congress. The meeting brought together 480 participants from abroad and the Russian Federation: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Tyumen and Arkhangelsk regions, republics of the Volga and others. The final resolution of the Congress sparked great interest among cultural and educational communities. 


         7th International festival of crafts of the world's indigenous people "Ugra-2012"

         The festival was held in Khanty-Mansiysk, on June 8-16, 2012 and was intended to revive and develop the best traditions of craftsmanship in Russia and abroad. It brought together representatives of Russia, Finland, Serbia and Croatia - specialists - demographers, critics, designers, cultural studies scholars, methodists of folk art as well as masters, painters and craftsmen in many areas of traditional arts. Therefore, research-to-practice conferences and scientific seminars of the centers' managers alternated with master classes, dedicated to various types, genres and technologies of crafts (67 sessions). Children's programme "Courtyard" - with a crafts fair, included a lot of breathtaking skillful garments and utensils, tools and jewelry. The fair was accompanied by the competition of the best expositions, exhibitions and presentations of regions: Yamal, Perm, Serbia, Finland, Tobolsk, Mordovia. The contest "The Best Production" and nominations for folk art awards (53 masters) were carried out near the expositions. 

         The conference was aimed at life creative communication between the scientists (Lomonosov Moscow State University, the University of St. Petersburg and Khanty-Mansiysk, the Moscow Stroganov Art and Industry Academy, Russian Academy of Arts, and others) and traditional folk craft culture bearers from forest, riverine and coastal "deaf corners". The goal is to make sure that in the modern world there is no more "deaf corners" for culture.


         The International Environmental Project "Children’s crafts Contest-exhibition "The Red Book through the eyes of children"


         The project has been conducted under the auspices of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO in Ugra since 2010.

         Children and Nature - is an extremely sensitive and important topic for the future. What the formation of ecological culture and active life position of the younger generation starts with? How to make them feel a lifelong sympathy for our "smaller brothers" on the planet, plants and animals that are threatened by the reduction or destruction due to the expansion of technological progress or the denial of the nature's vulnerability? Everything is important, even small details. The values education for children from different countries and regions including responsibility for maintaining the natural and cultural diversity really matters. How to study, how to understand and feel what stands for the small and large Motherland, for the continuity of the planetary biosphere? Schooling and artistic creativity, emotional impact of literature, painting, fairy tales, and finally, direct contacts with pets... Knowledge of flora and fauna, links of natural complexes that are in need of sustainable development ... These ideas and skills develop from the children's surprise to conscious and skillful actions for the conservation of green spaces and animal populations...

         This is the reason why the project's organizers - Department of the Environment of the Autonomous Okrug, Department of Culture of the Autonomous Okrug, Department of Education and Youth Policy of the Autonomous Okrug, Public Relations Department of the Autonomous Okrug – brought together school college students, young students of art schools and, of course, young enthusiasts of environmental clubs (age of participants range from 6 to 17 years old).

         The project was launched in the village Talinka (Oktyabrsky district of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra). For three years the project has developed from rural to international level of competition. More than 5000 children between 6 and 17 years old from 64 regions of Russia, from Hungary, Ukraine, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Finland sent their works to the contest. They were assessed in three age categories: 6-10 years old, 11-14 years old and 15-17 years old. Winners were awarded with diplomas of laureates as well as diplomas of I, II and III degrees.

         In 2013 these crafts were exposed in famous cultural and educational institutions:

- Museum of Geology, Oil and Gas, Khanty-Mansiysk;

- Ethnographic open-air museum "Torum Maa", Khanty-Mansiysk;

- Museum of Man and Nature, Khanty-Mansiysk;

- Khanty ethnographic museum, Lyantor;

- Museum and cultural center, Niagan;

- Museum and Resource Center, Noyabrsk;

- State Darwin Museum, Moscow.

            Therefore, the world of children is becoming inseparable from the adults' world that is from the humanitarian and civilized perception of nature and man.


         International IT-Forum


It is necessary to pay tribute to the development of the information technology. IT-Forum is held annually under the auspices of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, the International Association "The Northern Forum", the International “European Computer Driving License Foundation."

         The 6th IT-Forum was held in June 2014 with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation. The event was organized by the Government of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra, Tomsk Oblast Administration, the Chamber of Commerce of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra, the Public Chamber of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra.
         The Forum brought together 1500 participants from 32 entities of the Russian Federation and 19 countries including all BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), the Republic of Benin, the Republic of Cape Verde, Comoros, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Paraguay, the Republic of Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Belarus.

         The participants discussed development of information technologies in public services, health, education, culture and life safety. The final document i.e. the Declaration of Ugra Forum includes the following provisions:
- development of long-term strategic cooperation between the BRICS countries;
- establishment of the Council of Regions of BRICS countries to develop and coordinate direct inter-regional relations;

- exchange of experiences of e-government functioning and of public services supply through the IT;

- IT development in social sector including health, education and culture;

- use of innovative and investment technologies in IT sector;

- application of IT to ensure human safety and emergency management.

         Computer, the Internet, mobile telephony, online distance learning are becoming common practice not only in the "advanced" urban centers, but also in the most remote corners of taiga and tundra. Ugra stands at the forefront of the progress in the information age.