Climate and Environment Year for the Trianon Dialogue

7 March 2020

March 7th-9th, the Russian-French Trianon Dialogue held a series of events in Paris and Moscow and launched the central topic of the forum for 2020 «Climate and Environment».

The Russian Director and TV presenter E. Gracheva gave a talk in Paris about her new documentary film, «For Father in Antarctica» which relates the history of the Russian exploration of Antartica. The European premiere of the film unfolded on March 7th at the Russian Film Festival in Paris in the framework of a program dedicated to environmental and climate problems in the world.

The Director noted that if Mikhail Lazarev and Thaddeus Bellingshausen discovered Antarctica, the first Russians to step on the continent were members of the Soviet Antarctic expedition of 1955-1957. On the night of January 5th, 1956, the flagship of the integrated Antarctic expedition, the diesel electric ship Ob, reached the coast of Antarctica after a two-month trip.

The first to reach the ice was the inventor and engineer Igor Grachev, age 27. His archive consisting of over 2500 negatives, about a dozen photo albums, diaries, letters and radiograms was used by his daughter to create the film.

The participants of the Parisian film premiere watched with enthusiasm the film, during which the famous polar explorers described the dramatic fates of those who participated in the first Antarctic expedition in the mid-1950s. Indeed some of the pioneers didn’t make it back home. 19-year-old Ivan Khmara died when his tractor went under the ice when unloading the Ob. In all, over 40 Russian explorers are buried near the coast of Antarctica.

The movie theater Le Balzac near the Champs Elysees where the film was shown also houses an exhibition of rare photographs of her father. The conquest of the poles is comparable to space exploration and the explorers should be remembered, noted V. Mikheev, the Rector of the Russian State Hydrometeorological University. The scientist thanked E. Gracheva for telling this truly exciting story of a heroic expedition.

The Rector also noted that 2020 is in Russia the Year of Antarctica, which commemorates the 200th anniversary of its discovery by the Russian sailors Bellingshausen and Lazarev. Explorers had been looking for the southern land since the 16th century and the Russian sailors discovered Antarctica on January 16th (28th), 1820, when they approached the Bellingshausen ice shelf. The exploration process was continued later by participants of the Soviet expedition.

The discussion of environmental issues in Paris continued with an expert round table discussion «Polar Worlds, the Future of the Planet». Among those participating were the polar explorer, member of several Arctic expeditions Christian de Marliave, the author of the book «Polar Worlds» M. Mered and the geographer, head of the Europe-Eurasia Research Center at INALCO Jean Radvani.

March 9th, by video conference between Moscow and Paris, Russian and French experts compared different approaches to the preservation of biodiversity and discussed the prospects for further bilateral and multilateral cooperation, including within the framework of the World Congress on Nature Conservation 2020.

The meeting was kicked off by the co-chairs of the Trianon dialogue: MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov and Ambassador Pierre Morel. The Rector presented the main areas of work of the Trianon Dialogue and the suggestions made for the development of the Forum for 2020 by the Russian side.

Jean-Francois Sylvain, the President of the Biodiversity Research Fund, described the main goals for the preservation of biodiversity. The curator of the French Pavilion at the World Congress for the Conservation of Nature in Marseille, Nicolas Beriot, underlined the importance of the event to consolidate civil society and raise its awareness about environmental problems.

On the Russian side, the President of the Zapovednoe Embassy Foundation, the curator of the Russian pavilion at the World Conservation Congress Natalya Danilina, the Director of WWF Russia’s biodiversity conservation program Dmitry Gorshkov, the Scientific Director of the VNII Ecology Institute, Academician Alexander Solovyanov, the Director of the Center for Ecology and Forest Productivity at the Russian Academy of Sciences Natalya Lukina, the Director of the Representative Office of the Russian State Hydrometeorological University in Moscow Yuri Sychev, the Rector of the Baikal State Natural Biosphere Reserve Vasily Sutula, the Director of the Sochi National Park Pavel Khotsenko took part in the event.

Natalia Danilina described some of the most promising projects of the Zapovednik foundation: a volunteer center, eco-tourism and preparing the
Russian pavilion for the World Conservation Congress. Norilsk Nickel is a partner of the pavilion and work is sponsored by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, as well as the Federal Agencies for Tourism and for Protected Areas.

Pavel Khotsenko gave a detailed account about Sochi National Park’s participation in biodiversity conservation programs.

Vasily Sutula emphasized the need to support civil society in dealing with biodiversity conservation issues and suggested some directions for cooperation with nature reserves in France.

Dmitry Gorshkov described the six strategic spheres of WWF’s work in Russia, underlining the work done in programs dealing with the Arctic.

Natalya Lukina spoke about sustainable forest management, the conservation of forest ecosystems, forestry development strategy and the conservation of biodiversity.

Alexander Solovyanov gave a talk on the conservation of rare species, the restoration of spoiled lands and the way to assess the «ecological footprint» of new technologies.

Yuri Sychev noted that increasing Arctic temperatures, environmental pollution and the growing «technological load» of the Arctic are all causes for concern.

The event was attended on the French side by the President of the Biodiversity Research Fund Jean-Francois Sylvain, the Representative of the National Forest Management Agency Pauline Camus, the Head of the Research Center for the Biodiversity Research Fund Aurelie Delaveau, the Senior Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations Aleksander Rankovic, the Director of the WWF France biodiversity conservation program Christine Sur, the curator of the French pavilion at Everyone congressional preservation Nicolas Beriot, the Director for European and International Relations of the National Museum of Natural History Denis Duclos, the Director for European and International Relations of the National Bureau for Biodiversity Cyril Barneriat, the Vice-President of the National Association for the Promotion of Sustainable Development Goals «Ecological Factory» Lucille Schmidt and the Director of Higher Education at the Institute of Oceanography of Paris.

Christine Sure spoke about WWF France’s mission and the international sharing of best practices.

Lucille Schmidt made a proposal to discuss the impact of climate change on biodiversity, and described some of the youth initiatives to increase «environmental awareness» in France.

Jean-Francois Sylvain underlined the importance of preserving biodiversity in cities, shared his views on the problem of urban pollution, the transition to a new level of agriculture and issues of agro-ecology.

As the conference came to a close, the sides agreed to deepen their collaboration and to foster closer contacts between experts of both countries by organizing a series of events on the issues discussed.

— See the MGIMO web-site for russian version

Climate and Environment Year for the Trianon Dialogue