On February 11-17, in the city of Irkutsk and Listvyanka village, the Lake Baikal Foundation organized a field study called «Water Resources Management and Preservation of Lake Baikal» for the third-year bachelor students of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration who are part of «Global сhallenges management» programme.
The internship programme included visiting:
- FSBI ‘Zapovednoye Pribaikalye’
- Research Istitute of Biology, Irkutsk State University
- the Pribaikalsky National Park
- «Baikal Aqua» – Bottled Water Production Plant
- UNESCO Chair of Water Resources at Irkutsk State University
- Irkutsk Hydroelectric Power Station
- and Lake Baikal itself.
After visiting all the organizations students were engaged in a critical discussion of the role of the organizations in the economy of the Irkutsk region and their involvement in the conservation of the unique natural site. Besides, students worked on a group project, studied scientific articles, analyzed, participated in debates and presentations.
The topics covered during the field study were:
- The origin, characteristics and features of the lake and its management;
- natural resources of the region, biodiversity and economic potential;
- the status of the lake as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site;
- the standard of living of the locals and their employment;
- the anthropogenic impact on the lake;
- tourism to lake Baikal, overtourism and sustainable tourism;
- Lake pollution and solutions to the problem;
- Waste management;
- environmental projects of NGO and CSR strategies of businesses;
- impact of climate change on the lake and its inhabitants;
- water quality monitoring;
- conflicts of interest in the management of the Baikal natural area and Lake Baikal;
- governmental documents and programmes on Lake Baikal conservation;
- sustainable lake management.
Students were very satisfied with the trip. Eva Nazarova, a 3rd year student of «Global сhallenges management» programme, writes:
«Our group had the opportunity to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Lake Baikal, what was my long-held dream, and get to know the issues of sustainable management and use of its resources. Moreover, we visited relevant organizations – the Research Institute of Biology, the UNESCO Chair of Water Resources at the Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk Hydroelectric Power Station, and the «Legend of Baikal» – bottled water production plant – to learn how to develop the regions around the lake efficiently. This experience helped us to form our own recommendations on sustainable management of the lake, which I am sure can be applied to other water bodies as well. For me, as an eco-educator, this practice highlighted important thoughts, which I will try to convey to people. The main one is the law formulated by Barry Commoner – ‘Nature knows best’. This provided a basis for understanding how to interact with nature in the age of industrial development – not to get in its way. The moment to avoid global change has passed. Now it is important to adapt to circumstances, not to make things worse, first and foremost for us. This thesis we, as managers of global challenges, will carry to the masses and try to implement it in the production processes! »
Lake Baikal Foundation is a partner of the educational programme ‘Change Management’, which is run by the Institute of Social Sciences of Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.