Professor Roman Jashenko gave a guest lecture on UNESCO MAB activities for international students of UCAS

  • Viktoriya Ilina
  • Published: 2018-11-15
  • 626

On November 13, 2018, University of the Academy of Sciences of China hosted a guest lecture by Professor Roman Jashenko (Kazakhstan) on the theme “The UNESCO program “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB)” for international students and university staffs.

Prof Roman Jashenko described the current approaches and achievements of the MAB in global, regional and national (on example of Kazakhstan) scale. At the end of lecture, he gave some conceptual ideas on biosphere-oriented urbanization as developing approach of UNESCO for the future activity. Audience expressed a great interest to the lecture and gave some comments and questions to the lecturer. In next days, Prof. Roman Jashenko was able for meeting with students of the UCAS and discussion of some ideas of his lecture.


Prof Roman Jashenko delivering the lecture

International student proposing questions

 Discussion after lecture

An interview with Prof. Roman Jashenko that was given within his visit UCAS.

- Could you give a description what does UNESCO MAB programme mean?

MAB is a UNESCO intergovernmental scientific program aimed at establishing a scientific basis for improving relations between people and the environment at the local and global level. It is a system of interdisciplinary research aimed at studying the conservation of biological and ecosystem diversity, as well as the relationship between humans and the environment. One of the main activities of the program is the development of a global network of biosphere reserves. The name “MAB” is an abbreviation of the English name of the program “Man and the Biosphere”. Officially, the MAB Program was adopted in 1971 at the XVI session of the General Conference of UNESCO. The governing body of the program is the International Coordination Council (ICC), which consists of 34 states that are regularly re-elected at sessions of the General Conference of UNESCO. Between ICC sessions, the operational management of the MAB program is carried out by the MAB Bureau and Secretariat, which coordinates the activities of the MAB National Committees in each country.

In Kazakhstan, the National Committee MAB was formed in 1978 by the Decree of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan dated July 30, 1978 as part of the Scientific Council on the issue of "Nature conservation and rational use of its resources" in order to coordinate research on the state of the environment and its protection. The first chairman of the IAB committee in Kazakhstan was academician A.N. Ilyaletdinov. After the formation of the National Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan for UNESCO on August 7, 2000, the Kazakhstan MAB Committee became one of the structural units of this commission.

At present, the Kazakhstan National Committee of the MAB carries out its activities on the basis of the “Regulations on the Kazakhstan National Committee of the UNESCO Program“ Man and the Biosphere (MAB) under the National Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan for UNESCO and ISESCO”. The overall goal of the Committee’s activities is to develop a national network of biosphere reserves in the Republic of Kazakhstan, its integration into the global and regional networks of biosphere reserves, analysis and synthesis of international experience in the development of specially protected natural areas, as well as the study of the conservation of biological and ecosystem diversity, the relationship between humans and the environment and the dissemination of environmental knowledge in the framework of the UNESCO program "Man and the Biosphere".

- I heard that last 30th session of the International Coordinating Council was held in the end of July this year. What can you say about session work and current achievements of the UNESCO MAB in this year?

The work of the 30th session of the International Coordinating Council of the UNESCO MAB Program took place over 5 days from July 23 to July 28, 2018. The agenda of this session included reports from the UNESCO MAB Secretariat and regional networks, as well as discussion and decision-making on major issues of this international program in the world. As a result of this session, 24 UNESCO new biosphere reserves received international status and were included in the global network, 2 biosphere reserves were renamed with the expansion of the area, 7 reserves were withdrawn from the global network by the decision of the governments of Australia (5 reserves), the Netherlands and the USA (according to one reserve). Today, the global network consists of 686 biosphere reserves from 122 countries.

Two Kazakhstan national applications prepared by our national MAB committee were also reviewed: Charyn Biosphere Reserve and Zhongar Biosphere Reserve. During the year, both applications successfully passed preliminary assessments made by international experts and were recommended by UNESCO to confirm their high international status. Kazakhstan applications were unanimously approved by the International Council and both reserves were submitted to the UNESCO International Network of Biosphere Reserves. Thus, the list of Kazakhstan's biosphere reserves this year has been expanded by another 2 reserves, and today includes ten national biosphere reserves of UNESCO: Ak-Zhayik, Aksu-Zhabagly, Korgalzhyn, Alakol, Katon-Karagay, Barsakelmes, Karatau, Altyn-Emel, Charyn and Zhongar as well as transboundary biosphere reserve (TBR)“Great Altai”, the first TBR in Asia. The new international status will allow UNESCO's new biosphere reserves to more effectively develop international cooperation, domestic and foreign tourism, as well as become model areas for the successful implementation of sustainable development principles. Giving high international status for 10 Kazakhstan reserves over the past 6 years shows the recognition by UNESCO of the high quality of the modern Kazakhstan system of specially protected natural territories and the importance of preserving biological diversity in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Before the ICC MAB UNESCO session, an international scientific conference was held, the organizing committee of which selected 28 reports and 28 poster presentations. The work was carried out within 4 panel and 4 thematic sessions. At the conference, 3 reports and one poster report prepared by scientists of the Kazakhstan Committee of the MAB and the UNESCO Chair for Sustainable Development of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University were presented.

- You said few words about the first transboundary biosphere reserve in Asian – Great Altai, how it works?

The first transboundary biosphere reserve Great Altai was approved by UNESCO in 2017 in the 29th session of ICC held in Paris. It based on two national biosphere reserves – Katon-Karagay BR (in Kazakhstan) and Katunskiy BR (Russia). The transboundary biosphere reserve management plan was designed in such a way that both national biosphere reserves belonging to a transboundary biosphere reserve worked with a single goal and objectives, using the same work methods, with the same performance evaluation criteria, and also carried out joint activities - research educational, social, protection and so on. To improve management, a bilateral Russian-Kazakhstan coordination council was organized, which included representatives of the administrations of both biosphere reserves, local governments, large land users and public organizations. At the end of November this year in Astana (Kazakhstan) a meeting of the joint Kazakhstan-Russian collaborative commission on development of cooperation will be held, some issues on the cooperation in the TBR Great Altai will be discussed.

- Thank you for your interview! I wish you and your team a success in your work!

- Thank you!


Prof. Roman Jashenko is a chairman of the Kazakhstan National Committee for the UNESCO Program “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB), member of the National Commission of Republic of Kazakhstan on UNESCO and ISESCO, president of the Tethys Scientific Society and Professor of the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. In spite of his broad activity in nature conservation, his main scientific subject is zoology and scientific interests include systematics, fauna, lifestyle and zoogeography of scale insects (Homoptera, Coccoidea); ecology; general zoology; entomology; population biology; biological control of harmful plants; zoological linguistics; natural dyes; biodiversity conservation; theory and practice on specially protected natural territories and Red Data Book. He is an author of more than 140 scientific publications, including some monographs “Insect pests of a tamarisk in South-Eastern Kazakhstan” (2007), “Strict Nature Reserves of Central Asia and Kazakhstan” (2006), “The Wonderful World of Invertebrates” (2005) and others, as well as a member of several scientific societies: Society for Conservation Biology (since 2003), Ukrainian Entomological Society (since 2003), American Entomological Society (since 1997), Tethys Scientific Society (since 1997), etc. He worked as a visiting professor at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (2010-2011, Japan), Kyoto University (2001, 1997, Japan), as well as a visiting researcher at Grassland, Soil and Water Research Lab (ARS-USDA, Temple, Texas, USA, 1996, 2001, 2005, 2006), Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1988–1989), Chief Researcher (2009-2015), and General Director of the Institute of Zoology of Kazakhstan (2013). Prof. Roman Jashenko is a nature photographer, his photos of wild nature were shown in several personal (“Wildlife”, 2005; “Look in the mirror”, 2006, Almaty, Tengri-Umai) and collective photo exhibitions (“Potential biosphere reserves of Kazakhstan”, UNESCO, Paris, May 2013), as well as he is an one of the authors of several documentary films (“Battle for the Northern Aral” 2009, “Why the Aral Sea disappears” 2009, etc.).

Interview by: Viktoriya Ilina