World Day for combating desertification and drought is marked on Monday. As the press service of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources reported, desertification is a global ecological, social and economic problem. In view of this, in 1996 more than 170 states signed a UN Convention on combating desertification.
In Russia, desertification results in the appearance of quicksands. Globally, the process also eats resources of fertile lands.
According to experts, desertification processes are already going or may possibly start in the future on about one hundred million hectares of land in thirty-five constituents of the Russian Federation, The most dangerous situation in this respect in Russia has arisen in Kalmykia (in the south). In aridity, this territory is second to the Central Asian deserts. The degradation of the lands in Kalmykia has resulted in the appearance of Europe's first anthropogenic desert with quicksands.
By now an inter-departmental working group has been set up under the aegis of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources. The group representing ministries concerned deals with issues related to Russia's joining the UN Convention to combat desertification. Its scope of responsibility also includes developing a national programme to combat this problem in the Russian Federation.
Mysterious philanthropist, Rustem Magdeev, had agreed, at his own expense, to donate a sculpture of Rudolf Nureyev, made by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, to the Kazan Opera and Ballet Theatre