On June 25-20, 2017 the 6th Global Botanical Gardens Congress “Botanical Gardens in the Society: Visions for the Future” was held in Geneva, Switzerland on 25-30 June 2017. This is the only global and representative scientific forum of intellectual leaders and real achievements of world botanical gardens, which main aim of protection and conservation of the global biodiversity.
The Congress aimed at highlighting an economic model of BGCI for 2015-2020 and strategic plan for ex situ/in situ conservation of the plan collections: management, implementing innovative projects, plant conservation policy, practice and education for the wide society, coordination of opportunities, financial provision.
The 6th Global Botanical Gardens Congress was dedicated to the 200th anniversary from establishment of Geneva Botanical Garden and 30th anniversary of BGCI. For the first time, working languages of the Global Congress was English and French. The Congress was held at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) and Geneva Botanical Garden. Congress Budget comprised 600 000 Swiss Franc, from which 300 000 was generated from participants’ registration fees, whereas 200 000 – was allocated by the City Hall of Swiss Confederation and Geneva City, whereas 100 000 was funded by the sponsors.
Main topic of the Global Congress 2017 was elaboration of the scheme for settling the problems currently representing a basis for the World Botanical Gardens, covering the following directions:
1. Science for the society: Visions for the future, science for society. How can Botanical Gardens apply the scientific knowledge for solving “Big Problems”?
2. Preserving Plant Diversity
What guarantees are provided by the Botanical Gardens for maintaining plant species, live plant collections and seed banks; sharing of practical knowledge, ex situ and in situ conservation in relation to global strategies of the plant conservation (GSPC); the role of taxonomy in the plant preservation; Botanical Gardens and their role in preservation of cultivated plants; ecological restoration and re-formation; role of genetics – coding and preservation.
3. Education and Support
How can Botanical Garden communicate? Delegation for solving big problems; exhibition and museum approaches; education; academic programs; strengthening of the potential; Botanical gardens and attraction of the society; the role of the social networks and digital data; civic education and Botanical Gardens – trends and projects; achievements of the new audience: children and adults; sharing knowledge and cooperation; solidarity among the Botanical Gardens.
4. Management problems:
The ways of applying new management technologies and approaches by the Botanical Gardens; collection management system, steady management for the future; environmentally friendly Botanical Gardens: waste, energy, resources and infrastructure; international policy and legislation; IPEN and CITES protocol introduction; collection policy; instruction and management of visitors: ways of preventing plants damage and theft in Botanical Gardens.
How can Botanical Gardens express the visions with landscapes and design; innovative ideas for highlighting plant collections; presenting a natural environment in Botanical Gardens; new ways of approaching historical and ancestral, patrimonial collections; Botanical gardens as open institution – accessibility; exhibitions, introducing art in the Botanical Gardens.
Each sphere was directed towards individual participants, BGCI, at the involvement level of the committees, scientific institutions, and international environmental governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The organizers of Global Congress of Botanical Gardens gave a chance to the Union of Botanical Gardens, Garden experts, pedagogues, various communicators of the society, directors and managers of sharing experience, as well as implementing joint surveys, development of visions and future implementation of the specific actions.
Scientific Program of the Congress was focused on the issue of settling economic problems by the Botanical Gardens: food safety; lack of water; health; energy; loss of biodiversity; climate changes. Main topics of the congress included preservation of biodiversity, supporting education, management of the botanical gardens with new innovative approaches, implementation of joint projects. These issues were settled during the workshops, seminars and discussions.
The 6th Global Botanical Gardens Congress was represented with 600 delegates and 200 speeches from 70 countries. The participants were basically represented by the leaders of Botanical Gardens, chairing Plenary Sessions, Symposiums, Seminars, public discussion of the problems and strategic counseling, as well committee sessions and satellite meetings.
At the Congress, Georgian Delegation was represented by the Director of National Botanical Garden of Georgia Tamaz Darchidze, Deputy Director in Scientific Issues, Doctor of Biological Sciences Ms. Tinatin Barblishvili and Head of Plant Conservation Department, Academic Doctor in Biology Ms. Tsira Pantsulia. National Botanical Garden of Georgia presented four poster presentations. On the second day of the Congress, Ms. Tinatin Barblishvili made an oral presentation at the second session in the direction of preserving plant diversity upon the project outcomes on conservation of the plant diversity and seed bank.
From Batumi Botanical Garden, Head of Exotic Plant Collection Department, Academic Doctor in Biology Ms. Julieta Jaleki made a poster presentation “Main Principles of developing ligneous plant collection included in the IUCN at Batumi Botanical Garden”, which created a huge interest in view of developing scientific and practical basis of the collection and its multifunctional application.
Symposiums, seminars, workshops, round table discussions were organized during the Congress. The delegates were enabled to get introduced with the presentations delivered by world known Congress Speakers.
Recent researches of the plant global IUCN red list were discussed at the seminar and the data served as sharing of valuable experience upon progressive and successful methods in view of evaluating the species, habitats and ecosystems at the edge of extinction and ex-situ/in-situ conservation in the Botanical Gardens. On June 27 a Campaign with the name “Tree of Tuesday” was held. The aim of the discussion was defining the capacity and challenges of the trees and plants in the Botanical gardens.
Congress organizers enabled the participants to participate in various cultural events: visiting Geneva Botanical Garden, Ethno-Botanical Exhibition, and Rampart Alpine Botanical Garden located in the magnificent natural complex, Swiss Alps at 2000 meters from the sea. The collection of Rampart Alpine Botanical Garden is represented with 1000 plant species.
The Director of Denver Botanical Garden Doctor Sarad Krishnan, Plant Collection Chain Manager of US Public Gardens Association Pamela Alestim, Conservation Assistant of Intentional Board of Botanical Gardens Emily Beech, Deputy Director of Nance Botanical Garden, France Katya Astafieva.
The 6th Global Botanical Gardens Congress enabled us to get introduced with innovative, conceptual approaches for introduction of the innovations, management of documented collections, methods for struggling the species at the edge of extinction, supporting the education for the wide society.
And finally, for your information: on May 22-25, 2018 a significant international conference shall be held in Vienna, with the name “Global Genome Biodiversity Network”.
On September 9-14 BGCI’s 10th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens “Education at the Botanical Gardens” shall be held in Warsaw, Poland.
The 7th Global Botanical Gardens Congress shall be held in Australia in 2020.