Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Capacity Building
Credibility of the World Heritage ...
Inscriptions on the World Heritage ...
International Assistance
List of World Heritage in Danger
Operational Guidelines
Outstanding Universal Value
Periodic Reporting
Reinforced Monitoring
Tentative Lists
Working methods and tools
World Heritage Convention

2025 25 GA
2025 47 COM
2024 46 COM
2023 24 GA
2023 45 COM
2023 18 EXT.COM
2022 17 EXT.COM
2021 16 EXT.COM
2021 23 GA
2021 44 COM
2021 15 EXT.COM
2020 14 EXT.COM
2019 13 EXT.COM
2019 22 GA
2019 43 COM
2018 42 COM
2017 12 EXT.COM
2017 21 GA
2017 41 COM
2016 40 COM
2015 11 EXT.COM
2015 20 GA
2015 39 COM
2014 1 EXT.GA
2014 38 COM
2013 19 GA
2013 37 COM
2012 36 COM
2011 10 EXT.COM
2011 18 GA
2011 35 COM
2010 34 COM
2010 9 EXT.COM
2009 17 GA
2009 33 COM
2008 32 COM
2007 16 GA
2007 8 EXT.COM
2007 31 COM
2006 30 COM
2005 15 GA
2005 29 COM
2005 29 BUR
2004 7 EXT.COM
2004 7 EXT.BUR
2004 28 COM
2004 28 BUR
2003 14 GA
2003 27 COM
2003 27 BUR
2003 6 EXT.COM
2002 26 COM
2002 26 BUR
2001 25 COM
2001 25 EXT.BUR
2001 5 EXT.COM
2001 13 GA
2001 25 BUR
2000 24 COM
2000 24 EXT.BUR
2000 24 BUR(SPE)
2000 24 BUR
1999 23 COM
1999 23 EXT.BUR
1999 4 EXT.COM
1999 12 GA
1999 3 EXT.COM
1999 23 BUR
1998 22 COM
1998 22 EXT.BUR
1998 22 BUR
1997 21 COM
1997 21 EXT.BUR
1997 2 EXT.COM
1997 11 GA
1997 21 BUR
1996 20 COM
1996 20 EXT.BUR
1996 20 BUR
1995 19 COM
1995 19 EXT.BUR
1995 10 GA
1995 19 BUR
1994 18 COM
1994 18 EXT.BUR
1994 18 BUR
1993 17 COM
1993 17 EXT.BUR
1993 9 GA
1993 17 BUR
1992 16 COM
1992 16 BUR
1991 15 COM
1991 8 GA
1991 15 BUR
1990 14 COM
1990 14 BUR
1989 13 COM
1989 7 GA
1989 13 BUR
1988 12 COM
1988 12 BUR
1987 11 COM
1987 6 GA
1987 11 BUR
1986 10 COM
1986 10 BUR
1985 9 COM
1985 5 GA
1985 9 BUR
1984 8 COM
1984 8 BUR
1983 7 COM
1983 4 GA
1983 7 BUR
1982 6 COM
1982 6 BUR
1981 5 COM
1981 1 EXT.COM
1981 5 BUR
1980 3 GA
1980 4 COM
1980 4 BUR
1979 3 COM
1979 3 BUR
1979 2 BUR
1978 2 GA
1978 2 COM
1978 1 BUR
1977 1 COM
1976 1 GA

Decision 23 BUR IV.B.38
Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

At its twenty-second session, the Bureau was informed that a number of laws for the national protection of the Lake existed and that the Duma had adopted the Federal Law on «The Protection of the Baikal Lake» which was, however, vetoed by the President. The Federal Law had been tabled for a third reading in the Duma, taking into account comments made by the President’s intervention. The Russian authorities had not come to any conclusions regarding the re-profiling of the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill at Baikalsk, one of the main polluters of the Lake. The Observer of the Russian Delegation was of the view that the unresolved legal status, continuing and increasing pollution, lack of resources for management and monitoring, and logging and other negative factors seriously threatened Lake Baikal. He was of the view that the State Party would not oppose the site’s declaration as World Heritage in Danger.

At its twenty-second extraordinary session in November 1998, the Bureau was informed that the Baikal Law was being revised due to the need to include financial measures to implement the Law. Both the Region of Irkutsk and the Buryat Republic were contributing to the revision of the Law and the revised draft was due to be approved by the Duma by the end of 1999. The Minister for Economy had proposed that international bids might have to be called for transforming the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill. However, no solution had been finalised yet and closing the mill would aggravate the social problems of the region. Despite financial problems monitoring of the site was underway. IUCN informed the Bureau that it does not recommend the inclusion of Lake Baikal in the List of World Heritage in Danger at present. The Committee, at its last session noted the Bureau’s deliberations and recommendations on Lake Baikal described above. It expressed its serious concerns about the problems facing the site and reiterated its requests made at the time of the inscription of the site, particularly the urgent need to re-profile the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill and adopt the Baikal Law.

The Bureau noted that the UNESCO Office Moscow, in consultation with the Centre and the Division for Ecological Sciences, organized on 9 March 1999 a workshop on the Baikal Law. Meanwhile, the Law was passed by the Duma, has been signed by the President of the Russian Federation and entered into force with its publication beginning May 1999. The Governmental Baikal Commission held an extraordinary meeting on 13 May 1999 to decide on next steps to be taken to implement the law. At the same occasion, the Commission made the request to the Federal Government that the Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office becomes a member of the Commission, referring to the World Heritage status of Lake Baikal.  The UNESCO Moscow Office informed the Centre that the 14th session of the Baikal Commission met on 28 June 1999 with 28 representatives from regional authorities, scientific institutions and NGOs. The Commission discussed (a) threats to the Baikal ecosystem in relation to the law; (b) the water level of the lake and (c) the GEF Biodiversity project. The item of the Pulp and Paper Mill was postponed to await a report ordered by the Irkutsk region. The Centre has received information from Greenpeace, that the “Irkutsk administration is trying to reduce the area of Baikal National Park”. This proposed reduction would be 110,000 ha, which would be 25% of this portion of the site.

IUCN commended the adoption of the Baikal Law by the Duma and the President of the Russia Federation. However, IUCN raised concerns that some important conservation issues are not contained in the latest version. IUCN noted the need for a clearer focus on what are prohibited or reduced activities.  IUCN welcomed the special fund for Lake Baikal and the need to allocate funds for the management of the site. IUCN continued to be concerned about impacts of the pulp and paper mill operating in proximity of the site and noted that it should be reprofiled. Recent reports on a proposed reduction of the total area of the World Heritage site should be verified.

The Observer of Finland informed the Bureau, that contrary to some reports from NGOs, the Paper Mill is not owned by a Finnish company.

The Centre informed the Bureau that information was received on 5 July from the UNESCO Moscow Office that the Ministry of Federal Property has acted to keep 49 % of the ownership of the Paper Mill in the hands of the State. This could, given the present situation of the Russian economy and Federal budget, block any further development of an ecologically and socially acceptable solution of the problem of the Mill and may lead to unforeseeable consequences.

The Bureau reiterated its concerns over the threats to the integrity of Lake Baikal, including the issue of reducing the size of the area. While complimenting the State Party on its efforts to adopt the Baikal Law, the Bureau emphasised that the State Party expedites the process of the implementation of the Law with all the legal provisions essential for the effective conservation and management of Lake Baikal. The Bureau requested the State Party to give particular consideration to the legal, financial and other prerequisites needed for re-profiling the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill and other enterprises that continue to pollute Lake Baikal. The Bureau expressed concerns about the recent developments with regard to the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill and urged the State Party to provide full information on this situation. The Bureau invited the State Party to provide a detailed report, by 15 September 1999, on measures to mitigate the pollution threats to Lake Baikal, as well as on the implementation of the Baikal Law.

Decision Code
23 BUR IV.B.38
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
1999 Lake Baikal
Context of Decision