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Lake Baikal

Russian Federation
Factors affecting the property in 2000*
  • Financial resources
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Housing
  • Illegal activities
  • Legal framework
  • Surface water pollution
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Pollution of the Lake
  • Questions about the legal status of some parts along the border of the site (issue resolved)
  • Lack of resources
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2000
Requests approved: 2 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved : 33,200 USD
Missions to the property until 2000**

July 1997: World Heritage Centre mission

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2000

Previous deliberations:
Twenty-third session of the Committee – paragraph X.28 and Annex VIII.
Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – paragraph IV.38.

New information: The Centre received on 2 May 2000 a request for a training workshop on the effective implementation of the Federal Baikal Law following the suggestion of the twenty-third extraordinary session of the World Heritage Bureau. No information was received from the States Party concerning the state of conservation report on the site due by 15 April 2000. The Centre was informed by the Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office that the Prime Minister has signed on 31 December 1999 a decree to forbid any selling of the 49% of shares owned by the Federal Government of the Baikal pulp and paper mill.

IUCN has noted that Russian Federal Laws relating to Lake Baikal are not being effectively implemented. Of particular concern are:

  • Continued discharge of waste waters into Lake Baikal, particularly from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper mill. These discharges are, according to reports, well in excess of levels permitted by Federal Standards.
  • Impacts from unregulated hunting and fishing.
  • Inadequate environmental monitoring of the Lake Baikal ecosystem.

IUCN reiterates its previous views that, given the economic difficulties in the region, there is a need to identify and examine innovative options and solutions to this issue, specifically in relation to the legal, financial and other requirements associated with re-profiling of the Bakalsk Pulp and Paper mill. Discussion of such options and solutions should address environmental, social and economic concerns and should involve donors and should ideally be addressed under the umbrella of the Baikal Commission.

Action Required
The Bureau expresses its concern that Federal Regulations related to the Baikal Law are not being effectively enforced and invited the State Party to take immediate steps to remedy this situation. The Bureau reiterates its request that the State Party provide an up-to-date report, by 15 September 2000 and in particular focusing on issues raised by IUCN, on the state of conservation of the site and the report be submitted to the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000

A representative of the World Heritage Centre participated in the international workshop on “Sustainable Development of the World Heritage site Lake Baikal. Preparations of Recommendations to the Subordinate Legislation of the Federal Law on Protection of Lake Baikal” held in Irkutsk and Baikalsk from 10 to 12 July 2000. The Workshop was organised and financed by Greenpeace Russia and a number of Government agencies, NGOs, and international donor agencies attended. The necessity for a unique body for the whole region was recognised, however it was questioned whether the Baikal Commission could fulfil this role. The final recommendations have not yet been received and the information on the state of conservation of the site received by the State Party is dated “end of 1999”. IUCN noted that a workshop on Lake Baikal was held in July 2000 and that this meeting and other reports have indicated:

·         Continuing concerns about the discharge of waste waters into Lake Baikal, particularly from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill. It is noted that this is leading to the build up of organochlorine compounds well in excess of Federal standards.

·         A delay in the preparation of a detailed plan for the conversion of the Pulp and Paper Mill. The meeting did not provide any clarification on whether or not the plan would be implemented. The meeting also noted that re-profiling of the plant is not going to solve the existing sewage and sludge problem.

·         Concerns about the adequacy and effectiveness of the Federal Law on Lake Baikal.

·         Lack of local and regional awareness of the World Heritage Bureau requests for a State of Conservation Report for this site, as well as lack of awareness on the implications of listing the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

·         Other major threats to the integrity of the site, including impacts from unregulated hunting and fishing and impacts associated with extensive building development.

IUCN also noted that the State Committee on Environmental Protection has been abolished. The specific implications for World Heritage sites in the Russian Federation are unclear.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2000
24 BUR IV.B.37
Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

The Centre informed the Bureau that no information had been received from the State Party despite a number of letters written concerning the site. The Director of the UNESCO Office in Moscow attended the last session of the Baikal Commission and had noted that progress is very slow.

IUCN fully supported the Baikal Law but highlighted concerns about the adequacy of its implementation, particularly in relation to discharge of waste into the Lake from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill. IUCN considered that there is a need to look for innovative mechanisms for dealing with this matter which must involve substantial investment in re-profiling the existing pulp and paper mill. IUCN also noted that a Greenpeace meeting would take place in July 2000 on the Baikal Law which may result in useful recommendations and actions.

The Bureau expressed its concern that Federal Regulations related to the Baikal Law are not being effectively enforced and invited the State Party to take immediate steps to remedy this situation. The Bureau reiterated its request that the State Party provide an up-to-date report, by 15 September 2000 in particular focusing on issues raised by IUCN on the state of conservation of the site and that the report be submitted to the twenty-fourth extraordinary session of the Bureau.

24 COM VIII.iii
State of conservation reports of natural properties noted by the Committee

 State of conservation reports of natural properties noted by the Committee

Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)

Pirin National Park (Bulgaria)

Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)

Gros Morne National Park (Canada)

Canadian Rocky Mountains Parks (Canada)

Comoe National Park (Côte d'Ivoire)

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

Komodo National Park (Indonesia)

Lorenz National Park (Indonesia)

Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest (Kenya)

Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand (New Zealand)

Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)

Huascarán National Park (Peru)

Danube Delta (Romania)

Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

Niokolo-Koba National Park (Senegal)

Doñana National Park (Spain)

Sinharaja Forest Reserve (Sri Lanka)

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

Gough Island (United Kingdom)

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park (United Republic of Tanzania)

Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)

The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision:

“The Bureau expresses its concern that no updated information was received from the State Party on this property and that other recent reports indicate serious threats to this site and that a case may exist for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau requests the State Party invite a mission to this site in 2001 to ascertain whether it should be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.”

Report year: 2000
Russian Federation
Date of Inscription: 1996
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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