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Lake Baikal

Russian Federation
Factors affecting the property in 2003*
  • Financial resources
  • Forestry /wood production
  • Housing
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Legal framework
  • Major linear utilities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Oil and gas
  • Surface water pollution
  • Other Threats:

    Continuing decline of the Baikal Seal population

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Pollution of the Lake from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill
  • Questions about the legal status of some parts along the border of the site (issue resolved)
  • Unregulated hunting and fishing
  • Extensive building development
  • Lack of financial resources
  • Continuing decline of the Baikal Seal population 
  • Pipeline project
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2003
Requests approved: 2 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved : 33,200 USD
Missions to the property until 2003**

July 1997: World Hertiage Centre mission; August-September 2001: joint UNESCO / IUCN monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003


The Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office, who headed the 2001 monitoring mission to Lake Baikal, attended a meeting on “Baikal as World Heritage site in Irkutsk”, from 15-18 September 2002 at the Baikal Economic Forum. Following the Committee’s request, he was able to arrange a meeting in Moscow on 11 March 2003 with the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources responsible for Lake Baikal, Mr. Kirill Yankov. The Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office informed the Centre that the meeting took place in a good atmosphere and that the Deputy Minister stated that he was ready to meet when necessary and welcomed the proposal for a high-level meeting. During the meeting the following information was provided:

1. Oil pipeline: There is no doubt that the pipeline will be built. The authorities prefer one instead of two, and to build it as far as possible from the Baikal, and in no event along the shore of the Lake. The Minister confirmed that the first project had not received the approval of the ecological expertise.

2. Water level: No changes in the water level of the lake will be allowed beyond the limits established.

3. Gas exploration: There are currently no plans to go further than the scientific drillings of the past.

4. Zoning: The process is under preparation and a decision will shortly be taken.

5. Management: A special office or authority for the co-ordination of all Baikal matters called "Baikalpriroda" has been created. It is based on the "Baikalpkomvod" in Ulan Ude.

6. Financing: The Target Programme under the Federal budget is still working. The last project financed is a waste-processing factory in Ulan Ude. Others are waste-water purification installations in and around Baikalsk.

7. Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill: In February 2003, the project on closing the water cycle was approved and finally decided and a Memorandum has been signed.

The Committee at its 26th session (Budapest, 2002), requested the organization of a high level meeting involving the Russian State Party, IUCN and UNESCO representatives before the end of 2002. No official invitation from the State Party for such a meeting was received so far, despite clear indications by the Centre and IUCN to work closely with the State Party in improving the state of conservation of this site. No written information on Lake Baikal was received from the State Party.


IUCN reiterates its view about the necessity of such a high-level meeting in light of the IUCN/UNESCO monitoring mission report (2001) which recommended including the site in the List of World Heritage in Danger and recommends that the Committee urge the State Party to determine the potential dates for this meeting in close co-operation with the UNESCO Moscow Office and IUCN. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2003
27 COM 7B.19
Lake Baikal (Russian Federation)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Recalls the recommendation of the report of the monitoring mission in 2001 to include the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger,

2. Regrets that the Russian authorities did not provide the report requested by 1 February 2003 (26 COM 21 (b) 19) until 20 May 2003;

3. Further regrets that the high-level meeting called for by the Committee (26 COM 21(b) 19) did not take place, and reiterates its request to the State Party to convene this meeting in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN and calls on it to do so as soon as possible;

4. Urges the State Party to ensure that the proposed transportation route for oil and gas avoids the World Heritage property; and to ensure that no route is selected through the watershed of Lake Baikal without first undertaking a comprehensive Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) to guarantee the highest standards of design and operation;

5. Requests the State Party to provide a report to the World Heritage Centre on the outcomes of any EIA and related decisions on the proposed oil and gas transportation route by 1 February 2004 in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004; 

6. Requests IUCN to make further recommendations to the 28th session of the Committee in 2004, including whether the property meets the conditions for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

7. Urges the State Party to increase efforts to protect the integrity of this unique property and mitigate the key threats outlined by the IUCN / UNESCO mission report (2001), including by guaranteeing sufficient financial resources over a long term period;

8. Encourages the World Heritage Centre, IUCN, non-governmental organizations  and international donors to seek appropriate ways to support the efforts of the Russian authorities in protecting and conserving Lake Baikal;

9. Decides to defer the decision on the inclusion of Lake Baikal on the List of World Heritage in Danger until the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2004.

Draft Decision: 27 COM 7 (b) 19

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Recalls the recommendation of the report of the monitoring mission in 2001 to include the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger,

2. Notes that no written information was provided by the State Party since the last session of the Committee,

3. Expresses its concern that the high-level meeting did not take place,

4. Urges the State Party to provide an up-date on the situation at the site taking into account all issues indicated in the 2001 report, by 1 October 2003,

4. Requests the State Party to invite the high-level meeting and requests that the results be provided by 1 February 2004 for review by its 28th session.

Report year: 2003
Russian Federation
Date of Inscription: 1996
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 27COM (2003)

* : 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.