Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1996
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/754/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 33,200
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/754/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
1998: World Heritage Centre monitoring mission; 2001: UNESCO/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; 2005: World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; 2011: UNESCO/IUCN Mission; 2015: IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/754/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015
The State Party did not submit a report on the progress in implementing the recommendations adopted in Decision 38 COM 7B.76, which was requested by the Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014), and therefore, no updated information is available on most of the issues previously raised by the Committee, including actions following the closure of the Baikal Paper and Pulp Mill (BPPM), the developments in the Special Economic Zone “Baikal Harbour” and ore mining at Kholodninskoye deposit.
As a response to the concerns raised by the Committee at its 38th session, the State Party of Mongolia provided information regarding plans to build hydroelectric power plants on the Selenge and Orkhon Rivers, concluding that it was premature to draw conclusions on any potential impacts on the property.
The State Party of Mongolia invited an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to Mongolia, from 14 to 17 April 2015, to review the scope, scale and status of dam projects and to discuss about their potential impacts on the property. The invitation was also extended to the authorities of the Russian Federation, as requested by the Committee. However, the State Party of the Russian Federation did not take part in this mission.
The mission visited two of the three planned project site locations, Shuren Hydro on the Selenge River and Egiin Gol on the Eg River. The mission received the table of contents of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), chapter 8 on Lake Baikal and a brief conclusion. At the time of the preparation of this report the preliminary conclusions of the Reactive Monitoring mission have been considered by IUCN, but the full mission report was not yet available.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The Committee may note with regret that the State Party of the Russian Federation did not submit a report on the state of conservation of the property.
The Committee may wish to thank the State Party of Mongolia for inviting an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to Mongolia. The information provided by the State Party of Mongolia to the mission that according to the conclusions of the study carried out in 2014, the Egiin Gol project will not impact significantly the hydrology of the Selenge River and will not affect alone the hydrological features of the property is noted. However, the cumulative impacts of the construction of the three planned dams and reservoirs, namely Egiin Gol and Shuren hydropower plants and Orkhon river reservoir complex, may have negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and therefore need further careful analysis. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party of Mongolia, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to provide all information and reports available on potential impacts of the Egiin Gol project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and integrity of the property.
For the Shuren hydropower plant and Orkhon River project, no EIAs are available yet; however, Terms of Reference (ToRs) have been developed for the preparation of these EIAs. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party of Mongolia to ensure that the ToRs include development of a specific assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to provide the World Heritage Centre with copies of the EIAs, when available, and not to approve any of the projects until the EIAs and other relevant documentation have been reviewed by IUCN.
The mission noted that, according to the provided ToRs, the funding for the development of feasibility studies and EIAs for Shuren Hydropower Plant and Orkhon river project has been provided by the World Bank, as part of the Mining Infrastructure Investment Support Project (MINIS) “to facilitate investments in infrastructure to support mining related activities” which raises serious concerns about the purpose of the proposed projects.
In the absence of updated information on the other issues raised at the 38th session of the Committee, it is not possible to conclude whether the Committee’s requests on these issues have been addressed by the State Party of the Russian Federation and it is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its requests regarding the developments of the “Baikal Harbour” and “Gate of Baikal” Special Economic Zones, mining at the Kholodninskoye deposit and the necessary actions following the closure of the BPPM.
The below draft Decision may be revised when the final mission report is available.
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.22
The World Heritage Committee,