Documents Decisions of the World Heritage Committee Decisions adopted at the 37th session (Phnom Penh, 16-27 of June, 2013)

Lake Baikal (Russian Federation) (N 754)

Decision: 37 COM 7B.22

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.22, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3. Welcomes the State Party’s decision to close down the Baikalsk Paper and Pulp Mill (BPPM), as well as the brief outline of a closure plan and timeframe which was submitted to the World Heritage Centre including the measures foreseen to address the industrial legacy of the plant; 

4. Urges the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February2014, a detailed closure plan with a precise timeframe;

5. Requests the State Party to ensure that any plans for the future use of the BPPM site are subject to rigorous Environmental Impact Assessment, including specific assessment of potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and to submit the results of such assessments to the World Heritage Centre in line with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

6. Notes with concern the potential impacts on the property from the planned construction of a dam on the Orkhon river in Mongolia and requests the State Parties of the Russian Federation and Mongolia to provide more information on the status of these plans as well as on the environmental impact assessments which are foreseen to quantify these potential impacts, in line with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

7. Welcomes the confirmation that mineral exploration remains prohibited in the Central Ecological Zone of the Baikal Nature Area but notes with concern that the license for the mining of ore at the Kholodninskoye deposit remains in effect until March 2025;

8. Reiterates that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, and urges the State Party to cancel the mining license;

9. Expresses its concern on a number of important existing and potential threats to the property in particular on-going and planned developments in the “Baikal Harbour” and “Gate of Baikal” Special Economic Zones, changes to federal legislation that permit development of tourism infrastructure in Barguzinskiy Strict Nature Reserve Biosphere Polygon; reported changes in the regulations in Baikalo-Lenskiy Strict Nature Reserve; pollution of the Selenga river and air pollution;

10. Reiterates its request to the State Party to develop, under the umbrella of the Special Law for Baikal, an integrated management plan and land-use plan for the property that fully considers all proposed projects, including those inside the Special Economic Zones “Baikal Harbour” and “Gate of Baikal”, to ensure that they are implemented in a way that is compatible with the Outstanding Universal Value and conditions of integrity of the property;

11. Also urges the State Party to asses the potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property of the above mentioned projects through an Environmental Impact Assessment and submit the results to the World Heritage Centre before a decision is taken to proceed, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

12. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, including a detailed report of progress achieved with the implementation of the closure plan for the BPPM, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.