Russia, Sochava Geography Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, 19-22 of August, 2006
Organized by: Sochava Geography Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Natural Heritage Protection Fund, IUCN - the World Conservation Union, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Natural Resources of RF, UNESCO.
Supported by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
In the International conference took part representatives of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Natural Resources of the RF, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, scientific and educational organizations from Germany, Russia and Mongolia working under the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Specially Protected Areas being part of World Heritage sites, administration of the Irkutsk Region and government of the Buryat Republic. In total over 90 participants took part in the conference.
Proceeding from experience gained after ten years of Russian-German collaboration within the frames of the Convention and concerning difficulties arising in view of the Convention implementation by the Russian Federation, the participants of the conference have worked out the following proposals and recommendations:
1. Recommendations for the International organizations
- to specify the list of prohibited management activity categories within the frames of the World Heritage Convention;
- to develop and adopt an international model normative act concerning World Heritage sites;
- to prepare and carry out an International World Heritage Sites Problems Conference;
- to propose the UN Secretariat to announce one of the Water For Life Decade years the International Year of Lake Baikal;
- to create an international working group for the sustainable development of the Baikal natural area;
- to examine the issue of establishment of the International educational fund for the sustainable development of Lake Baikal.
2. Proposals for the medium-term program for realization of the World Heritage Convention by the Russian Federation
- to work out and pass a Federal Law of the RF "On Natural World Heritage Sites";
- to introduce amendments to Russian Federal Law "On environmental protection" that will specify the idea of the "area which is subject to special protection" and interrelation of its status with the Specially Protected Areas;
- to improve Russian legislation concerning environmental impact assessment procedure;
- to improve Russian legislation concerning insurance of environmental risks within the territories of World Natural Heritage sites;
- to update law-institutive documents of natural parks belonging to World Natural Heritage sites;
- to create coordinating councils of the World Natural Heritage sites. In perspective - creation of Association of World Natural Heritage sites of the RF on the basis of the coordinating councils;
- to compile a Tentative List of Russian natural sites recommended for nomination to the World Heritage List;
- to organize the reactive monitoring system at the World Heritage Sites. Informing the World Heritage Centre about the conservation status of the Russian World Natural Heritage sites;
- to work out management plans for the World Natural Heritage sites;
- to increase the budget financing of nature-conservative measures at Specially Protected Areas within the World Natural Heritage sites;
- to work out mechanisms of non-budget financing of the World Natural Heritage sites (taking part in the Partnerships for Conservation Program of the World Heritage Centre; providing direct financial aid to the World Natural Heritage sites through system of grants, agreements, etc. for execution of specific urgent projects; attracting the attention and interest of regional businesses and local government to World Heritage site-related issues);
- to provide development of alternative means of nature-use at the World Natural Heritage sites: ecological tourism, traditional folk crafts, etc. To promote low-cost job growth and wage-push mechanisms for the local population to environment-oriented activity at the World Natural Heritage sites;
- to work out an ecological tourism strategy for the World Natural Heritage sites;
- to provide informational support to World Natural Heritage sites (such as publishing an informational bulletin, translating and disseminating World Heritage-related literature, designing web-sites for World Heritage sites, etc.);
- to continue conducting annual training seminars, work meetings and experience exchange programs with foreign World Natural Heritage site specialists. To support the initiative of cooperation between "twin World Natural Heritage sites";
- to provide organizational and management support of the World Natural Heritage sites, including boundary marking and also settling land ownership issues;
- to describe and mark the World Natural Heritage sites on the corresponding topographic basis according to demands of the new UNESCO Nomination Format;
- to prepare the nominations of natural properties included into the Tentative List of the Russian Federation: "Magadansky Reserve" and "Commander Islands", and also of transboundary sites "The Green Belt of Fennoscandia" (Russia-Finland-Norway) and "Daurian Steppes" (Russia-Mongolia-China).
3. Recommendations for the "Lake Baikal" World Natural Heritage site
- expedite the confirmation of Baikal natural area ecological zones boundary and to approve normative of maximum permissible detrimental effect at the Lake Baikalecosystem in accordance with the existing legislation;
- to create Governmental Baikal Committee for coordination of all activities connected with realization of the Federal Law "On protection of Lake Baikal" with wide credentials;
- to create an additional cost calculation mechanism for subjects of Russian Federation located within the Baikal Nature Areaand concerned with stated ecological restrictions;
- to provide modernization and technical re-equipment of the State monitoring system of Lake Baikal;
- to work out modern industrial waste and consumption residues treatment scheme at Lake Baikal and Baikal Nature Areaand also to solve issues of legal and technical equipment for its implementation;
- to prepare proposals for the Government of the RF for creating mechanisms of ecologically aligned territory development planning at Lake Baikalcoast and also for determination of water body protection zones;
- to realize conversion of the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill;
- to work out the Baikal Nature Areacomplex development scheme;
- to develop and realize a model project "Lake Baikal - the Natural World Heritage site".
Russian Federation has one of the World's best system of Strict Protected Areas (so-called Zapovedniks) which can serve as a model for other countries. Russian World Natural Heritage sites are based on this system and are national and international leaders of nature conservation.
Management system of Natural World Heritage sites – the areas of outstanding value, can be an important sustainable development instrument. These objects, however, need stronger political support.
The existing and increasingly rising conflicts in connection with economical development of the regions where World Heritage sites are located require working out of effective management system for providing long-term protection of the World Natural Heritage sites. At the same time efforts of scientists, administration and local population need to be integrated into this process.
Collaboration between Germany and Russia for recent years has significantly contributed to further World Natural Heritage sites system development and to working out successful approach to solving different level problems.
Conference participants especially note the significant progress of all specialists taking active part in the ten-year collaboration, express their appreciation for the work done and welcome continuation of further work in this direction.
Conference participants express their hope that the worked out proposals would be considered at the coming session of the Russian-German "Nature conservation and biodiversity" workgroup.