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Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

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greenpeace.org

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.


ISBN 978-5-94442-034-3


Mikhail Kreindlin, Andrey Petrov

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

2012


From the authors: When six years ago we wrote the first edition of this brochure we did hope that all the issues described then were but temporary occurrences and that we would not have to republish it. Unfortunately today we have to admit that the absolute majority of the issues have not been resolved and have even become more complicated. Again and again authorities and business are itching to grab Russia’s highest conservation value areas protected by the international community, with the aim to build something there or to change those areas’ boundaries. To reach that aim, they are hastily changing national legislation. Fortunately, the Russian Government has no right to cancel the International Convention, which is why we still believe that levers of influence upon those who wish to destroy the World Heritage in Russia still continue to act. We are presenting third edition of the brochure for your consideration. It contains information about violations of the Convention on the territories of the Russian World Natural Heritage properties during last 6 years.

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Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

Introduction Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was ratified by the Soviet Union by the Order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 9 March 1988. According to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, members of the Convention are the states called “states parties”. The text of the convention directly says that states parties undertake commitments under the Convention, which means the subjects of relations regulated by the Convention are the states as subjects of the international law (article 4, 5, 6). Thus, liability for both fulfillment of commitments under the Convention and for its violation should be imposed on the state. At present in the Russian territory there are 9 properties inscribed in the World Heritage List (plus the natural complex of the Curonian Spit National Park, inscribed in the List as the World Cultural Heritage Property). Unfortunately, most of them are under the constant threat of anthropogenic impact or realization of various nature destructing projects. Below is the information about some Russian properties of World Natural Heritage.

Virgin Komi Forests

WH site consists of Yugyd Va National Park, Pechoro-Ilychsky State Biosphere Nature Reserve and their buffer zones.

The Yugyd Va National Park was established in 1994. Its total area is 1,891.7 thousand hectares. This is the largest national park in Russia, located in the territory of the Komi Republic on the western slope of the Subarctic and Northern Urals. It includes the largest in Europe primary forest minimally affected by anthropogenic activity. More than a half of the Pechora’s salmon population spawns in local river heads.

Pechoro-Ilychsky State Biosphere Nature Reserve was established in 1930. Its total area is 721.3 thousand hectares. The Reserve is aimed at conservation and study of primary forests in the water basin of the Pechora and Ilych Rivers – the largest virgin taiga forests in European Russia, typical and unique flora and fauna. In the territory of Yugyd Va gold prospecting and mining operations had been carried out over many years (including the time before establishing the national park). Argument of the Russian State Party that “Chudnoye” deposit lyses outside the borders of the “Virgin Komi Forests” World Heritage property does not correspond to reality. |5


On January 18, 2010 Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology (MNRE) adopted new Regulations about “Yugyd Va” National Park that fixed the withdrawal of mentioned land plots from the territory of the national park (http://www.mnr.gov.ru/ part/?act=more&id=6521&pid=11). Due to the information of the “Komiinform” news agency from February 19, 2010 (http:// komiinform.ru/news/63019/) dependent on MNRE Federal Agency for Subsoil (Rosnedra) issued on 30.12.2009 the license for geological prospecting and mining of ore gold on the “Chudnoye” deposit in the Inta District of Komi Republic to the CJSC Gold Minerals in the capacity of pioneering works. The license area Площадь лицензии составляет composes 19.9 KM2. The term of license operation is until 2029. Currently the company started projecting of geological prospecting works, registration the authorization-based documentation and development of the technical-economic grounds of investments into the industrial mastering of the object. Due to the news agency information the capital construction is planned on the plot territory. Decision about license issuing is a violation of Russian legislation and International obligations of the country because of the next reasons: The territory of the deposit was included to borders of the “Yugyd Va” National Park at the moment of its creation and the land plots were granted to the park. In 1995 the complete territory of “Yugyd Va” National Park was included into the borders of the “Virgin Komi Forests” World Heritage property. Thus the mentioned industrial objects are located on the territory of the World Heritage property. On January 20, 2011 the public hearings on realization of project for development of the “Chudnoye” deposit on the territory of “Virgin Komi Forests” World Heritage property took place in the City of Inta (http://www.bnkomi.ru/data/news/6946/#). On summer 2011 in the borders of “Virgin Komi Forests” World Heritage property (on territory illegally excluded from the “Yugyd Va” National Park for gold development by Gold Minerals company) the explosive works, road and other objects was started (http://www. greenpeace.org/russia/ru/news/11-10-2011-Ugyd-va/). As a result of explosive works the ingress of contamination to the adjoining areas that were not excluded from the national park take place. All this leads to the violation of the hydrological regime, destruction of fauna habitats including fish resources. Natural complexes of national park are destructed by the heavy technical equipment. The violations caused by the illegal activity are so considerable that one could even see them on the space images (their analysis was done by the “Transparent World” non-commercial partnership (http://www.transparentworld.ru/ru/environment/monitoring/oopt/yugydva/). To stop these violations Greenpeace Russia sent an appeal to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation. 6|


World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

(с) Elena Shubnicina / Greenpeace

Greenpeace

Photo 1. Grubependity Lake polluted with suspended particles as a result of exploration works on the Chudnoye deposit. August, 2011.

Nevertheless only after 2.5 months Greenpeace had got the answer from the Prosecutor’s Office of the Komi Republic where it announced that «the grounds for implementation of Republican prosecutor’s reaction measures were not determined». As it follows from the Prosecutor’s office answer, the facts of flagrant violations of legislation including territory of the national park outside the gold mining plot borders were not checked and estimated. At this the illegal activity connected with gold mining and destruction of the unique natural complexes that are the World Heritage still continues. According to the Protocol of the meeting of the Territorial control commission at the Administration of Rosprirodnadzor in the Komi Republic (http://rpn11.rkomi.ru/doc/TKK/ protokolTKK231211.doc) the mining works included mechanized drifting of tranches by bulldozers Т-20.01 и B-UM with the use of blast-hole drilling works (method of bore hole charges) and without using of blast-hole drilling works on single tranche 500. Tranches drifting started on May 8 and finished on October 20. The preparatory works and cleaning tranches from snow took place beforehand. Works were conducted round-the-clock in two-shift regime with boring by hand perforators and blasting of large boulders and ledges of parent materials. Cleaning of |7


(с) Vadim Kantor / Greenpeace

Photo 2. Drilling rig on Chudnoye deposit. January, 2012.

the blasted mass and rectification of the tranches bed was made with the support of bulldozers Т-20.01 и B-UM. On areas with steep slopes the drifting and cleaning of the tranches bed was made by scraper ZOLS-2C. Totally during 2011 15 tranches were made: Chudnoye plot — 11 tranches; Nesterovsky plot -1 tranche; Nesterovsky tranche - 2-3 tranches. 10 tranches on the Chudnoye plot were completely finalized with documentation and testing. Flank tranche 411 will be documented and tested (point testing) in 2012. In 2012 г. Among mining works the bore pits drifting on the Chudnoye plot and tranches drifting on Nesterovsky plot are planned. In January - February 2012 Pechora Interregional Nature protection Prosecutor’s Office after Greenpeace demand organized the inspection of the legality of geological prospecting works on Chudnoye deposit with participation of Greenpeace representatives. As a result it was established that all decisions regarding withdrawal of the land plot with Chudnoye deposit were abrogated juridically. There is no any legal basis for recognition of this plot 8|


Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

as excluded from the park composition (http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/news/602-2012-prokuror-proverka-komi/). As it was indicated above the “Yugyd Va” National Park was created by decision of the Government of the Russian Federation dated April 23, 1994 № 377 on a base of decision of Council of Ministers of the Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic dated September 28, 1990 № 200 “On creation of the State Natural National Park in the Komi ASSR” that determined the concrete borders of the land plots granted to the national park. In particular due to the mentioned decision on the territory that was within the jurisdiction of the Inta City Council the quarters (river basins) № 143, 152, 153, 156, 163, 167 - 194 of Inta forestry of Pechora forestry enterprise were included into the park territory. The territory of Chudnoye deposit completely entered the borders of the abovementioned quarters including the land plot that later was given for lease to CJSC Gold Minerals. It is confirmed by the map of “Yugyd Va” National Park with drawn forest quarters that was published officially in the brochure «Virgin Komi Forests» - the first Russian World Natural Heritage property» (Moscow, 2009, ISBN5-88236-090-0) (p.8) that was given to the Pechora Interregional Nature protection Prosecutor’s Office in the framework of inspection conducted by it (it is presented in the inspection materials). In the same brochure (flyleaf) there is a schematic map of the “Virgin Komi Forests” World Heritage property (GU TFI RK (territorial information fund of Komi Republic) that also shows that no plots (including Alkesvozhsky plot that includes Chudnoye deposit) inside the borders of the national park are excluded from its territory. The above mentioned decision of the Government of the Russian Federation stated that the national park was created on the territory of Komi Republic on account of Forest Fund grounds of Pechorsky and Vuktylsky forestry enterprises and its complete area comprised 1,891,701 hectares. Council of Ministers of Komi Republic together with Federal Forestry Service of Russia and other interested ministries and agencies were charged to define more exactly the park borders. In implementation of the mentioned decision the Federal Forestry Service of Russia issued the order N 111 dated 23.05.95 about creation of “Yugyd Va” National Park on account of grounds of Pechorsky and Vuktylsky forestry enterprises. In the order as well as in the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation there was defined that complete area of the park comprises 1,891,701 hectares. (Pechorsky forestry enterprise – 991,544 hectares, Vuktylsky forestry enterprise - 900,157 hectares). Thus Chudnoye deposit including land plot given to lease later on to the CJCS Gold Minerals before creation of the national park was referred to the Forest Fund grounds that were granted for use to the “Yugyd Va” National Park in correspondence with the mentioned acts of Council of Ministers of Komi Republic, Government of the Russian Federation and Federal Forestry Service of Russia. |9


In correspondence with the acted at that moment Fundamentals of Forest legislation of the Russian Federation dated 1993 (article 8) national nature parks on the Forest Fund grounds, educational forest and experimental forest enterprises carry out forestry conduction and are situated inside the system of Forestry Management State body of the Russian Federation. Thus during the park creation its borders were described and certified in correspondence with the acted at that moment legislation. On January 9, 1997 the Head of Komi Republic issued the Decree № 1 “On specification of borders of the “Yugyd Va” National Nature Park of Federal Forestry Service of Russia” in accordance with which nearly 200,000 hectares of lands were excluded from national park. This decree was abrogated by the Decision of the Supreme Court of Komi Republic that came into legal force on 01.12.98 № 3-19. In the court decision it was marked that under specification of borders in the Decision of the Government of the Russian Federation and in the Order N 111 of Federal Forestry Service of Russia the definition in kind of the park demarcation line inside the limits of lands of Pechorsky and Vuktylsky forestry enterprises is understood. Thus during park creation its borders were defined in correspondence with with the acted at that moment legislation. Decision about withdrawal of Chudnoye deposit from the composition of national park appears as overcoming of the came into legal force court decision. Inadmissibility of overcoming of the court decision by means of jurisdiction act of the administrative body had been recognized in particular in the Decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation dated 17.03.2009 № 5-P. In correspondence with the article 79 of the Federal Constitutional Law «About the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation» the decisions of courts and other bodies based on acts or their separate regulations that were recognized as unconstitutional by the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, are not executory. Thus the decision about recognition of Chudnoye deposit locating outside the park is invalid and can not be applicated. Prosecutor’s Office of the Komi Republic in its answer to Greenpeace Russia letter marked that: «Taking into account that Chudnoye deposit starting from 1960 was an object of uninterrupted geological prospecting works, there are no grounds to count that Chudnoye plat ever entered the composition of “Yugyd Va” National Park. Prosecutor’s Office of the Komi Republic did not take into account that on August 10, 1998 the Vice Main State inspector of the Russian Federation for nature protection Mr. A.Solvianov gave the direction № 05-21/36-9 to the CJSC “Poliarnouralgeologia” (that at that moment carried out the geological prospecting works on the Alkesvozh plot) regarding suspension of geological prospecting works including boring works on the Alkesvozh plot.

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World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

Besides in 1998 Komi Government sent to the State Environmental Assessment the materials about specification of the national park borders where supposed to exclude 35,000 hectares of lands (where the industrial activity took place) from the national park. The assessment commission had concluded that mentioned economic activity represents the threat to the natural complexes of the national park including the outstanding universal value of the “Virgin Komi Forests” World Heritage property, and passed negative judgement (adopted by the order of Goscomecolofia of Russia on 03.07.98 № 408). After that the geological prospecting works on the Alkesvozh plot were stopped as illegal and were not conducted until 2011. In the letter of Prosecutor’s Office of the Komi Republic it was marked: «Due to the results of the inspection no violations in the activity of the Komi Republic authorities during works connected with definition of the national park borders and facts of making decisions about changing of national park borders by the Government of Komi Republic were revealed». This argument of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Komi Republic does not correspond to reality. As it was marked earlier on January 9, 1997 the Head of Komi Republic issued a decree № 1 “On specification of borders of the “Yugyd Va” National Nature Park of Federal Forestry Service of Russia”, in accordance with which nearly 200,000 hectares of lands were excluded from national park. This decree was abrogated by the decision of the Supreme Court of Komi Republic at the suit of the Prosecutor of Komi Republic dated 01.12.98 № 3-19 and came into legal force. On November 28, 2008 the administration of the “Inta” municipal formation of Komi Republic issued the decision № 11/309911 «On introduction of changes and additions to the decision of the head of administration of municipal formation “Inta” urban district from 31.10.2008 № 10/275411 «On approval of the project of borders of “Yugyd Va” National Park on the territory of municipal formation “Inta” urban district” which in fact withdrew 1,900 hectares of national park lands for realization on them the activity for prospecting and mining of minerals by CJSC Gold Minerals. Prosecutor’s Office of the city of Inta protested this decision after the Greenpeace Russia statement. The decision of the Inta city court of Komi Republic dated July 10, 2009 (affair № 2-1435\09) abrogated the decision of the municipal formation “Inta” urban district № 11/309911from 28.11.2008. This decision came into legal force after the pronouncement of the Supreme Court of Komi Republic definition dated August 20, 2009 № 33-3884\09. At that in the mentioned decision there was settled the next statement: “In the course of the court trial it was settled that, “argument of the cassation complaint that in corre| 11


spondence with the article 11.3 of the Land Code of the Russian Federation the decision made by the administration of the municipal formation “Inta” urban district about creation of the land plot of the Chudnoye ore field on the territory situated in disposal of municipal formation “Inta” urban district and not entering the composition of specially protected natural territories in Federal property, could not be recognized as valid. As soon as during the court trial the defendant did not grant and the court did not obtain proofs that confirm this argument. At that as it follows from the affair materials, in the appendix № 1 to the decision of the head of administration of the municipal formation “Inta” urban district about creation dated 31.10.2008 № 10\27541” On approval of the project of borders of “Yugyd Va” National Park on the territory of municipal formation “Inta” urban district “ the plot of the Chudnoye ore field is located on the territory of “Yugyd Va” National Park. Thus all decisions of authorities including local self-government bodies about withdrawal of land plots from the composition of “Yuged Va” National Park lands were recognized as illegal and abrogated juridically. Prosecutor’s Office of Komi Republic also did not take into account the following facts. 1. In accordance with the definition of the Supreme Court of Komi Republic dated August 20, 2009 № 33-3884\09 “In the course of the court it was settled that “argument of the cassation complaint that in correspondence with the article 11.3 of the Land Code of the Russian Federation the decision made by the administration of the municipal formation “Inta” urban district about creation of the land plot of the Chudnoye ore field on the territory situated in disposal of municipal formation “Inta” urban district and not entering the composition of specially protected natural territories in Federal property, could not be recognized as valid”. Thus the fact that the land plot where Chudnoye deposit is located (land plot with cadastre number 11:18:0501001:153) enters into the composition of lands of specially protected natural territories is confirmed by the came into legal force court decision. Nevertheless as it was marked in the letter of Prosecutor’s Office of Komi Republic, the order of the Ministry of Natural resources of the Russian Federation dated 14.01.2010 № 3 adopted the Regulations about “Yugyd Va” National Park that fixed its area, location and borders. Point 38 of these regulations fixed the schemed map of functional zoning/ Due to this map Chudnoye deposit does not enter the composition of the national park. In correspondence with the Federal law «On State Cadastre of real estate» (article 22) the documents that are necessary for cadastre registration are: 8) copy of document that confirms in correspondence with the Federal Law the belonging of the land plot to definite category; 9) copy of document that in correspondence with the Federal Law settled admitted use of the land plot (in time of cadastre registration of the land plot in connection with the change of mentioned in the point 14 of part 2 of article 7 of the existing 12 |


Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

Federal Law information) that is requested by the body of cadastre registration in an order that is fixed by part 8 of article 15 of the existing Federal Law; According to the letter of the Inta division of the Rosreestr (Federal Service of State registration, cadastre and cartography) in Komi Republic dated 18.11.2011 № 19-32/452: «there is no information about grounds for labeling the land plot with cadastre number 11:18:0501001:153 “Chudnoye” deposit] to the category of lands of industry and other special purpose in the Inta division of the Rosrrestr Administration in Komi Republic». All decisions of governing bodies and local self-government bodies about withdrawal of the land plot from the composition of national park lands are recognized inoperative juridically. Thus the «Land and Cadastre Chamber of Komi Republic» State institution had put the land plot with the cadastre number 11:18:0501001:153 on cadastre registration without documents that foreseen by the Federal law On State Cadastre of real estate”. Chudnoye deposit is included in the borders of the “Virgin Komi Forests” World Heritage property. In connection with a threat of gold mining inside the park territory the UNESCO World Heritage Committee on its 35th Session made the next decision: 3. Expresses its utmost concern about the boundary changes made to the northern component of the property, Yugyd Va National Park (YVNP), which removes the protection status of these areas, and about the approval of a gold mine within the property at Chudnoe; 4. Considers that the excisions made to the property and the approved gold mine at Chudnoe represent a clear potential threat to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value and integrity, as defined in Paragraphs 180(b) (i) and (ii) of the Operational Guidelines; 5. Urges the State Party to immediately implement the recommendations proposed by the 2010 World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to remove the potential danger to the Outstanding Universal Value; Thus the UNESCO World Heritage Committee made a decision about inadmissibility of withdrawal of the Chudnoye deposit territory from the composition of the “Virgin Komi Forests” World Heritage property. Prospecting and mining of minerals, withdrawal of territories inside the borders of the World Heritage properties in spite of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decisions could damage the World Heritage properties and entail the transfer of these properties into the World Heritage in Danger List. All mentioned arguments as well as confirming materials are presented in the materials of examination conducted by Pechora Interregional Nature Protective Prosecutor’s Office on task of the Komi Republic Prosecutor’s Office. Thus the Prosecutor’s Office of Komi Republic serves as custodian of the Gold Minerals Company commercial interests. | 13


On the 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee the question of transferring the “Virgin Kimi Forests” into the World Heritage in Danger List had been raised. This decision was not adopted because Committee members did not know yet that destruction of the natural heritage already started. As soon as destroying World Heritage property works still continue and Prosecutor’s Office refused to take measures stopping these violations, Russian State Party created conditions for transferring of “Virgin Komi Forests” property into the World Heritage in Danger List that is foreseen by the article 180а (п.ii) of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Baikal Lake

was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1996. The property includes Pribaikalsky, Zabaikalsky and Tunkinsky (partially) National Parks, Barguzinsky and Baikalsky Biosphere State Nature Reserves, Baikalo-Lensky State Nature Reserve and several Federal Sate Nature Preserves. The whole territory of the nomination exceeds 8 million hectares. The Barguzinsky Nature Reserve is the oldest Nature Reserve in Russia established in 1916. Situated in south-east Siberia, Lake Baikal is the oldest (25 million years) and deepest (1,700 m) lake in the world. It contains 20% of the world’s total unfrozen freshwater. Known as the ‘Galapagos of Russia’, its age and isolation have produced one of the world’s richest and most unusual freshwater faunas, which is of exceptional value to evolutionary science. The rapid economic growth and the population swell in the Asian-Pacific region increases energy demand annually by 14 % there, stimulating Russian oil producing and transportation companies to develop their oil production in West and East Siberia (oil abundant regions) and export Siberian oil to the Asia-Pacific Region. Already now in East Siberia there is an operational main pipeline running from Omsk to Angarsk (90 km from Lake Baikal), where the Angarsk Oil Chemical Complex is located.

Regarding BPPM Whatever information regarding improving environmental indicators of the mill comes from the mill itself, it would be reasonable and appropriate to double check any such “progress”. Playing with the statistics, which in itself is another kind of lie, becomes usual at the mill already bordering on simple deception. At the same time due to the information of the BPPM press service (http://bcbk.ru/ node/160) on February 15, 2012 a meeting about re-profiling of the Mill took place in the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) of the Russian Federation. 14 |


Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

The next decisions were made on this meeting: Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology (MNRE) of the Russian Federation together with Rosprirodnadzor have to provide the issuing of the authorization-based documentation for the activity of the CJSC “Baikalsk PPM” in the period until 2015; MNRE with participation of MED, Ministry of industry and trade, Rosprirodnadzor, CJSC “Baikalsk PPM” have to conduct the meeting regarding question about possibility of revision of the demands of the MNRE Order №63 dated March 5, 2010 «On approval of the standards of prohibitive influence on the unique ecological system of Baikal Lake and of the List of harmful substances that relate to the category specially dangerous, highly dangerous, dangerous and moderately dangerous for the unique ecological system of Baikal Lake». With thus the Government of the Russian Federation made a decision about violation of obligations regarding terms of stopping of Baikal Lake pollution with BPPM waste waters, even so the decision about lowering of standards of the prohibitive influence on the unique ecological system of Baikal Lake is prepared.

Development of the Kholodnenskoye deposit of complex ores. Due to the information of the “Baikal-Media” News agency (http://baikal-media.ru/news/ society/198808/) the Buryatia authorities intend to revise the demands of the nature protection legislation to the Baikal Central Environmental zone. – We’ve got the situation when in some places the water protective zone reaches 70 kilometers from the shore line. In particular Kholodnenskoye deposit is located exactly in the Central Environmental zone. Border lies out of it, - the Buryatia President marked on a press-conference on January 23, 2012. The “Metropol” Investment Financial Company (IFC) that owns the deposit during last 8 years tries to obtain the permission for its development. While it is still against the law to develop this mineral deposit as it lies within the borders of the Central Ecological Zone of the Baikal Natural Area, it is worth knowing that the holder of the state license for development of this deposit, Mr. Slipenchuk, has recently been elected member of the State Duma from the Republic of Buryatia and taken a seat in the State Duma Natural Resources Committee. While in his numerous interviews he is not even trying to conceal his intentions to change the law to start development of the Kholodninskoye lead and zinc deposit, Greenpeace anticipates deterioration of the situation around the deposit. (http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/news/blogs/baikal/blog/38775/). Thus there is a real danger to the Outstanding Universal Value of the Baikal Lake World Heritage property as a result of the planning prospecting and exploitation of the Kholodnenskoye deposit of complex ores.

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State of conservation of the Barguzinsky State Nature Reserve. The first Russian Nature Reserve – Barguzinsky was united into one managing structure with Zabaikalsky National Park by the Order of the Minister of NRE Y.Trutnev (http://nature. baikal.ru/files/604/Prikas.jpg). With big probability it was made on the threshold of pushed for a long time idea of MNRE about transformation of the nature reserves into the national parks. Taking into account that due to the worked out by the MNRE amendments to the Law “On specially protected natural areas” in national parks practically all types of activity is admitted, that can lead to the degradation of the natural complexes of the reserve (http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/news/22-06-2011-oopt/). Besides the Russian Government in correspondence with nearly adopted Law № 365FZ (see its analysis in our comments to the Western Caucasus SOC report) the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation was made on April 23, 2012. N 603-р. Due to this decision the location of guest houses, objects of engineering and transportation infrastructure on the biosphere polygon of Barguzinsky Nature Reserve is planned (http:// www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/news/30-01-2012-Davos-Northern-Caucasus-Resorts/).

Situation and problems inside the Pribaikalsky National Park. At the same time the situation in the national park is far from normal and leads to the destruction of the natural complexes. In the middle of 2009 Mr. O.Apanasik was allocated as the Director of Pribaikalsky National Park. During his work on this place all the indicators of the park activity (in particular fight against poaching and forest fires, the volume of the own funds earned by the park etc.) became worse sharply, and attack to its nature by poachers, “black loggers”, unauthorized developers and invaders of lands, environmentally irresponsible and uncontrolled tourists had gained catastrophic scale.  Agreements about passing into lease objects (holiday camp, visit center, forestry office) and parts of the territory (for hunting) are signed by director “quietly” (without decisions of the scientific-technical council and without discussion with specialists). As a result the profitable objects were given to lease for reduced rent or in some cases money did not arrive to the National park accounts at all. On the territory of the park there exist cases of fixing of barriers, feeding-racks and ambushes for hunters that were made by leaseholders. Leaseholders do not obey to the legal demands of the park inspectors referring to director’s decision. In some cases such secret from park specialists agreements exist in reality, in other cases everything is based on still oral agreements. Land plot had been leased in the Reserve Zone (Bolsherechensky divisional forestry of the park) where any activity is forbidden. Exactly in this area on December 7, 2010 the forbidden hunting from motorized hang glider took place (more than 30 shots 16 |


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World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

were made), but leaseholder’s (“Istok” company) barrier did not allow inspectors to come there. Prosecutor’s office already started to investigate some infringements but the park Director did not do anything to prevent the violations. (http://news.babr.ru/?IDE=103072). In February 2011 group of Pribaikalsky park staff wrote an appeal to the President f the Russian Federation with the description of the situation in the park and in protected areas system as a whole with complaint to the MNRE activities in this field. Violating the Federal Law “About order of examination of the Russian Federation citizens’ appeals” the President administration resent this appeal to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology (http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/news/blogs/green-planet/ blog/36729/). After that the repressions against the park staff who signed the appeal had been started. Senior State inspector of the Elantsinskoye forestry S.Goncharov (father of 5 children) found himself in especially hard. Starting from 28.09.2011 by the order of the park director O.Apanasik № 149 dated 27.07.2011 his position was cancelled in connection with the junction of the Elantsinskoye and Beregovoye forestries «with the aim to optimize the production process». The complete sense of this «optimization» boils down to the cancellation of the Senior State inspector of the Elantsinskoye forestry position. Meanwhile this forestry plays the key role for preservation of the unique natural complexes of the Western coast of the Baikal Lake for control upon the coastal territories that are most frequently visited by tourists. During last years the protocols about violations of nature protective regime could be drew up only by Senior State inspectors. Cancellation of even one position of Senior State inspector in the conditions of constantly reinforced press upon nature of the national park contradicts to the common sense. Such an important question as junction of forestries is necessary to discuss on the Scientific-technical council of the national park, but it was not discussed even on the plenary sessions. MNRE did not accept any measures to the national park guidance. At the end of December, 2011 in spite of pressure from the director’s side the park staff members wrote a new appeal to the President of the country. It was signed by 9 staff members including 5 Senior State inspectors, who lead the forestries of the national park. Their position is shared by the absolute majority of forestry staff of the park. Inspection made by the Department of Rosprirodnadzor in Siberian Federal District revealed a considerable number of violations in the national park including those that are connected with forest logging. In the inspection act of the department 38 violations of the obligatory demands to nature use and demands of the municipal legal acts are reflected. Among them there are shortcomings in the organization of the national park territory protection, in the work with violators of the nature protective regime, in realization of fauna objects use, in realization of the recreational activity, in questions of environment pollution etc. It is marked in the materials that all revealed during examination “administrative infringe| 17


ments of the law were admitted under the activity (inactivity) of the Oleg Apanasik, the director of the national park, who had facilities but did not take proper measures for non-admission of all above-mentioned infringements”. 13 protocols for Apanasik and national park were kept to a whole sum of 500 thousand rubles. And “Certificate about Pribaikalsky National Park activity” drew up as a result of the examination contains quite a number of simply glaring facts. In particular in 2011 the national park administration distorted the actual information about forest fires – the area of forest fires was reduced (in some cases in several times), forested area was marked as not forested, the same big fire was registered as two or even three separate fires that are not fell under “large-scale” category. In July in the Ostrovnoye forestry 300 cubic meters of wood was cut. They were used for receiving 55 cubic meters of saw timber that due to the presented acts went for construction of a blockhouse, construction of verandah for blockhouse, for repair of the Ostrovnoye forestry office, construction (repair) of fence on the office territory. It was revealed during examination that there was no office repair and fence construction. The above-mentioned blockhouse was constructed several years ago. Pat of saw timber was used for the needs of the “Ulybka” tourist base that is located since 2010 on the territory of the Ostrovnoye forestry office (tourist base does not possess documents for the lien of land plot): 12 yurtas (national tents), floors, sheds, toilets, wooden structure that includes 3 toilets, shower cabin and washstand. Wood of the national park without any payment was used for need of the private organization («Lesnaya gazeta» (“Forest newspaper”) №8 (10258) from 04.02.2012, article «Pribaikalsky National Park - symptom of illness»). Before the New Year eve Vice-Director (Science) of the national park Mr.Vitaly Riabtsev (one of the authors of the appeal to the President) had got the notification about his discharge in connection with the liquidation of the scientific department. (http://www.svobodanews.ru/content/transcript/24469199.html). Thus the Russian State Party creates the fundamentals for transferring the Baikal Lake World Heritage property into the World Heritage in Danger List that are foreseen by the article 180а (п.ii) of the Operational Guidelines as well decisions of the 34 and 35 sessions of the World Heritage Committee.

Volcanoes of Kamchatka

were inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1996. It consists of Kronotsky State Biosphere Nature Reserve, Bystrinsky, Nalychevo and Southern Kamchatka Nature Parks and Southern Kamchatka State Nature Preserve. The whole territory covered by the property is equal to 3,720 thousand hectares.

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This is one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world, with a high density of active volcanoes, a variety of types, and a wide range of related features. The property represents the majority of volcanic features of the Kamchatka peninsula. The interplay of active volcanoes, geysers and glaciers forms a dynamic landscape of great beauty. The site contains great species diversity, including the world’s largest known variety of salmonoid fish and exceptional concentrations of sea otter, brown bear and Stellar’s sea eagle. Due to the information published on the official web-site of the Kamchatsky Kray Administration (http://www.kamchatka.gov.ru/?cont=info&menu=1&menu2=0&news_id=19912 ) dated April 3, delegation of Kamchatsky Kray to the Republic of Korea led by the Governor of the Kray and Chairperson of the Legislative Assembly of the Kray presented to the Korean side the most important projects of the peninsula development. Kamchatka delegation presented three main projects of the region development: the complex development of energy sector of the region, development of water supply and sewerage systems, construction of year-round international ski mountain resort. The greatest interest of the Korean side was attracted by the projects of construction of Kronotskaya hydro power station (HPS) (230 MW) and of the largest in the world tidal power station in the Penzhinsky district. Governor of the Kamchatsky Kray Vladimir Ilukhin also voiced the plans of development of the Kronotskaya HPS «Hydro resources of Kamchatka are not limited by that. Yet from the Soviet time the projects of construction of Zhupanovskaya and Kronotskaya HPS with big volumes of powerfulness were discussed. «Now we return to this idea, discuss seriously this project, study the documents of the 1980s. At the first half of the next year we will realize how to use these resources» (http://kamkrai.com/gov/1422-vladimir-ilyuhinenergetika-hrebet-ekonomiki-kamchatskogo-kraya.html ). Thus the Administration seriously examines the plans of Kronotskye HPS construction. Materials regarding the construction of the above-mentioned HPS are located on the web-site of the “Rushydro” Co. Ltd. http://www.lhp.rushydro.ru/company/objectsmap/5737.html http://www.lhp.rushydro.ru/company/objectsmap/5738.html http://www.lhp.rushydro.ru/company/objectsmap They show definitely that HPS is planned to be constructed on the Kronotskaya River that completely flows on the territory of the Kronotsky State Nature Biosphere Reserve from Kronotskoye Lake till mouth. Nature reserve is a part of the “Volcanoes of Kamchatka” World Heritage property. HPS construction is a rough violation of the Russian legislation (Federal Law «On specially protected natural territories» (article 9), Federal Law «On environment protection» (articles 4, 59) and will lead the destruction of the natural complexes of the

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Kronotskaya River and complete nature reserve as well to lowering of the object’s outstanding universal value. Thus, making the decision about construction of Kronotskye HPS will lead with big evidence to the inscription of this World Heritage property to the “World Heritage in Danger List”.

Golden Mountains of Altai

WH Site was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1998 consists of Altaisky and Katunsky State Biosphere Nature Reserves, their buffer zones, Mountain Belukha and Ukok Quiet Zone Nature Parks with the territory of 1,640 thousand hectares. The Altai mountains in southern Siberia form the major mountain range in the western Siberia biogeographic region and provide the source of its greatest rivers – the Ob and the Irtysh. The region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation. The site is also an important habitat for endangered animal species such as the snow leopard. In 1994 the unique Ukok Plateau was included in the regional protected nature territory «Ukok Quiet Zone». In spite of the Russian State Party statement that the decision about pipe-line construction has not been made yet, in 2011 design and survey works on the pipeline route were started on the territory of the Golden Mountains of Altai World Heritage property inside the borders of the “Ukok Quite Zone” Nature Park including its zone B where such activity is forbidden even by the park regime. Due to the above letter to acting Head of the “Kosh-Agachsky District” Municipality from 12.04.2011 № 244 the act of land plot selection for the gas pipeline route is now in a stage of signing. The fire appeared during design and survey works in the area of their conduction. Fire covered nearly 4,000 hectares of unique steppe communities (http://www.transparentworld.ru/ru/environment/monitoring/oopt/ukok/). Nevertheless the Prosecutor’s Office of the Altai Republic did not found grounds for assuming the measures of the Prosecutor’s response (http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/ru/news/06-12-2011-Ukok-Altai/). Answering to the Greenpeace demand, the Prosecutor’s Office informed that «the grounds for assuming the measures of the Prosecutor’s response are not perceived». In the same answer the first Vice-Prosecutor of the Republic Mr. S.Shukhin recognized that the works were not conformed in a proper way and permission for these works was not handed. Then fact of heavy techniques (KAMAZ automobiles and borer on a base of ТТ-4М caterpillar) work in protected area was also recognized. 20 |


World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

(с) Andrey Pokidaev / Greenpeace

Greenpeace

Photo 3. Survey work for construction of the “Altai” gas pipeline on the territory of the “Ukok Quite Zone” Nature Park. August-September, 2011

Only after repeated appeal to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation the Prosecutor’s Office of the Altai Republic recognized the illegality of design and survey works on the territory of Ukok Plateau (http://procrf.ru/news/14617-ministru-lesnogohozyaystva-respubliki.html). But the Prosecutor’s Office limited itself only with submission pronouncement to the Ministry of Forestry of the Altai Republic regarding non-acceptance of measures against violations of the Nature Park regime. At the same time in the official information of the General Prosecutor’s Office it is marked that: «Works will be continued and in 2012. Development of the Project documentation of the “Altai” main gas pipeline has to be finalized in the third quarter of the current year». As “Vedomosti” newspaper informed on February 15, 2012 that “Russian gas concern “Gazprom” expects that China will agree to its price conditions after successful testing of introduction of a new mechanism pricing on gas inside China, Alexander Medvedev, the vice board chair of the Russian Gas holding, counts”. | 21


According to him at present day “Gazprom” and China agreed as a whole. «We agreed practically about everything. There exists only one point and then we will be able to start the fulfillment of our construction and upstream projects in Russia and our Chinese partners in turn will start the work on their part of the project», – Medvedev said in its interview to the Russia Today TV Channel (http:// www.vedomosti.ru/companies/news/1504584/gazprom_zhdet_chto_kitaj_primet_ego_usloviya_posle#ixzz1n2YKFIyO). With thus “Gazprom”, State authorities and Prosecutor’s office recognize that works for construction of the “Altai” gas pipeline have been started already and will be continued in 2012.

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Western Caucasus

was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1999. It consists of Caucasus State Biosphere Nature Reserve and its buffer zone, Bolshoy Thach Nature Park, Ridge Buijnij, River Tsitsa headwaters and Headwaters of Rivers Pshecha and Pshechashcha Nature Monuments with a whole territory of almost 300 thousand hectares. The Western Caucasus, situated in the extreme western end of the Caucasus mountains and located 50 km north-east of the Black Sea, is one of the few large mountain areas of Europe that has not experienced significant human impact. Its subalpine and alpine pastures have only been grazed by wild animals, and its extensive tracts of undisturbed mountain forests, extending from the lowlands to the subalpine zone, are unique in Europe. The site has a great diversity of ecosystems, with important endemic plants and wildlife, and is the place of origin and reintroduction of the mountain subspecies of the European bison. At the same time, the administration of the Krasnodarsky Kray keeps trying to carry out the intensive economic activity in the territory of the reserve. The orders of Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Adygea dated June 29, 2009 N 111-k and dated February 19, 2010 N 49-k made changes in the certificate for natural monument «Headwaters of the Pshekha and Pshekhashkha Rivers». In accordance with them all kinds of cuttings are prohibited on the territory of natural monument except cuttings of forest plantings on the forest plots intended for construction, reconstruction and exploitation of the linear features. Paragraph 10 of the same item prohibits construction and location of industrial and agricultural enterprises and their single objects, construction of capital buildings and constructions with the exception of linear features. Paragraph 7 of the item 7 of the certificate states that permissible types of use include conduction of works for construction, reconstruction and exploitation of linear features under condition of existence of the positive conclusion of the State Environmental assessment regarding project documentation of objects, which construction, reconstruction or capital repair are planned to conduct on the lands of natural monument. In fact this change meant the permission for construction of roads on the territory of the natural monument that could lead to the return of road construction to the “Lunnaya Poliana” Presidential residence. The above-mentioned change of the certificate of the natural monument was abrogated by the definition of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated March 23, 2011 N 24-G11-4. On the issue of infrastructure development of tourist facilities on the territory of the World Heritage Site “Western Caucasus”. The resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 833 dated 14.10.2010 “On creation of tourism cluster in the North Caucasian Federal District, Krasnodar Region | 23


Scheme 1. Scheme of the Lagonaki mountain ski resort. August, 2011.

and the Republic of Adygea� stipulates the formation of special economic zone of touristrecreational type on the territory of the heritage site. The Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the Republic of Adygea have concluded an agreement on the establishment of this special economic zone, within which it is planned to build a tourist and recreational facilities. These plans partially cover the territory of Lagonaki biosphere polygon of the Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve, whose several plots are planned to accommodate tourist infrastructure and mountain skiing facilities. 24 |


Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

Scheme 2. Plan of borders of the special economic zone on the territory of Maikop District of the Republic of Adygea. January, 2011.

It should be noted that, in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, the implementation of such projects is possible only subject to obtaining a positive conclusion of the state environmental expertise of federal level, which is carried out taking into account prepared EIA materials and the results of public hearings.

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Scheme 3. Scheme of the Lagonaki Resort with drawn borders of the “Western Caucasus� World Heritage property. January, 2011.

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“Height 5642” Project was presented in 2011 to the investors on the Economic Forum in Davos. Due to the information of the RIA “Novosti” news agency (http://rian.ru/tourism/20110526/380134659.html): «Presidents of Russia and France Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy agreed that France will render the comprehensive assistance in the development of the Northern Caucasus resorts. “The presidents decided to include the project of creation of the tourist cluster on the Northern Caucasus into the priority directions of the strategic partnership between two countries”, – is written in the mutual statement of Medvedev and Sarkozy. Leaders of two countries discussed questions of cooperation “in realization of strategy of social-economic development of the Northern Caucasus”. This strategy includes in particular the project of creation of the “Height 5642” tourist cluster, which aim is the development of winter ski mountain resorts in Lagonaki (Adygea), Arkhyz (KarachayevoCherkessia), Prielbrusie (Kabardino-Balkaria), Mamison (North Ossetia) and Matlas (Dageatan), as well as creation and development in the future the balneological resorts on the shores of Black and Caspian Seas, it is noted in the statement. President Sarkozy emphasized that “France possesses the unique and diversified experience and knowledge in the field of complex development of mountain regions and in realization of large projects in the sphere of tourism”. “Especially it concerns to creation and exploitation of the mountain ski and balneological resorts. France is ready to grant this experience in full to the Russian counterpart”, - is stated in the document». In the Governmental Decision dated October 14, 2010 № 833 is planned to construct the mountain ski resort on the Lagonaki Plateau which is located on the territory of the Caucasus Nature Reserve – part of the Western Caucasus World Heritage property. On January 21, 2011 Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation signed the agreement with the Government of the Adygea Republic № С-11-ОС/ D25 about creation on the territory of Maykop District the tourist-recreational special economic zone.

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Later on this agreement had been added with agreements № С-638- ОС/D25 dated July 26, 2011 and № С-710- ОС/D25 dated September 26, 2011. On November 30, 2011 the President of Russia had signed the Federal Law № 365-FZ “About introduction of changes into the Federal Law “On special economic zones in the Russian Federation” and separate legislative acts of the Russian Federation” that carries considerable changes into the Federal law «On Specially protected natural territories». In particular due to this law on specially allocated by the executive authority body that charges the State nature biosphere reserve, plots of biosphere polygon of the State nature biosphere reserve for ensuring of activities foreseen by the regulations of this polygon as well as development of educational tourism, physical culture and sport, it is admitted the location of objects of the capital construction and related objects of infrastructure, the list of which is settled by the Government of the Russian Federation for each biosphere polygon of the State nature biosphere reserve. Land plots necessary for realization of activity pointed in the paragraph 4 of the present article could be granted to citizens, legal persons for lease in accordance with the land legislation (more detailed analysis of this Law you can see in the comments to the paragraph 1.5). In development of this law the Russian Government had prepared the project the order due to which on the biosphere polygon of the Caucasus Nature Reserve (Lagonaki) it I admitted the capital construction of the guest houses with subsidiary buildings, rope tows, cableways, mountain ski routes as well as objects (including linear) of engineer and transport infrastructure that are necessary for functioning of these objects (plans of location of these objects you can see on a scheme, the yellow line shows the border of Western Caucasus World Heritage property). On January 20, 2011 the OJSC «Northern Caucasus Resortsа» with a letter № 1306 applied to the Caucasus Nature Biosphere Reserve with the demand «about changing the territory of the Lagonaki biosphere polygon with the aim to put it in conformity with the configuration of the tourist-recreation special economic zone on the territory of the Adygea Republic». In fact the OJSC «Northern Caucasus Resortsа» demanded the spreading of the biosphere polygon (with the permission for construction) to the complete territory of the Lagonaki Plateau inside the borders of the Caucasus Nature Reserve. At the same time due to the data of the nature reserve staff, starting from 1924 till 1951 the high mountain part of the Lagonaki Plateau was inside the Caucasus Nature Reserve and had the regime of restricted economic use (regulated cattle pasture). Even so the regime of temporary regulated economic use had only mountain-meadow lands, mountain-forested lands were completely closed for economic activities.

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In 1951 in concordance with the Decisions of the USSR Council of Ministers № 3192 from 29. 08. 51 and № 4164 from 29. 10. 51 219,7 thousand hectares of natural complexes including part of the Lagonaki Plateau were tear away from the Caucasus Nature Reserve. As a result in the period from 1951 to 1990 the high mountain part of the Lagonaki Plateau remained in the regime of intensive pasture exploitation. The complete district was out of environmental control and during the period of its exploitation no one decision of the authorities about regulation of the cattle pasture and recreational activity was not implemented. The consequences of such economic activity became catastrophic: unsystematic and uncontrolled use of pastures during decades leaded to the 8 time decline of productivity of the biological communities (from 32 till 4 quintal/ hectare), and in some places to their complete destruction. In connection with repeated appeals to the authorities by scientific and environmental communities in 1990 the Executive Committee of the Council of public deputies of the Adygean Autonomous Region made a decision № 20 from 26. 01. 90 «About transmission of Fisht-Oshten massif and Dzhigursan Ridge to the Caucasus Nature Biosphere Reserve». In 1992 the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Adygea № 234 от 13.08.1992 «About transmission of the high mountain Lagonaki pasture to the Caucasus Nature Biosphere Reserve» was made. In the appendix to this decision it was stipulated that this territory is joined as a biosphere polygon. The main principles of conducting the regulated economic activity on the joined pasturable areas were determined. Among them: 1) priority of environmental interests upon economic ones; 2) conduction of economic activity is possible only on defined plots sorted out in the process of functional zoning of the territory; 3) conduction of the economic activity is permissible only in a case of obligatory observance of the scientifically grounded regime of use; 4) the usage of resources of the Lagonaki part of the Caucasus Nature Reserve for detached organizations is payable. The payment has not to be rental and to pursue the profit receipt; the charging funds have to be directed to the financing of works connected with control, protection and damage reimbursement from this usage. As a result of functional zoning of the territory joined to the Nature Reserve in 1992 and made by Nature Reserve staff the areas of the pasturable massifs for restricted cattle pasture were marked out (borders, their area and list of quarters and allotments were determined). In the capacity of criteria for separation there were used: 1) relatively low concentration of especially valuable species of plants and animals; 2) relatively high productivities of meadows; 3) accessibility for cattle pass. On the other territory of the Lagonaki Plateau the economic activity is restricted by mainly pedestrian educational tourism with the use of confirmed routes. The parts of the Lagonaki Plateau marked out for restricted cattle pasture during the whole period starting from 1992 in fact function in the regime of the biosphere polygon but juristically this status on these territories was not fixed. | 29


Thus at the moment in the limits of Caucasus Nature Biosphere Reserve the territories with juristically fixed status of biosphere polygon are absent. Lagonaki Plateau is the only large high mountain limestone massif of the Russian Caucasus inside the protected area. The antiquity of the carbonate rocks on the Caucasus and considerable disconnection of the limestone ridges and massifs expressed already from the upper Pliocene contributed to the active forming of the new species on them. Thanks to that fact the limestone massifs are characterized with higher species wealth and specificity of biological communities than massifs composed from other rocks. This circumstance as well as location of the Lagonaki Plateau on junction of the biogeographical provinces stipulates its extremely high value fro Russia and the world that became a reason for inscription of this territory (inside the Caucasus Nature Reserve) into the UNESCO World Heritage List. Nature protective importance of this region is determined by a number of criteria: high biological diversity and biota endemism, concentration of rare species that need special measures for protection, extremely high vulnerability of the natural complexes. Thus the flora of the Lagonaki Plateau includes 807 species of vascular plants that exceeds considerably the species diversity of high mountains of complete Ural (521 species), Altai (297), Eastern Sayan (540) and so on. Nearly 25% of the Lagonaki species are endemics including 22 species that are narrowly regional and 4 – local. That means that Lagonaki Plateau and prima facie Fisht and Oshten mountains, is for majority of them the only habitat on the territory of Russia. For 12 species of plants the Fisht-Oshten massif is locus classicus. The local species wealth of the vegetable communities on the plateau exceeds the wealth of the vegetable communities of the analogous habitats of other parts of the nature reserve and some of them (subalpine middle grass meadows) contain the record-breaking number of species for the Western Caucasus as a whole (more than 110 on 400 П2). On Lagonaki Plateau there was revealed 60 species of liverworts (50% of nature reserve flora), 155 species of moss (43% of nature reserve flora), at that 25 species grow in the nature reserve only on Lagonaki. 90% of obligate calciphilous mosses of the nature reserve are concentrated here, 17% grow only on this territory. Plateau is a place of habitat of rare and endemic species of Amphibia and reptiles. The habitats of many rare birds inscribed in the IUCN Red Data List: (black vulture (IUCN Red Data List NT), griffon vulture, bearded vulture, Caucasian snowcock) are located here. For a number of high mountain bird species the North-Western border of the habitat lies on the Lagonaki Plateau. Lagonaki Plateau as a part of Caucasus Nature Reserve is a key ornithological territory. A big number of mammals inhabit the plateau. Faunistic value of this territory is determined first of all by preserved here the isolated group of Caucasian chamois (IUCN Red 30 |


Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

Data List) the number of which during last years started to restore and reaches now 120 individuals. The colonies of cheiroptera inhabit numerous caves of the plateau. Lagonaki Plateau is characterized with the highest diversity of ground mollusk species in the Caucasus. The considerable part of them represents regional and local endemics. The little-studied original entomofauna presents the huge interest. Endemism of some insect groups exceeds 60%. One can find here 68 species of ground beetles only. 11 of them (16%) are narrow endems of the Western Caucasus. Among 10 species of high mountain bumblebees, 50% are narrow endems. The territory of the Lagonaki Plateau is extremely important for protection of rare and endangered species. The record-breaking number of rare species of animals, plants and fungi inscribed in the Federal and regional Red Data books for the nature reserve are fixed here – 190. In particular on the territory there were marked 86 «Red Data» species of vascular plants, 4 species of mosses, 8 species of fungi-macromycetes, 4 species of lichens, more than 50 species of invertebrate animals, 5 amphibians, 3 reptiles, 19 species of birds, 10 species of cheiroptera, isolated group of Caucasian chamois (more than 120 individuals). As a total due to the nature protection zoning of the Caucasus Nature Reserve the Lagonaki Plateau is reckognised among especially valuable parts of the reserve. Lagonaki Plateau is a natural isolate with limited number of external sources of colonization. That is why any even casual local extinction of populations or species in its limits will have the irreversible character. Such insular systems are especially sensitive to any form of the anthropogenic influence. It makes conditional the high vulnerability of the biological communities of this territory and demands especially strict measures of protection. Thus the building of sport and tourist objects on the Lagonaki Plateau could lead to the loss of the outstanding universal value of the Western Caucasus World Heritage property. Besides in the Caucasus Nature Biosphere Reserve the construction of a road to the non-existent meteorological station is planned. On the official web-site of state purchases Zakupki.gov.ru two competitions fro development of the project documentation of the road that will pass through nature reserve and neighbouring forest lands were announced. The results of one of these “competitions” for the part of the “auto-road route” with number two (it is planned to be constructed on the territory of the Caucasus Nature reserve – 10 kilometers) are finalized. The OJSC “UPK-Story” that is a part of a “Southern Industrial Corporation” group of companies became a conqueror (http://ewnc.org/node/7514 ). On October 10, 2011 the Vice-Minister of Nature Resources Mr. R.Gizatulin in his interview to the “Liberty” radio station (http://www.svobodanews.ru/content/article/24355159. html) acquitted construction of this illegal road via the territory of the Caucasus Nature Reserve (Western Caucasus World Heritage property) as well as territory proposed for the | 31


inclusion into the Sochi National Park declaring that «no damage for the nature reserve will take place». At that due to the words of Tatiana Akatova, the senior staff scientist of the reserve, PhD (Biology) the damage will be considerable. «The road has to pass the valley of the Shakhe River from Babuk-Aul settlement to the reserve cordon and further on to the Solokh-Aul settlement.  On a part of this route that is inside the nature reserve the road already exists but it is used only for inner purposes” – she says. Due to her words, the nature reserve staff recognized about new road from environmentalists-activists and was strictly negative to this news. “This territory is extremely valuable. The unique box-tree forests, many of them already were cut down, and such big massifs as here on this area do not survive in other places, - says Tatiana Akatova. – In Sochi National Park box-tree also grows, but in connection with the construction of the Olympic objects many massifs in spite of the environmentalists’ protests were destroyed. And now this construction is widening and our nature reserve constantly is in danger”. In correspondence with the Federal Law “On environment Protection” (article 2) the state nature reserves (including biosphere) as well as rare and endangered soils, forests and other vegetation, animals and other organisms and their habitats are subject to special protection. In correspondence with article 59 of the above-mentioned Federal Law any economic or other activity that influences negatively on the environment and leads to degradation and (or) destruction of the natural complexes having special nature protective scientific, historic-cultural, esthetic, recreational, health improving and other valuable importance, is prohibited. In correspondence with article 6 of the Federal Law «On specially protected natural territories» from 14.03.1995 № 33-FZ land, water objects, subsoil, flora and fauna that are located on the territories of the state nature reserves are granted to the use (possession) for state nature reserves on a base of rights that are foreseen by the Federal laws. It is prohibited withdrawal or any other cessation of rights on land plots and other natural resources that were included into the state nature reserves. Natural resources and immovable property of state nature reserves are completely withdrawn from the circulation (they could not be alienated and move from one person to another using other means). In correspondence with article 9 of the Federal Law the regime of special protection of the territories of state nature reserves foresees ban on any activity that contradicts to the tasks of the state nature reserve and to the regime of special protection of its territory settled in the regulations about this state nature reserve. In correspondence with the Regulations about state nature reserves in the Russian Federation adopted by the Decision of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 18.12.91 № 48 (in the edition of Decisions of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 21.08.92 N 613, dated 27.12.94 N 1428, dated 23.04.96 N 527) any activity 32 |


Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

that contradicts to the tasks of the state nature reserve and to the regime of special protection of its territory is prohibited, including: Prospecting works and development of minerals, disturbance of soil cover, exits of minerals, exposures and rocks; Construction and location of industrial and agricultural enterprises and their separate objects, construction of buildings and facilities, roads and overpasses, electricity transmission lines and other communications excluding those that are necessary for providing the nature reserve activities; Staying, passage and drive by the extraneous persons and transportation means outside the roads and waterways of the general use; In correspondence with article 27 of the Land Code of the Russian Federation the land plots occupied by state nature reserves and national parks are withdrawn from the circulation. Article 95 of the Land Code attributes lands of nature reserves to objects of the National property. On lands of state nature reserves including biosphere ones the activity not connected with conservation and research of natural complexes and objects and not запрещается foreseen by Federal laws and laws of the subjects of the Russian Federation is prohibited. In the limits of lands of protected areas the changing of target purpose of land plots or cessation of land rights for needs contradicting their target purpose is not allowed. Thus the construction of resorts and objects of transport infrastructure on the territory of the nature reserve will be the violation of the Federal Law “On environment protection”, Federal Law “On specially protected natural territories”, Federal Law “On Environmental Impact Assessment”, Land Code of the Russian federation, Regulations about state nature reserves in the Russian Federation. Construction of above-mentioned objects on the territory of Western Caucasus World Natural Heritage property will also be the violation of obligations by the Russian State Party that escape from the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage and will inevitably entail the inscription of the property into the “World Heritage in Danger List”. In general it is necessary to state that from 9 Russian World Natural Heritage properties 5 are constantly under threat of destruction due to the plans of realization their large projects of economic activity. In the article 31 of the Federal Law «About International Agreements of the Russian Federation” it is fixed that international agreements are subject to the conscientious fulfillment. In correspondence with Constitution of the Russian Federation (article 15 part 4) «Universally recognized principles and regulations of the International Law and International agreements of the Russian Federation are a component of its legal system. | 33


If by the International agreement of the Russian Federation other rules than are foreseen by law are fixed, the regulations of the International agreement are employed». In correspondence with the Federal Law “On Environment Protection” (article 4) objects inscribed in the World Heritage List are subject to special protection. Thus the functioning of large industrial enterprises, prospecting and mining of minerals inside the borde rs of the World heritage properties is a violation of the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, and as a result of the Constitution of the Russian federation and of Federal Laws «About International Agreements of the Russian federation” and “On Environment Protection”.

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Greenpeace

World Natural Heritage in Russia is in Danger.

Conclusion According to the above said, most Russian properties of the World Natural Heritage are jeopardized by a serious anthropogenic impact or under the constant threat of degradation as a result of realization of large nature hazardous projects in their territories. This means that the Russian Party violates its commitments under the Convention concerning the Protection of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage. At the same time, judging by official State Party reports on the state of conservation of WH sites presented by the Russian Federation, the Russian authorities are trying to conceal existing environmental issues from the WH Center by misinforming experts and providing inaccurate and, on some occasions, deliberately false information and data.

In this view we recommend the World Heritage Committee to make the next decisions: 1. To demand from the Russian Federation taking urgent measures to ensure protection of the World Heritage properties (in particular, cancellation of large nature disturbing projects in the territories of the properties – the gas pipeline through the Ukok Plateau, sports facilities and roads in the Caucasus Nature Reserve, extraction of natural resources in the territories of the Yugyd Va National Park, construction of hydro power stations in Kronotsky Nature Reserve). 2. To inscribe World Heritage properties “Virgin Komi Forests”, “Golden Mountains of Altai” and “Western Caucasus” into the “World Heritage in Danger List”. 3. To obligate the State Party of Russia to involve independent experts including representatives of non-governmental organizations in preparation of official state party reports on the state of conservation of WH sites. 4. To inform the UN Secretary General about non-fulfillment of commitments of the Russian Federation under the Convention Concerning the Protection of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

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The brochure about main threats for the UNESCO World Natural Heritage properties