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Russian officials search for financing for Baikal conservation project

July 30, 2017, 6:51 UTC+3 ULAN-UDE

The project is estimated at 500 billion rubles ($8.4 billion at the current exchange rate)

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Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal

© TASS/Maxim Kashirin

ULAN-UDE, July 30. /TASS/. Russian Nature Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi on Saturday tasked officials who earlier designed a massive conservation project for Russia’s world-famous Lake Baikal to think about sources for its financing.

Work on the draft project, estimated at 500 billion rubles ($8.4 billion at the current exchange rate), began in 2016. The document is currently being finalized by a group of officials, including from the governments of Siberia’s Republic of Buryatia and Irkutsk Region, and is expected to be ready in the second quarter of 2018.

"I suggest that everyone does his best to think of possible sources [of financing]. Because without it we will find ourselves in a situation of a serious deficit," Nature Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi said at a meeting of the intergovernmental commission on the protection of Lake Baikal.

"The declared expenditures are significant and are estimated at hundreds of billions of rubles. There is a plenty of tasks, but the issue of financing remains uncertain," the minister said.

According to the official, the current federal program on the conservation of the world’s largest freshwater lake, as well as on the social and economic development of adjacent areas, fails to achieve the intended goals.

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