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Committee Decisions

37 COM 8B.14

Tajik National Park (Mountains of the Pamirs) (Tajikistan)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Documents WHC-13/37.COM/8B and WHC-13/37.COM/INF.8B2;

2.  Inscribes the Tajik National Park (Mountains of the Pamirs), Tajikistan , on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (vii) and (viii) ;

3.  Adopts the following Statements of Outstanding Universal Value:

Brief synthesis

Tajik National Park (2,611,674 ha in area) encompasses almost the entire Pamir Mountains, the third highest mountain ecosystem in the world after the Himalaya and Karakorum Mountains. The Pamir Mountains lie at the centre of the ‘Pamir Knot’, the term used by geographers to describe the tangle of the highest mountain ranges on the Eurasian continent. Huge tectonic forces stemming from the collision of the Indian-Australian plate with the Eurasian Plate have progressively thrown up the Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Kunlun and Tien Shan – all radiating out from the Pamir Mountains. Along with the Karakoram Mountains, the Pamir region is one of the most tectonically-active locations in the world.

Tajik National Park stands out as a very large protected area, with a stark treeless landscape of exceptional natural beauty. The outstanding scenic values are enhanced by the landform juxtaposition of heavily-glaciated high peaks and high plateaux with an alpine desert character. The property contains a number of superlative natural phenomena, including: Fedchenko Glacier (the longest glacier in the world outside of the Polar Regions); Lake Sarez (a very high, deep lake impounded just over a century ago by a severe earthquake which generated a huge landslide forming the Uzoi Dam, the highest natural dam in the world); and Karakul Lake, likely to be the world’s highest large lake of meteoric origin.

Criterion (vii) :Tajik National Park is one of the largest high mountain protected areas in the Palearctic Realm. The Fedchenko Glacier, the largest valley glacier of the Eurasian Continent and the world’s longest outside of the Polar Regions, is unique and a spectacular example at the global level. The visual combination of some of the deepest gorges in the world, surrounded by rugged glaciated peaks, as well as the alpine desert and lakes of the Pamir high plateaux adds up to an alpine wilderness of exceptional natural beauty. Lake Sarez and Lake Karakul are superlative natural phenomena. Lake Sarez, impounded behind the highest natural dam in the world, is of great geomorphic interest. Lake Karakul is likely to be the highest large lake of meteoric origin.

Criterion (viii) : The Pamir Mountains are a major centre of glaciation on the Eurasian continent and Tajik National Park illustrates within one protected area an outstanding juxtaposition of many high mountains, valley glaciers, and deep river gorges alongside the cold continental desert environment of the high Pamir Plateau landforms. An outstanding landform feature of the property’s geologically dynamic terrain is Lake Sarez. It was created by an earthquake-generated landslide of an estimated six billion tonnes of material and is possibly the youngest deep water alpine lake in the world. It is of international scientific and geomorphological hazard significance because of the on-going geological processes influencing its stability, and the sort of lacustrine ecosystem which will develop over time. Tajik National Park furthermore offers a unique opportunity for the study of plate tectonics and continental subduction phenomena thereby contributing to our fundamental understanding of earth building processes.

Integrity

The property comprises the entire area of the Tajik National Park and, because of its large size, mountainous and alpine desert character, and remoteness from human settlements, the property is considered to have an outstandingly high level of physical integrity. Consequently there is no need for a formal buffer zone. The defined core zone of TNP makes up nearly 78% of the property, with the other three sustainable ‘limited use’ zones ranged around the periphery of the park. Tajik National Park is owned by the State and, as a national park, it has the highest legal protection status in Tajikistan.

Protection and management requirements

The legislative framework and management arrangements for the property are comprehensive and clear and all activities that could threaten the integrity of the property, including mining, are legally prohibited.

There is a medium-term management plan approved by the Government and the State Agency of Natural Protected Areas is responsible for coordination of all activities in the park. The implementation of the management plan involves the participation of local communities and their traditional rights over the use of natural resources are respected. The zoning of the property accommodates both traditional and biodiversity conservation needs. The financing for the park comes largely from national sources with a minor contribution from donor funded projects.

Inscription on the World Heritage list presents an increased opportunity to the State Party to develop ecotourism. Therefore, long-term protection and management requirements for the property include the need to prevent negative impacts from tourism whilst accommodating any increased visitation to the property through the provision of quality visitor services.

There is a need for secured and adequate financing for the park to fully implement the management plan and carry out law enforcement measures. Since Government sources are limited, alternative sources of funding need to be investigated. In this respect, the concept of trophy hunting management needs to be developed, as trophy hunting could be an important supplementary income source for the management of the park. However, it should encompass all necessary elements of a science-based approach to game and habitat management, involve independent and external experts, and have a tight regulatory framework.

The property requires an effective long-term monitoring programme, including defined key indicators of the conservation and habitat health of the property.

4.  Commends the State Party on its continued and responsive efforts to improve protection and management of the property, in particular for the development and future implementation of the management plan;

5.  Recommends the State Party to marshal the necessary human and financial resources to ensure effective long term protection and management in accordance with the property’s management plan and to explore options to secure additional international financial assistance for capacity building;

6.  Encourages the State Party to cooperate with the neighbouring State Party of Kyrgyzstan to develop improved and sustainable tourism programmes which enhance visitor services, income and which foster community-based tourism development;

7.  Also encourages the State Party to cooperate with neighbouring State Parties, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to undertake a regional comparative biodiversity and geodiversity study of Inner Asian high mountains and deserts and to conduct a regional expert workshop with a view to developing opportunities for future transnational potentially serial nominations.

Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List, Outstanding Universal Value
States Parties: Tajikistan
Session: 37COM