Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1998
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
2001: Joint UNESCO/UNDP mission; 2007, 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018
On 1 February 2018, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/documents/, and provides the following information:
The report provides more detailed information on one component of the property, the Katunsky State Nature Reserve, including on long-term monitoring of climate change impacts on high altitude ecosystems and monitoring of glaciers. Information also concerns visitor management and measures taken to monitor impacts along the trails and mitigate potential negative impacts, as well as on efforts to better engage with local communities and stakeholders regarding activities aimed at outreach, education and promotion of the World Heritage property and at supporting local communities and promoting sustainable livelihoods, including through the development of ecotourism activities involving local people.
On 10 January 2018, the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party requesting clarifications regarding third party information raising concerns about planned and ongoing tourism infrastructure development, as well as potential gold exploration and extraction within the property. At the time of writing this report, no response has been received from the State Party.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The State Party report provides little information on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2012 mission and most of the information provided is related to one component of the property only, the Katunsky State Nature Reserve. It is recommended that the Committee recalls the 2012 mission recommendations and urges the State Party to provide a full report of their implementation across all components of the property.
The approval by UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme of the transboundary Biosphere Reserve “Great Altai”, which includes the Katunsky State Nature Reserve component of the property and the Katon-Karagaiskiy National Park in Kazakhstan is welcome. It is also welcome that transboundary cooperation with Mongolia has been enhanced through a Memorandum of Understanding between the reserve’s authorities and the Administration of Protected Areas of the Mongolian Altai, as recommended by the 2012 mission. It is recommended that the Committee encourage again all the States Parties of the Altai region to consolidate existing transboundary conservation efforts, including through the application of the World Heritage Convention where appropriate.
The efforts to ensure better engagement of local communities and other stakeholders in the management of the property, and activities aimed at promoting sustainable livelihoods and outreach, education and promotion activities are also welcome and should be further encouraged and expanded to other parts of the property. While the State Party reconfirms that the route of the proposed Altai gas pipeline has not yet been determined and that no construction works have been undertaken, it should be recalled that the Committee has repeatedly urged the State Party to take an unequivocal decision to abandon the plans for the construction of the pipeline through the property and that any decision to go forward with the Altai gas pipeline through the property would represent an ascertained danger to its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. It should be further recalled that the Committee also has repeatedly expressed its concerns about Decree N202 of the Republic of Altai adopted in 2012, which legally enables construction of linear infrastructure within the property. It is unclear which type of infrastructure the State Party refers to in the report when stating that such infrastructure is considered vital for the socio-economic development of indigenous people living on the Ukok plateau. However, it should be recalled that it was noted in previous State of conservation reports that the Decree was elaborated specifically to facilitate the Altai gas pipeline project, which is intended for the export of gas to China. It is therefore strongly recommended that the Committee reiterate its request that the State Party revoke Decree N202.
The information that the Kalgutinskoye deposit of tungsten-molybdenum ores located on the territory of the Ukok Quiet Zone Nature Park is not being developed is noted. However, it is unclear whether this statement merely reflects the current situation or if it refers to a long-term commitment to prohibit its development. Furthermore, the third party information received regarding recent granting of a licence for gold exploration and extraction from a deposit located within the property in close proximity to Lake Teletskoye raises serious concerns. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide detailed information on any existing mining licences within the property or its vicinity, recalling the Committee’s established position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status. It is further recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to revoke any mining concessions that overlap with the property and ensure that mining outside the property is not permitted if it is likely to have negative impacts on the property’s OUV. Likewise, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to clarify third party information on planned and ongoing tourism infrastructure development within the property.
Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.75
The World Heritage Committee,