Committee Decisions

36 COM 7B.25

Golden Mountains of Altai (Russian Federation) (N 768rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decisions 35 COM 7B.26, 33 COM 7B.27 and 32 COM 7B.22 adopted at its 35th (UNESCO, 2011), 33rd (Seville, 2009) and 32nd (Quebec City, 2008) sessions respectively,

3.  Takes note of the conclusion of the 2012 World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property continues to be preserved, and welcomes the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2007 mission;

4.  Also takes note of the affirmation by the State Party that no official decision has been made on the Altai gas pipeline project and that such a decision will be based on an environmental impact assessment in accordance with the Russian legislation;

5.  Expresses its utmost concern that in spite of this affirmation, the pipeline developer Gazprom is conducting preparatory work on the pipeline route, including within the World Heritage property in violation of Russia’s protected area legislation;

6.  Reiterates that any decision to go forward with the gas pipeline project through the property would constitute a threat to its Outstanding Universal Value and represent a clear case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

7.  Urges the State Party to make an unequivocal decision to abandon the construction of the Altai gas pipeline through the property as requested in Decision 33 COM 7B.27, to ensure that no further preparatory works are undertaken within the property, and to ensure that the pipeline developer Gazprom considers alternative routes;

8.  Also urges the State Party to ensure that Environmental Impact Assessments are submitted to the World Heritage Centre for any infrastructure development in or around the property which could affect its Outstanding Universal Value, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines

9.  Requests the State Party to continue its efforts to implement the recommendations of the 2007 monitoring mission as updated by the 2012 monitoring mission, in particular:

a)  Ensure the implementation of the 2009-2015 general management strategy for the property,

b)  Strengthen the management capacity of the Ukok Quiet Zone and Belugha Mountain Nature Parks in terms of staffing and budget,

c)  Ensure that the inspectors of the nature parks have the necessary legal authority to perform their protection mandate by making the necessary legal provisions at the level of the Altai Republic;

d)  Assess the impacts of grazing on the biodiversity in the traditional use zone of the Ukok Quiet Zone and develop a policy for the sustainable use of the natural resources in the traditional use zones in the property in close cooperation with the indigenous communities using these areas,

e)  Develop an overall strategy for sustainable tourism of the property, which could be the basis to set the policy for sustainable tourism at the level of the Altai Republic,

f)   Further strengthen the transboundary cooperation with Mongolia and China based on the experience with Kazakstan,

g)  Strengthen the cooperation with the civil society and in particular the indigenous communities, taking advantage of their knowledge relevant for the management of the property,

h)  Assess the cultural values of the property for its possible renomination under cultural criteria;

10.  Recommends that the State Party continue the process on extending the property, including key areas in Altai Republic, Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan;

11.  Also expresses its utmost concern about Federal Law No. 365-FZ dated 30 November 2011, which significantly weakens the protection status of Strict Nature Reserves and therefore could affect the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation and reiterates its request to the State Party to take appropriate legal measures to maintain a high level protection of the World Heritage properties on its territory, in accordance with Paragraph 15(f) of the Operational Guidelines;

12.  Also recommends that all legal issues concerning natural properties in the Russian Federation, which are composed of federal and regional protected areas, be addressed through a comprehensive  national legal framework for the protection and management of natural World Heritage properties in order to ensure the fulfilment of the State Party's obligations under the Convention, and also requests the State Party to convene a high-level workshop to assist in developing such a framework, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;

13.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including an update on the status of the proposed pipeline, on the Environmental Impact Assessment process as well as on progress in the implementation of the 2012 monitoring mission recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.

Themes: Conservation, Capacity Building
States Parties: Russian Federation
Session: 36COM