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

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1998

Criteria  (x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

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 https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

In 2018 and 2019, the World Heritage Centre sent three letters to the State Party regarding third party information: on 10 January 2018, regarding a gold mining license issued for a deposit (Maly Kalychak River) reported to be located inside the property and plans for construction of tourism infrastructure at Lake Teletskoye; and on 12 October 2018 and 4 February 2019, regarding ongoing discussions of the proposed Altai gas pipeline that would cross the property.

On 18 January 2019, the State Party responded that the President of the Russian Federation had confirmed in June 2018 that the route of the Altai gas pipeline (Power of Siberia-2) would pass around the property.

On 28 January 2019, 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/, as well as a response to the 12 October 2018 letter, and provides the following information:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The confirmation by the State Party that the President of the Russian Federation confirmed that the route of the proposed Altai gas pipeline would pass around the property is warmly welcomed. It should be recalled that the Committee has reiterated in several decisions 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, and therefore a clear case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, as a matter of priority, relevant official documents detailing the exact alignment of this alternative route.

The ongoing transboundary cooperation between the States Parties of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Mongolia should also be encouraged to proceed, including through exploring opportunities for consolidating these efforts within the framework of the World Heritage Convention.

It is recommended that the Committee express its strong support for the proposed extension of the Strict Nature Reserve to cover the Teletskoye Lake basin. This would address the currently unclear legal protection of the part of the lake included in the property but not in the Strict Nature Reserve. The efforts of the State Party to implement some of the longstanding recommendations of the 2012 mission are noted, including the development of an ecotourism strategy for the Katunsky State Nature Reserve and plans for addressing the issue of management capacity of the Belukha Nature Park. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to fully implement all recommendations of the mission.

The confirmation that the exploration license for the Kalgutinskoye molybdenum-tungsten ore deposit has been terminated is appreciated. The reassurance that the proposed gold mining project at Brekchiya gold deposit, which appears to be located in the vicinity of the property, could only proceed if the required EIA would conclude that no impact would be caused to the environment is noted. It is also of concern that no information has been provided on the license for the Maly Kalychak gold deposit, referred to in the January 2018 letter from the World Heritage Centre. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to revoke any mining licences or concessions that overlap with the property and to ensure that mining projects planned in its vicinity are subject to an EIA, in order to evaluate the potential impacts on the OUV of the property, in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment. Projects should not be allowed to proceed if they are likely to have negative impacts on the property’s OUV.

The information provided that the planned tourism infrastructure project at Lake Teletskoye is located outside the boundaries of the property is noted. Nevertheless, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide detailed information about the exact location of the proposed infrastructure and not to approve the project until an EIA has been undertaken, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property.

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.16

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.75, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Warmly welcomes the confirmation by the State Party that the route of the proposed Altai gas pipeline (Power of Siberia-2) would pass around the property, but reiterates its position that any decision to route the Altai gas pipeline through the property would constitute a clear case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre the relevant documents confirming the exact alignment of this alternative route;
  4. Appreciates the ongoing transboundary cooperation between the States Parties of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Mongolia in the field of management of protected areas in the Altai region, and encourages again the three States Parties to continue consolidating these efforts, including within the framework of the World Heritage Convention;
  5. Express its strong support for the proposed extension of the Strict Nature Reserve to cover the entire Teletskoye Lake basin in order to address the unclear legal protection of the part of the lake included in the property but not in the Strict Nature Reserve;
  6. Notes the progress made in addressing some of the recommendations of the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission, in particular the strengthening of the management capacity of Belukha Nature Park by including part of its territory within the extended buffer zone of Katunsky State Nature Reserve and the development of an ecotourism strategy for Katunsky State Nature Reserve, and urges again the State Party to fully implement all other recommendations of the mission;
  7. Also welcomes the confirmation that the exploration license for the Kalgutinskoye molybdenum-tungsten ore deposit was terminated in 2017;
  8. Also notes the information that the proposed gold mining project at Brekchiya gold deposit could only proceed if the required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would conclude that no impact would be caused to the environment, and also requests the State Party to ensure that, should the project proceed to the EIA stage, the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are specifically assessed, in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and that the EIA is submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
  9. Noting with concern that no information was provided by the State Party regarding the Maly Kalychak gold deposit, further requests the State Party to provide information regarding the current status of this deposit and any associated licenses, as a matter of priority;
  10. Recalling its established position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, reiterates its request to the State Party to revoke any mining licences or concessions that overlap with the property and to ensure that mining outside the property is not permitted if it is likely to have negative impacts on the property’s OUV;
  11. Taking note of the information provided by the State Party that the planned tourism infrastructure project at Lake Teletskoye is located outside the boundaries of the property, requests furthermore the State Party to provide detailed information about the exact location of the proposed infrastructure and not to approve the project until an EIA has been undertaken, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.