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Golden Mountains of Altai

Russian Federation
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Major linear utilities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Major linear utilities (gas pipeline construction plans) 
  • Ground transport infrastructure (impacts of a road project across the property) 
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation 
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 31 January 2020, 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 some information in relation to previous Committee decisions:

  • The State Party reaffirms again that the route of the proposed Altai gas pipeline would pass around the property, as confirmed at the trilateral meeting between the heads of state of China, Mongolia and the Russian Federation in 2018. At the same time, no investment decision has been taken yet regarding the construction of the ‘Power of Siberia-2’ gas pipeline;
  • Currently, half of Teletskoye Lake is under no formal national protective regime. As such, illegal fishing takes place in the unprotected areas of the lake;
  • The project to design a buffer zone for the Katunskiy Strict Nature Reserve, which would include part of Mount Belukha, has continued;
  • Several recommendations included in the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission have been addressed. Notably:
  • Implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between the Katunskiy Reserve management and the Administration of Protected Areas of the Mongolian Altai, foresees transboundary conservation efforts and joint research and monitoring activities,
  • Katunskiy Reserve has established a platform for involvement of local communities into conservation of the property in the form of a Public Council.

Additional information provided by the State Party on 5 March 2020 states that Kontinet LLC currently holds a license for geological exploration and mining of placer gold in the Maly Kolychak deposit, which expires 11 August 2027. The State Party advises that the licensed area lies outside the boundaries of the property, that there is currently no indication that the company has violated any conditions of the license, and that if information indicating any such violation is received, early termination of the license will be considered in accordance with the relevant laws.

Additionally, on 10 March 2020, the State Party submitted information regarding the water protection zones of Lake Teletskoye, noting that the boundaries of the water protection zone and coastal protective strips have been delineated and marked by signage, and that this information will soon be entered into the relevant cadastre.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The restated confirmation that the Altai gas pipeline would pass around the property is welcomed. However, it is regrettable that no further information on the exact alternative route of the pipeline was provided, as previously and explicitly requested by the Committee. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to provide additional information on the exact alternative route of the proposed pipeline, and continue to update the World Heritage Centre on the status of the project, reiterating that any decision to route the pipeline through the property would constitute a clear case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in line with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines.

It is noted with concern that a significant area of Lake Teletskoye remains under no formal protective legislation, especially since this is currently resulting in illegal fishing with its potentially negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. Unfortunately, no further information is provided on the extension of the Strict Nature Reserve to cover the entire basin of the lake. In its previous report, the State Party had announced that it was envisaged to extend the Strict Nature Reserve status to cover the second bank and basin of Teletskoye Lake and the Committee expressed its strong support for this initiative (Decision 43 COM 7B.16). It is also noted that no updated information on the status of the planned tourism infrastructure project on Lake Teletskoye is provided. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to provide detailed information about the exact location of the proposed tourism infrastructure and not to approve the project until an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been undertaken, which specifically assesses potential impacts on the property’s OUV.

The information provided that the Maly Kolychak gold mine project is located outside the property, and that the State Party would take corrective action should the Kontinent LLC mining company violate terms of its license, is noted. However, the State Party does not provide any information on the current status of the project nor whether it has been subject to an EIA, which fully considers the potential impact on the property’s OUV. Furthermore, no additional information was provided relating to the Brekchiya gold mining project, as requested by the Committee. It is therefore recommended that, - recalling its established position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status - the Committee request the State Party to ensure any current or proposed mining operations within the Brekchiya and/or Maly Kolychak deposits are subject to a full EIA, and to submit any EIAs to the World Heritage Centre, once available.

It is welcomed that the State Party has continued progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2012 Reactive Monitoring mission, notably the implementation of a MoU between the Katunsky Reserve and the Administration of Protected Areas of the Mongolian Altai. It remains important that momentum is maintained between the States Parties of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Mongolia to continue consolidating these efforts and building on the gains made to protect the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.106
Golden Mountains of Altai (Russian Federation) (N 768rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.26, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Regretting that the State Party did not provide sufficiently elaborated information on the different points raised by the Committee in its previous Decision,
  4. Welcomes the restated confirmation by the State Party that the Altai gas pipeline would pass around the property, however reiterates its request to the State Party to provide additional information on the exact alternative route of the pipeline, and to continue to update the World Heritage Centre on the status of the project, also recalling 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, in line with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Notes the information about the delineation and demarcation of water protection zones of Lake Teletskoye, but noting with concern that half of the lake remains without appropriate legal protection regime and that the State Party has not provided any information on the proposed extension of the Strict Nature Reserve to ensure legal protective status over the entire Lake Teleskoye, recalls its strong support for this initiative and urges the State Party to provide further information on its status;
  6. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to provide detailed information about the exact location of the proposed tourism infrastructure at Lake Teletskoye and not to approve the project until an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been undertaken, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  7. Also recalling its established position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, also urges the State Party to ensure that any current or proposed mining operations within the Brekchiya or Maly Kolychak deposits are subject to a full EIA, which specifically assesses the potential impact on the property’s OUV, in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to submit these EIAs to the World Heritage Centre for consideration by IUCN, once available;
  8. Encourages again the States Parties of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Mongolia to continue consolidating efforts to engage in transboundary conservation measures, including within the framework of the World Heritage Convention;
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.106

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.26, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Regretting that the State Party did not provide sufficiently elaborated information on the different points raised by the Committee in its previous Decision,
  4. Welcomes the restated confirmation by the State Party that the Altai gas pipeline would pass around the property, however reiterates its request to the State Party to provide additional information on the exact alternative route of the pipeline, and to continue to update the World Heritage Centre on the status of the project, also recalling 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, in line with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Notes the information about the delineation and demarcation of water protection zones of Lake Teletskoye, but noting with concern that half of the lake remains without appropriate legal protection regime and that the State Party has not provided any information on the proposed extension of the Strict Nature Reserve to ensure legal protective status over the entire Lake Teleskoye, recalls its strong support for this initiative and urges the State Party to provide further information on its status;
  6. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to provide detailed information about the exact location of the proposed tourism infrastructure at Lake Teletskoye and not to approve the project until an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been undertaken, including a specific assessment of potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  7. Also recalling its established position that mining is incompatible with World Heritage status, also urges the State Party to ensure that any current or proposed mining operations within the Brekchiya or Maly Kolychak deposits are subject to a full EIA, which specifically assesses the potential impact on the property’s OUV, in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to submit these EIAs to the World Heritage Centre for consideration by IUCN, once available;
  8. Encourages again the States Parties of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Mongolia to continue consolidating efforts to engage in transboundary conservation measures, including within the framework of the World Heritage Convention;
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session in 2023.
Report year: 2021
Russian Federation
Date of Inscription: 1998
Category: Natural
Criteria: (x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2020) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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