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

UNESCO-UNDP mission in 2001

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Impacts of a road project across the property

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/768/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

In March 2007 the State Party provided a report on monitoring, risk management and education programmes in the property. The authorities are monitoring threats, which include forest fires, poaching of fish and wildlife, illegal construction adjacent to lakes, and oil pollution. Extensive monitoring programmes are ongoing for the wildlife and vegetation in the property. For the Katunsky Reserve the State Party has extensively promoted the World Heritage values through an education program targeting schools neighbouring the property. The report also covers the following issues:

a) Consideration for transboundary extension

In response to the Committee’s request at its 22nd session (Kyoto, 1998), the State Party is developing a partnership with Mongolia with the aim to develop a transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve between Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China. The Ukok Quiet Zone would be the core of this area. The State Party has also created an interdisciplinary planning team of specialists to prepare a management plan for the Ukok Quiet Zone, which is part of the property.

b) Gas pipeline from Russia to China

The State Party report also provides information on the current status of the proposed gas pipeline to China, which would cross the zone of Ukok Quiet Zone Nature Park where economic activities are strictly limited. The Ministry of Nature Resources and its Federal Ecological Inspection Service so far have not received any documentation or correspondence relating to this project even though the Park Administration has sent an request for further information to the company in charge of developing the gas pipeline, a company called Giprospetsgaz, a subsidiary of GAZPROM.

In addition to this information, IUCN has learnt that the State Party has produced a draft gas pipeline report on this region which has been made available to the public. According to the Official Website of the International Coordinating Council "Our Common Home Altai," President Putin has been discussing building a new gas pipeline across the western borderline between Russia and China which will supply China with 60-80 billion cubic meters of gas annually and is to be launched by 2011. The field surveys for the pipeline are due to begin in 2007 and an agreement has already been signed between the Government of the Altai Republic and GAZPROM. The investment proposal made public did not include any information on the Status of the World Heritage property and its protection. There is also a possibility of the access road for the construction of the pipeline becoming a public road.

As required under paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the State Party should provide information on this project, but so far no information was received

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN request the State Party to clarify the status of this project and the potential impact on the property. The State Party information should include a copy of the documents relating to this development in English, including the Environmental Impact Assessment, together with a map with the exact location of the pipeline in relation to the boundaries of the property and its management zones. IUCN notes that GAZPROM states on its website that it is committed to ensuring that the Altai project will undergo all statutory public and ecological impact assessments and (industry and state) hearings, independent environmental auditing, and that the project will be prepared and executed with maximum transparency in partnership with the scientific and ecological community and mass media. However, IUCN is concerned that the construction works and the potential for leakage or accidents may threaten the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property.

It is noted that building a gas pipeline through this World Heritage property would represent a clear case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Government of the Republic of Altai is actively promoting tourism in the area which should be addressed as a management issue in the management planning documents of the property. IUCN requests that the State Party provide summaries of these documents which should include a strategy for managing increasing tourism pressure and ensuring that tourism is consistent with the natural values of the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.25

The World Heritage Committee,

1.Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B,

2.Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.19, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.Notes that the State Party has developed comprehensive monitoring and education programmes for the property and that development of a transboundary biosphere reserve is ongoing;

4.Regrets that the State Party has not provided the specific information on its plans for the development of the gas pipeline as requested by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) and in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

5.Urges the State Party to assess, in consultation with the local communities, any impact of proposed development projects on the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property before implementing such development projects and to submit as soon as they are available to the World Heritage Centre the planning documents, including the Environmental Impact Assessment and a map showing the location of the planned routing of the pipeline in relation to the boundary and zones of the property;

6.Also notes that construction of a gas pipeline through this World Heritage property would represent a clear case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

7.Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission to the property to assess the state of conservation of the property;

8.Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2008 a report on the state of conservation of the property including information on the status of the planned pipeline project for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.