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The Altai-Sayan project history

In 1998 the WWF experts worked up the map determined over 200 territories most important for saving world’s biodiversity. They were called global Ecoregions – “GLOBAL-200”.

Since then the foreground WWF activities directed to the conservation of the biological richness of these territories. One of these territories is the Altai-Sayan Mountain country.

Except Mongolian part of the Ecoregion where WWF works since 1996 and implements the snow leopard protection programs the Altai-Sayan became a new place for WWF to work

In 1998 first three-year project started with the financial support of WWF-Netherlands and in close cooperation with WWF Mongolia.

The main activities were:

  • Development of the rare species conservation strategies (snow leopard, argali)
  • Establishing the protected areas network (Econet)
  • Implementation of the sustainable development programs
  • Providing the acknowledgement of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion as an Ecoregion of global importance

WWF work began from the numerous consultations, opinion polls and gathering of information for more exact formulation of program goals and activities.

Primarily the project covered Altaiski krai and Republics of Altai, Tuva, Khakassia in Russia and four aimaks in Mongolia. In 1999 Krasnoyarski krai was included in the project, in 2000 – Kemerovsky region (Russia) and East-Kazakhstan region (Kazakhstan Republic).

In October 1999 Belokurikha-city (Altaiski krai) hosted the international conference where concrete activities of the project were formulated.

The Altai-Sayan Millennium Initiative was accepted on the same conference. It is the main political document for the project. The governor of Republic of Khakassia, heads of 4 Mongolian aimaks, WWF Russia director signed it. Later the Initiative was signed by the heads of all regions of the project.

The main idea of the Initiative: Conservation of biological diversity in every Ecoregion is a global favor for all humankind. That’s why it is important to establish an economical mechanism coordinated the rendering of this favor without any damage for local communities.

In 2000 the project was elongated for a year to complete all activities. At the same time the office of the project was transferred from Moscow to Abakan (the capital of the Khakassia Republic).

Second stage of the project started in 2001. The Ecoregion was accepted as one of the priorities of WWF Climate Program. In the same year the office was transferred to Krasnoyarsk.

In 2002 the International Steering Committee was established. Its goal is strategical planning of the project development and its financial providing.