ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Altyn Emel National Park and Barsakelmes Nature Reserve have been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List on Sept. 20 in Riyadh, reported the Foreign Ministry’s press service.
The Altyn Emel National Park is located in the Almaty Region, around 250 kilometers from the city of Almaty. The Barsakelmes Nature Reserve is located in the Sahara-Gobi Desert zone of the Aral Sea basin.
The sites were selected as part of the transnational nomination Cold Winter Deserts of Turan, prepared by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan at the enlarged 45th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage.
The Kazakh delegation expressed hope that the new international status of Altyn Emel and Barsakelmes will draw additional attention to the importance of continuing in-depth scientific research and effective conservation measures for desert ecosystems in Kazakhstan. This move is aimed at further harnessing the nation’s potential to foster sustainable and responsible tourism.
The deserts spanning Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have some of the world’s extreme variations between maximum and minimum air temperatures throughout the year. According to specialists, they demonstrate the evolution and adaptation of land ecosystems to extreme climate conditions. They are also a habitat for many globally endangered animals and plants.
The UNESCO list also includes five additional cultural and natural sites in Kazakhstan, including the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, petroglyphs of the Tanbaly, the Chang’an-Tian-shan Silk Road Corridor, Saryarka – steppe and lakes of Northern Kazakhstan and Western Tien-Shan.
Altyn Emel and Barsakelmes are also included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.