"Toratau" Geopark claims to be included in UNESCO World Heritage List
UFA, 12 December 2018. /Bashinform News Agency/ translated by Tatiana Aksyutina/.
Acting Head of the Republic Radiy Khabirov signed a decree on the establishment of the Toratau Geopark. Immediately after its creation, the Government of Bashkortostan was instructed jointly with the Academy of Sciences RB and the Ufa Scientific Center RAS, to submit an application for the geopark’s inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
As noted in the document, the park is created to preserve the geological, biological, historical and cultural heritage of the republic, as well as for the development of tourism.
The Government of the region is instructed to “create a Toratau Geopark in the territory of the Ishimbay and Sterlitamak districts including the natural monuments of republican importance Mount Toratau, Mount Yuraktau and other objects of geological, biological, historical and cultural value”.
In addition, the Government should rename the Ufa Congress Hall to the “Congress Hall Toratau”.
As the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Head of Bashkiria Rinat Bashirov stressed, the decision was finally made to endow Toratau and Yuraktau with the maximum federal and international protection status (UNESCO), which completely excludes any economic activity.
“At the same time, the Government of the republic has undertaken by the signed agreement to assist the Bashkir Soda Company to keep the “Soda” enterprise operational. It is about 10 billion rubles a year of revenues to the budget, for which we build schools, clinics, sports facilities, and landscape territories. In addition, the Government agreed not to prevent the company from developing Mount Kushtau, provided that the Bashkir Soda Company increases a compensation contribution for the social and economic development of the surrounding territories from 100 to 700 million rubles a year”, the official stated. “Moreover, BSC will have to ensure the restoration of the mining zone in full compliance with international standards at Shakhtau Mount until 2022, as well as to carry out surveys at Kushtau provided by the federal law.”
According to him, given the significant amount of identified reserves at Kushtau — 290 million tons, “BSC” is obliged to keep intact the existing recreation areas, including ski slopes, for as long as possible, at least for 10, and possibly 30-50 years. During this time, it will be possible to build nearby “alternative recreation areas, even with better quality”.
According to the signed decree, the determination of volume and sources to finance the costs associated with the creation of the Toratau Geopark is entrusted to the Government RB.