Last update:

“Protect Kok-Zhailau”, Ile-Alatau State National nature park, Kazakhstan

An exclusive ski resort with infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, entertainment centers and playgrounds in the middle of a natural park becomes a threat for environment and local people


The leadership of Kazakhstan made the decision that mountains have to make profit. They decided to construct a world level mountain-skiing complex with all infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, entertainment centers and playgrounds in the middle of a natural park.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:“Protect Kok-Zhailau”, Ile-Alatau State National nature park, Kazakhstan
Location of conflict:Alma-Ata
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Ecosystem Services
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to the feasibility report prepared by Ecosign, 77 ski slopes will be constructed stretching 63 kilometers, with 16 lifts capable of carrying 10,150 skiers at a time. In addition, hotels with a total of 5,736 beds will be built. The goal is to attract a million visitors a year from within a four-hour flight radius of Almaty, spanning areas of India, China and Russia.

See more
Project area:170920,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project750 million (from public funds) $2.1 Billion in Private investment sought
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Inhabitants of National natural park. Residents of Alma-Ata and region.
Start of the conflict:17/06/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners Ltd. from Canada - One of two feasibility studies has been conducted by this Canadian international leader in ski resort design
Kok-Zhaylau from Kazakhstan - Owned and operated by Almaty's City hall
Relevant government actors:Municipality of the Alma-Ata city, Management of tourism, Management of natural resources, Energy division
International and Finance InstitutionsUNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from France
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN )
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Protect Kok-Zhaylau, Green Salvation, Keep a snow leopard
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Air pollution, Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Soil erosion
Potential: Genetic contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Other Environmental impactsDestruction of the animals and plants which are in the Red List of Kazakhstan and IUCN.
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts, Accidents
Potential: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:According to a petition from Green Salvation:
It is more logical to develop already existing resorts, which currently are not working at full capacity. In the neighborhood of Almaty in the radius of 50 km there are existing ten ski resorts: "Shimbulak", "Ak-bulak", "Tabagan", "Almatau", "Yelik-Say", "Shybynsay", "Enbek", "Tau-Turan", "Forest tail", "Dinamo", a resort in Kaskelen gorge and other less known resorts .
The main attraction of Kazakhstan for European tourists - pieces of virgin nature such as Ile-Alatau National park. The tourism trend of latest years is popularization of ecotourism - tourism with the minimal impact on the environment. And ecotourism could become a hallmark of Almaty district.
Development of ecological tourism (scientific ecotourism, exploring ecotourism, bird watching, botanical tours, video and photo tours, ethnic tourism, etc.) is the prior task of the National park, which is stated in the General plan for development.
We claim for abandonment of ski resort construction on Kok-Zhaylyao on the territory of the Ile-Alatau National park. Along with that we are not against tourism development in the region. We are for development of ecotourism (that will not damage unique ecosystems of Trans-Ili Alatau), for development of already existing ski resorts and against development of elite tourism sector for public financing (i.e. our taxes) and leave thousands of Kazakhstani citizens with no favorite place for leisure and recreation! For the construction of ski resorts there is a set of the places which don't have the status of reserves.
- Include the Park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Resignation of the mayor of Almaty.
- Refusal in carrying out the Winter Olympic Games 2022 in Almaty.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:In 2014 the earth for construction was aloof from the territory of National park and construction of the resort began.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Arhus Convention
[click to view]

Protect Kok-Zailau
[click to view]

Green Salvation
[click to view]

Snow Leopard
[click to view]

My favourite Kok-Zhaylau
[click to view] Kazakhstan: Green Zone on Slippery Slope
[click to view]

Petition to Director General UNESCO Irina Bokova
[click to view]

Little citizens of Kazakhstan unanimously oppose barbarous destruction of National parks
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Pray together with us!
[click to view]

Kok-Zhailau SOS!!!
[click to view]

Alma-Ata is a zone of ecological catastrophe.
[click to view]

Help us!
[click to view]

[click to view]

Good morning Kok-Zhailau!
[click to view]

Photo Ile-Alatau
[click to view]

Photo Ile-Alatau
[click to view]

Photo Ile-Alatau
[click to view]

Photo Ile-Alatau
[click to view]

Photo Ile-Alatau
[click to view]

Photo Ile-Alatau
[click to view]

Photo Ile-Alatau
[click to view]

Photo Ile-Alatau
[click to view]

Welcome to Alma-Ata.
[click to view]

Protect Kok-Zhailau
[click to view]

Other documents

World Heritage Centre UNESCO Information request about the project
[click to view]

UNECE Information list Kazakhstan ACCC/C/2013/88
[click to view]

Communication to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee Communication to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee
[click to view]

Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee DATASHEET Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee DATASHEET
[click to view]

Petition to Nazarbayev Petition to Nazarbayev included more than 10000 signatures
[click to view]

Letter to Biodiversity Convention Letter to Biodiversity Convention
[click to view]

Statement of the European ECO Forum Statement of the European ECO Forum
[click to view]

Civil Hearings Civil Hearings
[click to view]

Summary of the feasibility report of the project Summary of the feasibility report of the project
[click to view]

World Heritage Centre UNESCO Information on the construction project is requested by the secretariat of UNESCO repeatedly. However the government of Kazakhstan keeps silence.
[click to view]

Petition to Director General UNESCO Petition to Director General UNESCO Irina Bokova has more than 14000 signatures
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1361
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.