On January 27, 2023, the media reported, “the Ministry of Culture and Sports proposed to give akimats the opportunity to build up national natural parks with tourism infrastructure. Vice Minister Yerzhan Yerkinbaev put such a proposal forward at the visiting board of the department in Burabay.
‘The owner of the national parks is the Ministry of Ecology. It does not build infrastructure, it has a different task—the conservation of biodiversity. Akimats cannot build in national parks, because these lands do not belong to akimats. As a result, we lose a lot of potential’.” 
Then there were new publications.
January 30 – “Glampings, ski resorts and free flights: how tourism will be developed in Kazakhstan.” “In the near future, glampings will appear in the Altyn-Emel National Park, in the Charyn Canyon and Karkaralinsk. It is also planned to build similar facilities in Aktobe, Zhambyl and North Kazakhstan regions.
In addition to glampings, more visitor centers will be built in Kazakhstan. These are places where tourists can get information about the protected area and attractions, as well as other recreational services.”
According to officials, “ecotourism is the fastest growing type of tourism in the world, but the lack of basic infrastructure in our national parks is holding back our potential.” “The Ministry of Culture also plans to build new ski resorts in Almaty, Turkestan and East Kazakhstan regions.”
The Akimat of the Almaty region is also not averse to taking part in the “sharing” of picturesque corners of nature. On February 2, a publication appeared “How to develop a mountain tourism cluster in the Almaty region.” “The other day, a meeting was held in the regional akimat on the development of a mountain cluster. The leaders of the national parks of the region (“Kolsai kolderi,” “Sharyn,” “Ile-Alatau”) were invited, as well as representatives of ski bases and key mountain resorts, who was given the opportunity to speak about existing problematic issues and further development plans for 2023.” “According to the Deputy Akim of the Almaty Region Arslan Dandybaev, the mountain cluster in the Zailiysky Alatau has enormous opportunities, but significant investments are required for their implementation.” “As Arslan Dandybaev noted, the plans are to cover all key mountain locations from Kaskelen to Turgen, while the Kokzhailau resort is also included in the development concept.”
The arguments are painfully familiar: profit, investment, employment. We have already heard this when zealous developers offered to turn the Kok-Zhailau valley into our Courchevel. Everyone knows how this story ended. However, she did not teach anyone anything. A year has passed since the release of the government decree on the return of Kok-Zhailau to the lands of the national park, and the idea that it needs to be developed again emerges!
Everything is as old as the world.
“Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold.” Why are our developers so bold? One of the reasons is the direct indication of the Deputy Minister on the “hole” in the legislation. You can even say about the black hole in which budget millions irretrievably disappear, as in the case of the construction of a ski resort on Kok-Zhailau.
According to Article 6 of the Law “On Specially Protected Natural Territories”: “The system for ensuring the protection of specially protected natural territories includes:
1) Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
2) authorized body…;
3) central executive bodies in charge of specially protected natural areas …;
4) representative bodies of regions, cities of republican significance, the capital…;
5) executive bodies of regions, cities of republican significance, the capital …;
6) environmental organizations;
7) individuals and legal entities carrying out activities in the field of ensuring the protection of specially protected natural areas.”
According to Article 6-1: “State management in the field of specially protected natural areas is carried out:
1) the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
2) the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
3) an authorized body …;
3-1) the central executive body exercising the functions of state administration in the field of tourism activities;
4) central executive bodies in charge of specially protected natural areas;
5) representative and executive bodies of regions, cities of republican significance and the capital.”
No matter how accustomed we are to the “tricks” of our legislators, they never cease to amaze us. As a result: some protect biodiversity, while others—the Ministry of Culture and Sports only governs! Consider the meaning of the above quote: “The owner of the national parks is the Ministry of Ecology. It does not build infrastructure, it has a different task—the conservation of biodiversity.” The conclusion is clear: biodiversity and tourism are irreconcilable antagonists. Therefore, the protection of biodiversity hinders the development of tourism!
According to Article 4 of the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage: “Each State Party to this Convention recognizes that the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage referred to in Articles 1 and 2 and situated on its territory, belongs primarily to that State.”
According to Article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity: “Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate:
(a) Establish a system of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity;
(b) Develop, where necessary, guidelines for the selection, establishment and management of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity;
(d) Promote the protection of ecosystems, natural habitats and the maintenance of viable populations of species in natural surroundings;
(f) Rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems and promote the recovery of threatened species, inter alia, through the development and implementation of plans or other management strategies;
(k) Develop or maintain necessary legislation and/or other regulatory provisions for the protection of threatened species and populations.”
Kazakhstan is a party to these conventions! However, apparently, the Ministry of Culture and Sports does not even “suspect” this.
In 2021, the UN has declared a decade for ecosystem restoration! What does the Ministry of Culture and Sports call for the residents of Almaty, who are suffocating from the smog? Don’t breathe, don’t drink clean water and ski? By the way, the Almaty smog covers Chimbulak by about three o’clock in the afternoon and then settles on the glaciers.
Let us end with a quote. Residents of Alberta (Canada) love their parks. “It’s their church: they’re special, sacred, peaceful and energizing places.”
What is sacred for our officials and developers? Their god is a golden calf, their altar is a cash register, bow your knees and pay, but do not break your forehead, gentlemen, in fervent prayer!
 The Ministry of Culture proposes to allow akimats to build up the territory of national parks (January 27, 2023): https://informburo.kz/novosti/minkultury-predlagaet-razresit-akimatam-zastraivat-territoriyu-nacparkov?fbclid=IwAR1vu4sZ8tzhBUV60QEiNusduhf5NRoumNegwMqjUwfHTqHW3-h25jNFHFU&mibextid=Zxz2cZ.
 Glamping, international resorts and free air travel: how tourism will develop in Kazakhstan (January 30, 2023): https://informburo.kz/stati/glempingi-gornolyznye-kurorty-i-besplatnye-aviaperelyoty-kak-v-kazaxstane-budut-razvivat-turizm.
 How to develop a mountain tourism cluster in the Almaty region, discussed in the akimat, (February 2, 2023): https://www.alataunews.kz/ru/region/kak-razvivat-gornyj-turisticheskij-klaster-v-almatinskoj-oblasti-obsudili-v-akimate/.
 Dunning, Thomas Joseph. Trade’s Unions and Strikes: Their Philosophy and Intention. — London, 1860, pp.35-36: https://archive.org/details/tradesunionsstri00dunnrich/page/36/mode/1up?view=theater/.
 Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated July 7, 2006 No. 175-III “On Specially Protected Natural Territories” (with amendments and additions as of November 18, 2022). The article is supplemented by subparagraph 3-1 in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 30.04.21, No. 34-VII.
 Alberta fights Canada government over its crowded parks: ‘Like a tailgate party’ (January 12, 2023): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/12/alberta-canada-government-row-overcrowded-parks.