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Concordia

 
Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 30 Jul 2008 09:34 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Full name of site: Concordia
Country: Pakistan (Pakistani Administered Kashmir: contested)
Short description of site (also include multiple locations if applicable): This is the confluence of the Baltoro Glacier and the Godwin-Austen Glacier, in the heart of the Karakoram range of Pakistan. This area includes 6 of the 20 highest mountains in the world most notable is K2 the second heighest peak in the world.
Criteria (natural):
vii this area is perhaps the greatest mountain scenery in the world as the confluence of two glaciers are surrounded by the densest concentration of the world highest peaks.
vii. The confluence of two major glaciers is an outstanding example of ongoing geological processes, it is also at the boundary between two continents important for the study of plate tectonics
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis:
This is perhaps the densest concentration of high peaks in the world, and the confluence of two glaciers add to the extraordinary appearance. This is also a great representation of the Karakoram Mountains as a whole, which is the most heavily glaciated region in the world outside the Polar Regions.
The contested region has many superlatives to its name and is commonly referred to as the 'Hall of the Mountain King'

Or to broaden this out to a mixed site to include Gilgit and Skardu and the extensive petrogliphs and current unique cultural landscape of the Karakoram area in Pakistan and India

Author Xeres
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 30 Jul 2008 10:00 
Great Work. we need a natural site for the top 50 missing. my only missgiving is that this seems similar to Sagamartha in Nepal.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 30 Jul 2008 11:37 
A fair pont about the similarity to Sagamartha, I meant to put that in the comparison.

I think there is room for more than one example on the list (Cultural sites double up extensively) and also the sheer concentration of high peaks here probably makes it a worthwhile case.

If not the the other option of a 'Karakorum Cultural Landscape' could bring in some differentiation.

Author Xeres
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 30 Jul 2008 11:41 
Good Argument, i give my support

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 30 Jul 2008 12:25 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Our Himalayan "Connection" shows 5 sites with Sagarmatha and Valley of Flowers being the "high altitude - natural" representatives. But the Western "Himalaya" (and the various names under which the ranges there are stricty known - Pamirs, Karakorum etc) is not well represented. Among the "Himalayan" (in the broad sense) countries Pakistan's T List consists of a pretty uninspiring list of Mosques, Tombs, Rock Edicts and Forts (isn't Rohtas enough!!!!) plus 1 Port - not a single "Natural" site! Nepal is much the same with a list of archaeological and religious sites. India does have Kanchenjunga (plus Hemis in Ladakh as a cultural site). Bhutan famously hasn't even got a T list. China has 1 Tibetan "mixed site" and Tajikistan has a proposal from the Pamirs. There certainly seems to be a reluctance to put forward "Natural" sites. I wonder if experience of IUCN assessments has a part to play? Is it harder to manage such a site (or at least to "pass" the required tests)? One wouldn't have thought that buffer zones etc up there would be a problem. Perhaps the political issues of Kashmir and Tibet play a part. Perhaps it is indicative of what these countries "value". I have elsewhere mentioned that a country's Inscribed and T lists can tell you quite a lot about how that country sees itself and wants to project itself to the World. The Pakistani list is perhaps worryingly uni-dimensional??

The scenic/geological value of the Karakorums is certainly very fine. Unfortunately I didn't go as high/central as Concordia (Though in Sagamartha have been higher to Everest Base Camp) but have been to Gilgit/Skardu. I still treasure a photo of a sign on a cliff face stating "Here Continents Collided"! (ref Meltwaterfall's comment about Plate Tectonics). There are certainly many less worthy mountain sites from around the world on the lnscribed List - this one is well worth our consideration.

As for making it a "mixed site" or even a "cultural Landscape" - I am not sure. The Sherpa way of life isn't represented with Sagamartha - but it was of course inscribed pre "Cultural Landscapes". I always feel that trying to mix too many things into a single site is a sign of weakness and lack of focus.

PS Sections 6.3 and 7.4 of this "Filling the Gaps" document re Mountains from IUCN are relevant.
http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/mountains.pdf
Interestingly among 28 potential "Palearctic Realm" mountain sites none is identified from Pakistan/Karakorum - though it does state
"Central Asia contains the highest and most extensive mountain areas on earth and most of the ranges (Karakoram, Kun Lun, Hindu Kush, Pamirs, and Tien Shan ) have, as yet, no natural WH sites!"

Author elsslots
Admin
#6 | Posted: 30 Jul 2008 14:46 
The Central Karakorum is mentioned in the Filling the Gaps document: in section 7.1 as a deferred site that merits renomination. Not on the Tentative List now however, and I don't have any records of it being deferred (and when).

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 30 Jul 2008 16:36 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I think it must be referring to the site titled "Rock Carvings of Hunza, Gilgit + Chilas" which was deferred in 1980 and never heard of again.

As we have identified, Pakistan doesn't really "do" Natural sites! It has tried with 2 - Sirthar and Lal Sohanra - neither of which are "Himalayan". It would be typical for it to propose some Rock carvings when all around is some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in the WORLD!! The view of Rakaposhi on the Karakorum Highway from Gilgit is incomparable - so what does Pakistan choose - some Rock Carvings!

There may have been some other proposal but, as Els knows, she and I recently shared the task of going through ALL the past WHC documents to list the decisions and I took the early years when Pakistan was quite active with successes and failures. I might have missed a site called "Central Karakorum" but i don't think so.

Mind you the IUCN committee suggestion for what should be included in a Central Karakorum site - "Pakistan (re-formulate and consider including adjacent Siachen area in India and protected zone on Chinese side)" seems to be a wonderful example of hope triumphing over experience as this has been/is an area of very "hot" conflict" between Pakistan and India and a significant border dispute between India and China!

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 30 Jul 2008 19:25 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
I guess the project of going through the WHC documents will result in something on the website, is this the basis for the decision box on each page?, but if not I for one would be very interested in (at least) the highlights of your findings.

Author elsslots
Admin
#9 | Posted: 31 Jul 2008 14:17 
It is indeed the description box on each site page. But we're still thinking about other ways to present the information we've gathered.

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 Concordia

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