On August 21-25, representatives of the Aigine CRC held a series of meetings in Bishkek, Karakol and Ak Suu district center in order to study ways and possibilities of creating a protected area around Ak Bulun petroglyphs in Ak Suu district, Issyk-Kul province. This proposal was made by partners – experts in archeology and material heritage during the implementation of a research and educational project.

The meetings resulted in the identification of a number of circumstances complicating the implementation of the proposal. There is a structure under the Ministry of Culture that designs protected areas, but this structure is self-supporting and focused only on expensive projects. There is another – a private organization that provides similar services, it is also focused on foreign projects. It is obvious that the rural community, who wants to create a protected area around the petroglyphs, barrows, balbals, in accordance with the existing rules, will not be able to do this. The reasons are high cost of services and complex formalized procedure.

In these circumstances, the focus should probably not be on the creation of formally defined protected areas, but on the informal protection of “their” cultural heritage by communities.