Throughout the 20 years of its existence, The Altai Project has constantly refined and adjusted its work to protect nature and strengthen communities in Greater Altai, adapting as the frontline needs change.
The Altai Project began as a program at Sacred Earth Network in the late 1990s. In the early years, we donated much-needed technology and made small project-based grants to fledgling activists, protected areas’ staff, and NGOs throughout Altai, Russia. In 2004, we narrowed our focus from Russia-wide environmental assistance to concentrate on this one unique region and moved operations to the Center for Safe Energy (also an EII project), where we remained until 2006.
During the mid-2000s, the organization devoted much of its time to supporting green-building, energy conservation, and renewable and alternative energy technologies. In January 2007, we became a full-fledged member of Earth Island Institute. Throughout this time, we also facilitated international collaborations and participated in campaigns addressing specific threats in Altai, such as the now tabled Altai gas pipeline, the defeated Katun hydroelectric dam, and other risky resource development projects.
Between 2009 and 2015, TAP focused its efforts on snow leopard and raptor conservation and research in Altai Republic (with a special focus on anti-poaching activities), supporting campaigns to reroute the proposed Power of Siberia 2 "Altai" Pipeline away from the Ukok Plateau and promote transparency and rule-of-law in mining projects, and providing small grants to long-term partners in Altai to support nature conservation and Altaian indigenous lifeways and practices.
Given recent political challenges within Russia and internationally as well as new opportunities in the larger region, in 2017 we broadened our scope to include all of Greater Altai - western Mongolia, eastern Kazakhstan, and northwest China - as well as offering partnerships across Russia's Siberia and the Far East. We continue our traditional environmental advocacy and wildlife conservation work and are growing our partnerships with indigenous-led initiatives, organizations, and coalitions.