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Cooperation of Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia on the territory of Greater Altai is determined by historic conditions. During many centuries this unique mountainous and steppe area was interrelated by cultural, ethnic, trade, economic, political and migration ties. By the beginning of XXI century favorable political and economic situation in the region made possible the realization of boundary and interregional integration of a new type at this territory.

Taking into consideration an objective need of the cooperation at the higher level

the heads of the legislative (representative) bodies of Altai region and the Altai Republic of the Russian Federation, East Kazakhstan region of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Bayan-Ölgii and Khovd provinces (aimags) of Mongolia, and the head of the department of science and technology of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China signed an Agreement on establishment of the International Coordinating Council "Our common home – Altai” (ICC Altai).

For the first time representatives of regional parliaments came to the negotiating table to hold international consultations with their foreign counterparts. As a result of these negotiations several joint projects were initiated. Later executive bodies were also involved in the work of the Council.

The 5th Council meeting took place in Barnaul in August 2006. The heads of legislative and executive bodies participated in this event. During the meeting the parties signed the Memorandum and new Regulations on Regional Association for the Cross-Border Cooperation of ICC Altai. The parties agreed on the transition to a new level of cooperation that would include participation of legislative and executive powers.

The Council creators took as a reference the experience of the cross-border cooperation in the EU in frames of euroregions. The Council became the first and unique international institution of the regional cooperation in Central Asia.

According to the adopted Regulations the members of the Council elaborate and implement joint projects on basis of partnership principle in accordance with the legislation of their states.

Goals and tasks of the Council:

To achieve these goals and fulfill the tasks the Council

The Secretariat is an executive body established for meetings preparation, implementation of decisions and their follow-up and control. It’s located in the city of Barnaul, Altai region. The representative of Altai region B.V. Larin performs duties of the Secretary of the Council.

The working language of the Council is Russian. However it’s allowed to hold meeting in a language of the receiving party.

The chairmanship in the Council rotates among the regions every two years or less. The Meeting is the supreme collective body of the Council. Meetings are intended to elaborate common activity strategy, to adopt the Council chairmanship rotation, joint projects and decisions. It is also responsible for setting up permanent and provisional commissions and working groups.

Rotating chairmanship of the ICC Altai member regions in the Council (2003-2018):

Year

Region

2003-2005

Altai region

2006-2007

East Kazakhstan region

2008-2009

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

2010-2011

Khovd province

2011-2012

Altai Republic

2012-2013

Bayan-Olgii province

2013-2014

Altai region

2014-2016

East Kazakhstan region

2016-2017

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

2017-2018

Khovd province

Nowadays the Council is considered as an effective instrument of interregional cooperation at the vast and multi-national area of Greater Altai from the plains of the beginning of the middle course of the Ob River in the north to the southern spurs of the Altai Mountains in Xinjiang, from the Altai Ranges in Kazakhstan in the west to the Mongolian steppes to the east.

A positive role of the Council in the strengthening mutual understanding and economic ties among the Altai nations is highly appreciated by the Ministry of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation and also by the credible international organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the European Economic Community and the Council of Europe.

With the course of time we have experienced that the initial idea of creation of the cross-border institution and the concept of international communication were absolutely right. The Council has proved its significance and become an effective instrument of the cross-border cooperation.

The Council has not only a unique past but also a long life for development. A successful experience of the previous Council work and the eagerness of the heads of the regions to solve problems together in a friendly, respectful and mutually beneficial way are the guarantee for this development.