Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)
The Committee noted that the Croatian authorities officially informed UNESCO in June 1992, that they will abide by the obligations of the World Heritage Convention and requested that a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission be undertaken to assess the impacts which unrest in the region has had on the state of conservation of Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Using part of the US$30, 000 approved by the Bureau at its last session, for the organization of such a mission, a team of three experts representing IUCN, the Federation of Nature and National Parks of Europe and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, respectively, visited Zagreb and Plitvice Lakes National Park, from 18 to 27 September 1992, in co-operation with the UN Protection Forces, the Ministry of Environment of Croatia and the local authorities in Plitvice.
The Committee deplored that several villages in and around the northern boundary of the Park had been destroyed and the Croatian population resident in those villages forced to withdraw to Zagreb. The Committee, however, was relieved to know that the values for which the Plitvice Lakes National Park was originally granted World Heritage status remained intact and the tourism and management infrastructures inside the Park and equipment such as boats and buses suffered little damage during last year's (1991) conflict with minimum damage. The Committee also noted that part of the staff of Plitvice National Park still reside within the site and carry out basic management operations.
Although the World Heritage values of the Plitvice Lakes National Park have not been adversely impacted by the war which broke out in the region in 1991, the Committee recognized that the potential resurgence of hostilities continued to prevail as a threat to the integrity of this site. Hence the Committee decided to inscribe this site on the List of World Heritage in Danger, with the provision for removing the site from the Danger List as soon as stability is re-established and the relationship between the Government of Croatia and the region of Krajina is normalized. Furthermore, the Committee also recommended the following:
(a) The Government of Croatia, UNPROFOR and the authorities in the Krajina region co-operate to implement the Vance Plan and its successor resolutions to stabilize the political situation.
(b) UNPROFOR undertake regular surveillance patrols in the Park area, particularly in the old growth forest in Corkova Uvala and take necessary measures to make all parts of the Park accessible.
(c) The Government of Croatia, UNPROFOR and the authorities in the Krajina region include the conservation of Plitvice Lakes National Park as a subject to be addressed by such bodies as the Joint Commission, and bring together scientists from the two conflicting parties to undertake studies on water quality, the brown bear population and forestry and tourism practices.
(d) The Centre organize another mission to Plitvice in early 1993 to assess the state of conservation of the site and examine the feasibility of organizing an international workshop to plan the future management of Plitvice.
The Committee noted with satisfaction that the Croation authorities have expressed their willingness to co-operate with UNPROFOR and other UN agencies to normalize relations with the region of Krajina, and revive the tourism industry which is of crucial importance to the economy of the region.