The Sixth Transboundary Platform Meeting of the project “Towards strengthened governance of the shared transboundary natural and cultural heritage of the Lake Ohrid region” will take place on 14 and 15 September 2017 in Pogradec, Albania. This sixth meeting is part of a joint European Union and UNESCO initiative, in close cooperation with the Albanian and Macedonian authorities, to strengthen transboundary cooperation for the management of the Lake Ohrid region’s natural and cultural heritage.

The sixth Transboundary Platform Meeting will take place in Pogradec, Albania. On this occasion, representatives from the Albanian and Macedonian National Commission to UNESCO, the Albanian Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water, and the Macedonian Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning and Ministry of Culture, will be in attendance. These representatives will be joined by representatives from the Albanian National Agency on Protected Areas, the Albanian Institute for Monuments of Culture, members of the joint secretariat of the transboundary Water Management Committee for Lake Ohrid, and representatives from the local governments around the lake. The representatives will continue to work together in establishing a viable cooperation platform.

The Transboundary Platform Meetings have been designed to facilitate management and collaboration between the Republic of Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to develop a strengthened management framework for the potential transboundary extension of the mixed World Heritage property “Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region” (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) to Albania.

Currently, the World Heritage property applies to two-thirds of Lake Ohrid, and its surrounding watershed, situated in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The ultimate goal of this upstream project is to extend the World Heritage designation to include the Albanian part of the Lake Ohrid region. The project aims to achieve this by strengthening transboundary cooperation, improving capacities for the effective management of the natural and cultural heritage, and supporting integrated management planning.

The specific objectives of this sixth meeting include the identification of additional transboundary consultation and coordination needs for the draft World Heritage nomination document (major boundary modification), providing an update on progress for finalizing the management planning documents for the existing World Heritage property and the proposed extension in Albania, and defining options for transboundary cooperation and governance for the property, in line with management requirements for World Heritage transboundary properties.

The property "Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region” was initially inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 for its outstanding natural values, and was extended a year later to reflect the region’s extensive cultural attributes. As one of Europe’s oldest lakes, Lake Ohrid boasts an impressive geological and biological history and is a site of exceptional biodiversity. The lake’s surrounding area features the archaeological remains of some of Europe’s earliest human settlements, as well as Slav monasteries dating from the 9th century, making the natural and cultural heritage of the region truly remarkable.

More information about the Lake Ohrid region project can be found at: whc.unesco.org/en/lake-ohrid-region/