1.         Mount Athos (Greece) (C/N 454)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iv)(v)(vi)(vii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/454/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/454/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

January/February 2006: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / IUCN mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/454/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

The State Party submitted a State of Conservation report on 12 March 2012, which outlines progress with developing an integrated management framework, covering both natural and cultural values, as recommended by the 2006 mission and reiterated by the Committee at its 34th session.

The outstanding issues from the 2006 mission report include the need for an overall management framework, risk management measures and improved approaches to infrastructure and waste management. 

The State Party reports that a preliminary management plan, assigned by the Holy Community of Mount Athos to an inter-disciplinary team co-ordinated by an architect–planner and consisting of specialists such as architects, engineers, lawyers, and environmentalists, has been completed. The plan outlines the current situation in the property and addresses issues such as the use of land, transportation and communications system, sustainable management of the forests and the natural environment, preservation of biodiversity, preservation of Mount Athos as a cultural landscape, water supply network, sewerage, waste management in the context of sustainable management of Mount Athos, improving energy production systems, and maintenance of the natural beauty of the property through harmonious interventions. During a mission to Mount Athos in June 2011, the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture stressed the availability of the World Heritage Centre to advise the authorities concerned on the finalisation of the management plan.

The preliminary Management Plan, after its approval, will become the basis for a “Final systematic, management, environmental and land planning study of the Athos peninsula.” This will include not only actions and regulations for the preservation of the property but also risk preparedness measures to address such eventualities as fires, earthquakes, and climate change. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the Holy Community has demonstrated that it is aware of the threats to the natural aspects of the property, and when necessary, has consulted nature conservation experts. Nevertheless, they consider that additional expertise should be solicited to assist the monasteries on nature conservation issues, coordinate nature conservation in the whole area, and assist with the management of fires and silvicultural practices, and the planning of the road network.

In response to the request of the World Heritage Committee to consider possibilities for the support of a multi-disciplinary workshop of key stakeholders to shape the approach to development of the management framework, the State Party reported that efforts are being made for the coordination of all the involved parties.

The State Party also reports that a study and Regulatory Order for the management of the natural environment of Mount Athos was submitted by the Holy Community to the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, to the Department of Natural Environment Management for examination. This study and Order will also be examined by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and other relevant Ministries.

It is to be noted as well that a representative of the Holy Community participated in the international seminar ”The Role of religious communities in the management of World Heritage properties” (Kyiv, November 2010) where he presented the special form of advanced self-administration of the Holy Community and reported on the advancement of the preparation of the preliminary Management Plan. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies take note of the progress made with the development of a preliminary Management Plan by an inter-disciplinary team, and that this sets out to address the key issue addressed by the 2006 mission. It is understood that this preliminary plan, once approved, will become the basis for a final management plan for the property.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies suggest to the Committee to invite the State Party to submit the preliminary Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before it becomes the final plan.

They also recommend to the World Heritage Committee to reiterate its request to the State Party to organize the key stakeholder multi-disciplinary workshop requested by the Committee at its 34th session. Taking into account the Committee Decision 35 COM 5Aconcerning a thematic paper on general guidance to States Parties regarding the management of cultural and natural heritage of religious interest, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the key stakeholder multi-disciplinary workshop may also contribute to the discussion of appropriate management mechanisms concerning World Heritage properties of religious interest addressed by the above Decision.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.38

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.   Recalling Decisions 32 COM 7B.43 and 34 COM 7B.40, adopted at its 32nd (Quebec City, 2008) and its 34th (Brasilia, 2010) sessions respectively;

3.   Notes with satisfaction the progress made by the State Party and the Holy Community of Mount Athos to prepare a preliminary inter-disciplinary management plan which will address the recommendations of the 2006 joint reactive monitoring mission and the recommendations of the Committee and which, once approved, will form the basis of a ‘Final systematic, management, environmental and land planning study of the Athos peninsula’;

4.   Recommends that the State Party, in collaboration with the Holy Community provide, by 1 February 2013, three printed and electronic copies of the preliminary management plan for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies; before it is finalized;

5.   Reiterates its request to the State Party and the Holy Community to consider possibilities to support, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a key stakeholder multi-disciplinary workshop to shape the approach to development of the management framework, and thus contribute, inter alia, to the discussion on appropriate management mechanisms concerning World Heritage properties of religious interest addressed by Committee Decision 35 COM 5A adopted at its 35th session on heritage of religious interest;

6.   Requests the State Party, in collaboration with the Holy Community, to provide to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2014 a report on progress made in developing an integrated management framework and Management Plan, in line with the recommendations of the joint 2006 World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN reactive monitoring mission, and on the implementation of the above recommendations.