At its 29th session (Durban, 2005), the World Heritage Committee endorsed the recommendations made by the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM mission of March 2005, and called upon the State Party to give appropriate attention to their timely implementation while removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
A report from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth, and Sport on activities at the site during 2005 was received by the World Heritage Centre in February 2006. It listed work on the maintenance and preservation of monuments, including treatment of vegetation, consolidation, etc., and archaeological projects by Albanian, Butrint Foundation, and expert teams. This work was carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the Round Table and the Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Mission in March 2005.
A further communication was received from the Director of Butrint National Park on 3 April 2006. It reported that the Butrint Foundation, in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology, was preparing an online archive of all archaeological excavations and finds from Butrint between the 1930s and 2006. New archaeological stores will be constructed in 2006/2007.
In July 2006 a hydrological survey into the effects of water action on the monuments and the reinstallation of water pumps will be carried out by an Italian expert with Albanian counterparts. The protective barriers around the site will be repaired and improved during 2006, and a new ticket office is to be built. Improvements will be made to the surveillance of the site by the Park rangers.
There is to be a survey and condition assessment of the Baptistery mosaic in 2006 and consideration given to its eventual long-term display. Conservation of the Triconch Palace was completed in 2005 and the training programme is continuing during 2006. The Butrint Museum reopened after refurbishment in October 2005. Twenty-two interpretation panels have been installed around the site and 20km of marked trails have been created. The report also indicates that the Park has been expanded by a decision of the Council of Ministers in December 2005 to cover an area of 86 km2 providing a more than adequate buffer zone for the archaeological monuments.
Concerning tourism, the preparatory phase of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) project (sponsored by the World Bank), which is aimed at fostering the economic development in the region through ecological and archaeological tourism through training and capacity building, international outreach and sustainable tourism, and university cooperation, has been completed.
No explicit mention is made in either reports of the site management under the terms of the 2003 “Law on Control Heritage”. It is implicit from some statements, especially those on “Park monitoring,” that certain aspects of the Law are slowly being applied. This is supported cautiously by comments of the 2005 Joint Mission in its report. The latter includes strong recommendations on the management regime made at the time of the mission. The April 2006 document reports that a new Director has been appointed, along with four specialists in archaeology, monuments, tourism, and environment. In December 2005, staff took part in a three-day management training session; other courses have taken place or are planned on tourism management, vegetation management, conservation of monuments and mosaics, and project proposal writing.
The 2005 Joint Mission report insisted that “the need for a solid and realistic management as a useful tool has become more obvious than ever before.” Nonetheless, the report submitted by the State Party contains no reference to any work on the improvements of the management and conservation plan. It only mentioned that the management plan 2000-2005 has been adopted by the Butrint National Park Board and the initiatives and projects implemented in 2005-2006 are in accordance with the objectives of the management plan. The State Party also noted that in 2006 a project funded by the World Bank to develop an integrated coastal zone management plan will commence, which will include Butrint National Park.
While commending the State Party for the improvements that it has made in a number of sectors, ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre regret that there has been no progress on updating of the existing management plan to bring it in line with international standards.