1.         Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor (Montenegro) (C 125ter)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1979-2003

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/125/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-1982)
Total amount approved: USD 70,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/125/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2003: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission; January 2006: Management Planning Course; February 2008: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Earthquake damage

b) Lack of Management Planning/system

c) Inadequate legal system

d) Accelerated urban development and urban pressure

e) Proposed major bridge at Verige

f) Lack of buffer zone – requested since 2003

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/125/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 1 February 2012, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report which addresses the requests of the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd (Quebec City, 2008) and 33rd (Seville, 2009) sessions.

a) Verige Bridge and the by-pass project

A Visual Impact Assessment of the proposed Verige bridge and its associated road network was carried out between June and November 2009, in line with the recommendations of the joint UNESCO/ICOMOS mission in 2008 and the request of the World Heritage Committee.

The impact assessment was part of a wider project to develop an Integrated Spatial Plan for the conservation of landscapes in Boka Kotorska Bay, through the harmonisation of spatial plans of three neighbouring municipalities and the development of an integrated transport plan. The project was supported by the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ).

The assessment concluded that the proposed bridge and access roads, viaducts, stations, tunnels, etc. would have an extremely strong and irreversible impact on the landscape and key visual links would be compromised. Further, the height of the road bridge (53 m) would limit access of maritime vessels of greater height into the Bay of Kotor and, the proposed by-pass, the coastal motorway around the bays of Kotor and Risan, would be too narrow to alleviate the increase in traffic from the link between the two motorways and the local roads.

The recommendations of the impact assessment were to carry out detailed studies on an alternative tunnel crossing of the bay, and if that proved impossible, to study modified bridge proposals, including speed restrictions on the coastal highway and changes to the access roads and to put in place an overall integrated transport policy. The Government of Montenegro adopted the results of the impact study in March 2010. Apparently all work is currently on hold.

However, the bypass around the Bay of Kotor, about which the Committee at its 33rd session expressed its great concern, has already received funding from the European Investment Bank and the project work is apparently continuing.

b) Management Plan

As part of the spatial plan project, an expert workshop was held in May 2011 to develop a Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value which was submitted by the State Party to the World Heritage Centre on 4 February 2011. The expert workshop also revised the Management Plan, which was adopted by the Government of Montenegro in December 2011. The latter has not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review.

There are intentions of a larger reform of the institutional management. It is estimated that the reform will start after the adoption of a Law on the Protection of the Natural Region and Cultural-Historical Region of Kotor. The 2011 report mentions the intention to create an Agency for the protection and management with coordination functions. No other details are provided. Meanwhile coordinated management is still lacking.

c) Legal Framework

A new Law on Cultural Properties was adopted in 2010. This act protects the cultural landscape as cultural heritage, regulates the proposed buffer zone and legitimises the Management Plan. As yet, it is not clear how this will translate into detailed measures to protect the property and its proposed buffer zone.

d) Buffer Zone

A Buffer Zone has been delineated and submitted for evaluation covering the Bay of Kotor as recommended by the 2008 Mission. It will be examined by the World Heritage Committee under Item 8 of the Agenda (Document WHC-12/36.COM/8B).

e) Accelerated urban development and urban pressure

In the absence of coordinated management and detailed legal protection, there is evidence of increasing tourism development. However, few details were provided by the State Party.

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress made with the legal protection and the finalisation and adoption of the Management Plan which they suggests should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies. An overall coordinated management system for the property and detailed prescriptions for its legal protection, as recommended by the last mission, are still to be developed.

They also note the development of the Visual Impact Assessment of the Verige Bridge and its associated road network and support the clear outcome that the proposed bridge would have a highly negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. They consider that the bridge scheme should be formally abandoned and efforts made to pursue an underground tunnel, the development of ferry service in the Bay and improvements to the general system of roads at local, regional and international levels. The bridge project has highlighted the deep problems facing the general transport system of the region and there remains an urgent need to develop the proposed integrated transport strategy linked to the integrated spatial development plan of the three neighbouring municipalities.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the proposed by-pass road has been given funding by the European Investment Bank and work may already be progressing even though an Impact Assessment has been undertaken which acknowledges the detrimental impact of the by-pass road on the cultural and natural heritage values. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies therefore consider that work needs to be halted and revised as part of an integrated transport strategy.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.79

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.   Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.114, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3.   Welcomes the progress made in updating and adopting the Management Plan;

4.   Requests the State Party to submit three printed and electronic copies of the revised Management Plan, including information how the issue of tourism pressure is addressed, to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

5.   Takes note that the State Party has submitted a draft retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property, as requested in the Decision 32 COM 7B.101; as well as a proposal for a Buffer zone, as requested in the Decision 33 COM 7B.114;

6.   Notes the progress made on developing legal protection, but urges the State Party to develop detailed prescriptions for its implementation and for the overall coordinated management of the property;

7.   Also urges the State Party, in the light of the negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value identified by the Visual Impact Assessment, to reconsider the idea of a bridge at Verige, to explore alternative means of linking the bays, such as a tunnel, improved ferry services and a by-pass road in the Kotor Bay and find appropriate solutions in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

8.   Highlights the continued need to put in place as soon as possible an integrated spatial development plan of the three neighbouring municipalities and a regional transport strategy that includes alternatives to the Verige bridge project and its associated road network and the by-pass road in the Kotor Bay and encourages the State Party to address this need, with a particular focus on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, within the framework of the ongoing activities with regard to the development of the Coastal Area Spatial Plan of Montenegro;

9.   Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8B.58

The World Heritage Committee,
 
  1. Having examined Documents WHC-12/36.COM/8B.Add and WHC-12/36.COM/INF.8B1.Add,
  2. Refers the examination of the proposed minor modification to the boundary of the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor, Montenegro, back to the State Party in order to allow it to provide justification and detailed information on the proposed variations to the original 1979 property boundary;
  3. Approves the proposed buffer zone for the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor, Montenegro;
  4. Recommends that the State Party establish as soon as possible a coordination of the Management Plan with the municipal urban planning documents to include controls applicable to development and infrastructure within the buffer zone. Such controls on development and infrastructure need to recognise the components necessary to the visual integrity of the property, including vistas and visual accents, horizontal and vertical relationships, materials and form of new construction, and must be integrated with the individual municipal plans in order to ensure the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.