State of Conservation
Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
- Commercial hunting
- Forestry /wood production
- Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of integrated Management Plan
- Lack of transnational research and monitoring plans
- Need for capacity building
- Inadequate regulation and management of uses and activities (logging and hunting) in the Slovak part of the property
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2017**
October 2014: World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission
|2014||Report on the Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Slovak component sites of the Primeval Beech Forests of the ...|
|2012||Apparaisal Report on the Expert Mission to Poloniny National Park (Slovak Republic) as part of the renewal process ...|
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
On 1 December 2016, the State Party of Slovakia submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1133/documents/ and reports the following:
- A new management plan (2017-2026) was approved for the Poloniny National Park which encompasses three of the property’s components. The plan specifies an “ecological functional area” which includes forest stands of Poloniny National Park, except those located within privately owned or used reserves;
- The implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission is underway;
- In 2015, a new nature reserve Borsukov vrch was established covering part of the Stužica – Bukovské vrchy component, therefore increasing the protection of these areas to the highest possible level;
- In lieu of an initially envisaged joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission, an independent expert mission provided advice to the State Party of Slovakia with regards to the revision of the boundaries of all Slovak components;
- An interdepartmental coordination group was established between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Negotiations are also underway with other ministries regarding coordinated approaches to the management of the property and the revision of the boundaries of the Slovak components. However, an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) for the Slovak components of the property has not yet been realized;
- The Committee’s request to ensure that no logging operations are undertaken (Decision 39 COM 7B.19) has only been fulfilled in parts of the Slovak components, namely the territories of nature reserves with the highest level of protection or the new “Ecological functional area” established within the Poloniny National Park where consent has been given by private owners to a no-intervention regime;
- No logging operations are reportedly being carried out within the Vihorlat component due to voluntary commitments of concerned parties. Once new boundaries have been specified and agreed, the territory within those boundaries will be given the highest level of protection.
On 3 April 2017, the State Party of Slovakia provided additional information, as requested by the World Heritage Centre on 17 January 2017, specifying that the components Stužica-Bukovské vrchy and Vihorlat require significant boundary modifications while the components of Havešová and Rožok only need to be aligned to the boundaries of existing national nature reserves. Further negotiations with relevant stakeholders are expected to be completed by August 2017. The development of the Integrated Management Plan for all Slovak components is planned for 2019.
A nomination for a transnational serial extension to the property has been submitted by the States Parties of Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine, which will be examined by the Committee under item 8B of the Agenda.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017
The progress made in implementing the recommendations of the 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission is welcomed and should be continued in line with the following considerations:
The State Party’s efforts to engage a broad range of stakeholders, including the World Heritage Centre, to explore how sustainable tourism could serve as an alternative source of income for local people and as a vehicle for sustainable development around the property as well as in the Central European region in general should be welcomed. The measures undertaken by the State Party of Slovakia to enhance the protection regime of the parts of the property, which to date have not been fully protected against logging, namely the creation of an “Ecological functional area”, should also be welcomed. This was achieved through a new Management Plan for the Poloniny National Park and includes forest stands of the Stužica – Bukovské vrchy component as well as the establishment of the new Borsukov vrch nature reserve, covering other parts of the same component. Nevertheless, even with these additional measures and despite the voluntary commitment of some entities not to carry out logging operations, only parts of the Slovak components of the property are currently legally protected against logging. The reported negotiations between different ministries and the creation of an interdepartmental coordination group based on the cooperation and collaboration agreement signed between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development can serve as an important step in the process of the development of an IMP. However, the lack of substantial progress in this regard raises concerns. In the absence of an IMP and with only parts of the territory benefiting from a strengthened protection regime, the Slovak components of the property continue to be threatened by logging.
It is noted that the negotiations necessary for a proposal for boundary modifications, as requested by the Committee, are underway. The new delineation of the Slovak components should ensure that the most important areas for the expression of the OUV of the property are included and that all areas within the property benefit from a sufficient legal protection regime, with consent given to such regime by all relevant stakeholders through a participatory process. While the State Party of Slovakia reports that some potential boundary modification proposals have been considered and that more time is needed to discuss the possible options with all relevant stakeholders, it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party of Slovakia to finalize and submit a proposal for a boundary modification of the Slovak components of the property as soon as possible.
Unless further urgent measures are taken to completely resolve the issue of the lack of an adequate protection regime of the Slovak components of the property and to ensure that their boundary delineation is adequate, the protection of these components from logging and other potential threats cannot be guaranteed in the long-term. Such a situation would clearly constitute a potential danger to the OUV of the serial transnational property as a whole, in line with Paragraphs 137 and 180 of the Operational Guidelines.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
Draft Decision: 41 COM 7B.4
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.19, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
- Welcomes the efforts of the State Party of Slovakia to explore how sustainable tourism could contribute to sustainable development around the property as well as the information provided by the State Party regarding the establishment of a new nature reserve and of an “ecological functional area” covering parts of the property located within Poloniny National Park, but notes with utmost concern that, despite these measures and the voluntary commitment of some entities involved not to carry out logging operations, only parts of the Slovak components of the property are currently legally protected against logging;
- Also notes with concern that no Integrated Management Plan (IMP) has been established for the Slovak components of the property; reiterates its request to the State Party of Slovakia to ensure that no logging operations take place within the property’s boundaries until this issue is resolved through the development, in consultation with the other States Parties for this property, of an IMP for the Slovak components of the property, focused on nature conservation and taking into account all international designations, such as World Heritage property, Biosphere Reserve, European Diploma and Natura 2000 and urges the State Party to ensure that no logging will be possible within the property’s boundaries after the adoption of the plan;
- Takes note that negotiations regarding possible boundary modifications of the Slovak components of the property are planned to be completed in 2017, and also urges the State Party of Slovakia to submit a proposal for such boundary modifications as soon as possible, after consultation with the other States Parties for this property;
- Also welcomes the State Party’s progress made in implementing the recommendations of the 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission and requests the State Party to continue its efforts to complete the implementation of all mission recommendations;
- Considers that, unless urgent measures are taken to address the lack of an adequate protection regime of the Slovak components of the property and to ensure that their boundary delineation is adequate, their protection from logging and other potential threats cannot be guaranteed in the long-term, which would clearly constitute a potential danger to the OUV of this serial transnational property as a whole, in line with Paragraphs 137 and 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
- Also requests the State Party of Slovakia, in consultation with the other States Parties for this property, to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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 42nd session in 2018.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).