Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1983
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/225/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 15,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/225/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: USD 24,915 of financial support from the Participation Programme of UNESCO for development of a strategy for sustainable tourism (2010)
Previous monitoring missions
2002, 2004, 2011: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions; 2018: IUCN Advisory mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/225/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018
On 1 December 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/225/documents/. Additional information was submitted on 11 January, 4 and 19 April 2018 following the World Heritage Centre’s letters seeking clarifications on third party information regarding amendments to the current Management Plan of the property. These documents report the following:
On 5-9 March 2018, an IUCN Advisory mission visited the property at the request of the State Party to review the draft of the new management plan and the amendments introduced to the current Management Plan of the property.
On 25 May 2018, another letter was sent by the World Heritage Centre to the State Party seeking clarifications regarding third party information reporting that the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria decided to reject the decision of the MOEW to not subject the draft new Management Plan of Pirin National Park to full SEA and AA.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
Regarding the new Management Plan for the property, it is noted that it could not yet be finalized due to Court proceedings. The ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court rejects the decision of the MOEW not to undertake a full SEA for the new Management Plan. This is welcome as the SEA can be an opportunity to address questions regarding the assurance of protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. It is recommended that the Committee seek official confirmation from the State Party regarding the process it will follow subsequent to the Court decision. It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that a full SEA for the new Management Plan for the property is undertaken as a matter of priority, which should include a specific assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property, including from potential development in areas located within its buffer zone. The State Party should be requested to submit a copy of the SEA to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN.
Regarding the current Management Plan for Pirin National Park, it is noted that the amendments adopted in December 2017 provide for the construction of water catchment facilities within the zone for protection of forest ecosystems and recreation. As these constructions would take place inside the property, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide more detailed information clarifying their potential extent and impacts and in how far these facilities would be related to potential developments in the property’s buffer zone. It is of concern that the amendments would also provide for expansion of skiing infrastructure in the buffer zone of the property. It should be recalled that the Committee in its Decision 37 COM 7B.17, requested the State Party to undertake a SEA of the development of the buffer zone, including consultations with stakeholders. The SEA for the new Management Plan should also address this request. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party not to implement the amendments to the current Management Plan and not to introduce any new amendments, until the SEA of the new draft Management Plan has been completed.
Once the results of the SEA are available, it is considered crucial to ensure that the new Management Plan comprehensively addresses all potential threats to the OUV of the property and clearly outlines how the management objectives, zoning and land use within Pirin National Park will contribute to protecting, and where possible enhancing the OUV of the property, and preventing any degradation of its integrity, including from socio-economic activities located outside its boundaries, based on the best available scientific knowledge.
It should be noted that the IUCN Advisory mission concluded that development of a clear and comprehensive long-term vision of the socioeconomic development in the buffer zone of the property and the broader region, which would be in line with the goal of long-term protection of the property’s OUV, is also necessary. Such a vision should provide a strategic framework for development, while also ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are involved in the process, facilitated by external mediation, if necessary, in order to achieve a situation where the vision is shared by all stakeholders concerned and provides clear provisions to protect the OUV of the property, including its conditions of integrity.
Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.72
The World Heritage Committee,