1.         Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (Albania,North Macedonia) (C/N 99quater)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(iii)(iv)(vii)

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

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/99/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1986-2011)
Total amount approved: USD 20,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/99/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

September 1998: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN mission. December 2013: ICOMOS/UNESCO advisory mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/99/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

In December 2013, the State Party invited an ICOMOS/UNESCO advisory mission to assess the general state of conservation of the property and to evaluate the project for the “Instauration of St. Clement’s University in Plaoshnik”. On 28 March 2014, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/99/documents. The State Party’s report underscores the actions implemented in response to the mission recommendations as follows:

The State Party also reports on conservation interventions carried out at historical houses and archaeological sites. As for planning tools, the Management Plan is under review and an Integrated Protection Plan for the Old Town Nucleus of Ohrid will be prepared; no timeframe has been provided for their finalisation and approval.

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

The State Party’s positive response to the recommendations of the mission and the substantial review that has been made to the St. Clement’s University Project should be welcomed. The careful monitoring during the implementation of the architectural projects will ensure that development at the Plaoshnik area does not impact on the OUV of the property. Continued dialogue with the State Party is also important in this respect as the project progresses further. The new specific architectural projects should be submitted for review.

The findings of the mission in regard to uncontrolled interventions and development in past years and their impact on the conditions of authenticity and integrity are well noted. Strict control and operational management arrangements are required so that the attributes are not eroded to an extent that would compromise the OUV of the property. The new laws for the World Heritage property need to be fully enforced and a management structure is required to coordinate actions at the different levels and among institutions with relevant mandates and decision-making authority. This is particularly important in regard to granting permits for development or restoration of historic buildings.

Effective implementation of planning tools and regulatory measures is necessary to adequately control development pressures, densification and interventions that impact on the character of the historic fabric and the setting of the property. The update and review process for regulatory measures must include provisions to conduct Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments (EIAs/HIAs), in relation to the OUV of the property, to better inform decision-making at the national and local level. Revised regulations should be fully integrated through the process of the review of the Management Plan, the Urban Plans for the ensemble and during the development of the Integrated Protection Plan for the Old Town Nucleus of Ohrid.

In addition to the recently approved development of the Ljubanishta 1 coastal tourism and development zone and the Ohrid-Peshtani regional road, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note publicly available information (http://www.mepso.com.mk/en-us/Vesti.aspx?itemVID=267) regarding the State Party’s intentions to develop a Ski Centre and Resort in Galičica National Park, within the boundaries of the property and have requested further information from the State Party in April 2014. There is some concern about the potential individual and cumulative negative impacts of the planned infrastructure projects on the OUV of the property, and ski developments in the property would be likely to be incompatible with its World Heritage status. The mission’s recommendations should be recalled, in particular that a comprehensive action plan for the lakeshore be developed before the projects progress further and that Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments of these projects be prepared in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and the ICOMOS Guidelines on Heritage Impact Assessments for World Heritage cultural properties, and submitted along with further technical details of these projects to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before any decisions are taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

As for the Pan European Railway Corridor VIII, the EIA and HIA will be crucial for the development of the project and strong consideration should be given to alternative routes that do not cross the property.

Finally, it is noted that missions to the property have highlighted the importance of effective cross-border cooperation and it is recommended that efforts towards seeking a transboundary extension with Albania be prioritized to ensure the long-term conservation and protection of the property in the framework of the World Heritage Upstream process.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.58

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 22 COM VII.30 and 33 COM 8B.40 adopted at its 22nd (Kyoto, 1998) and 33rd (Seville, 2009) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the actions undertaken by the State Party in response to the recommendations made by the 2013 Advisory Mission related to the project for the Instauration of St. Clement’s University at Plaoshnik and recommends that dialogue between the State Party and the Advisory Bodies continue as the project progresses further;
  4. Encourages the State Party to implement all recommendations made by the 2013 Advisory Mission for improving the state of conservation of the property with particular attention to the following:
    1. Finalise the Management Plan for the property and the Integrated Protection Plan for the Old Town Nucleus of Ohrid and submit an electronic and three printed copies of the draft revised management plan for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies,
    2. Develop a detailed urban plan for the entire monumental ensemble, in line with the existing regulatory framework, to ensure the enforcement of provisions and to control activities that might impact the entire protected area,
    3. Strictly enforce legal and regulatory provisions and establish a management structure to control development pressures and interventions at the property,
    4. Develop a comprehensive action plan for the lakeshore to provide adequate guidance on the type and extent of potential developments in relation to the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and its setting;
  5. Expresses its concern over several planned major infrastructure projects within the property, including the Ljubanishta 1 and 2 coastal developments, the Ohrid-Peshtani road, and the Galičica Ski Centre and Resort, and requests that technical details, including Environmental and Heritage Impact Assessments (EIAs/HIAs), for projects under consideration within the property be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review prior to making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;
  6. Considers that the planned construction of the Galičica Ski Centre and Resort is likely to have significant direct and indirect impacts on the OUV of the property, and requests the State Party to halt the project until the abovementioned impact assessment has been completed and reviewed;
  7. Also requests that selected project proposals for the implementation of the Pan European Railway Corridor VIII be submitted to the World Heritage Centre upon completion for review by the Advisory Bodies and urges the State Party to identify alternative routes that do not cross the property;
  8. Also encourages the States Parties of Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with the support of the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies, to continue to cooperate in the framework of the Upstream process towards the preparation of a new nomination for a transboundary extension of the property to include the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid and its watershed, in order to strengthen the values and integrity of the property;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, a report, including a 1-page executive summary, on urgent progress required to address the issues mentioned above, and by 1 December 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.