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Pirin National Park

Bulgaria
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Illegal activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Developments in the Bansko ski zone;
  • Lack of effective management mechanisms;
  • Boundary issues;
  • Illegal logging. 
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014

Total amount granted: financial support from the Participation Programme of UNESCO for development of a strategy for sustainable tourism (2010)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 1 (from 2004-2004)
Total amount approved : 15,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

2002, 2004: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring missions; 2011: World Heritage Centre reactive monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 24 January 2014, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/225/documents. The report provides the following information:

  • The proposal from Bansko Municipality to amend the management plan of Pirin National Park (PNP) with a view to weakening development restrictions in the buffer zone will not be submitted to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria for approval. Any potential new development of Bansko ski zone will be considered during the elaboration of the new management plan, which will be completed by October 2015, instead of October 2014 as originally planned. In case the new management plan foresees new development in the buffer zone of the property, this will require the development of a Territorial Arrangement Plan, which will be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA).
  • According to the State Party, the Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) approved several infrastructure maintenance projects in the buffer zone in 2013. The State Party considers that these were in line with the current zoning and management objectives of PNP.
  • The State Party reports that demarcation of the boundaries of the National Park and Word Heritage property has been initiated by approving GPS coordinates. Boundaries will also be demarcated on-site, however a timeframe for the completion of this work is not provided.
  • The State Party notes that the new management plan will include provisions for the implementation of the 2011 mission recommendations. Due to the delay in the adoption of the new management plan, the State Party notes that it currently cannot report substantial progress in that regard. 
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The confirmation that the suggested amendments that would have weakened the protection of the buffer zone will not be submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval is welcomed. It is also noted that the State Party considers that recent approvals for maintenance of infrastructure in the buffer zone were in line with the management objectives of PNP.

The completion, adoption and implementation of the new management plan will be key to ensuring the integrity of the property. However, there is concern that the new management plan could consider permitting new ski infrastructure development projects in the buffer zone which could impact the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). Although the State Party indicates that the management plan, as a framework document, is not subject to EIA and AA, it is considered that the management plan should define the strategic scope of possible infrastructure developments, including those that might compromise the OUV of the property, and therefore a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) would be advisable, in line with the EU SEA Directive and Article 6(3) of the EU Habitats Directive. It will be crucial for the State Party to ensure that the further elaboration of the management plan includes comprehensive public participation and expert consultation. Therefore, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to ensure that the new management plan, in case it foresees new infrastructure developments in the buffer zone, will be subject to a SEA prior to being finalized and adopted.

The State Party’s intention to include provisions in the new management plan for the implementation of the remaining recommendations of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission is noted. However, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to expedite the implementation of the mission’s recommendations, as the completion of the new management plan is not expected before October 2015.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN received reports that express concern about the extent of planned logging activities inside the property and their impact on its OUV. This information was duly communicated to the State Party in accordance with Paragraph 174 of the Operational Guidelines

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.73
Pirin National Park (Bulgaria) (N 225)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.17, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Notes the information provided by the State Party that further developments in the buffer zone of the property could be considered within the new management plan for Pirin National Park, and given the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, requests the State Party to ensure that the new management plan is subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) prior to being adopted, in line with the European Union (EU) SEA Directive, the EU Habitat Directive, and IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  4. Also requests the State Party to expedite the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission which have not yet been implemented, in particular to complete the process of the demarcation of the boundaries of the property, including its buffer zone;
  5. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, 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 requests, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
Draft Decision:   38 COM 7B.73

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.17, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),

3.  Notes the information provided by the State Party that further developments in the buffer zone of the property could be considered within the new management plan for Pirin National Park, and given the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, requests the State Party to ensure that the new management plan is subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) prior to being adopted, in line with the European Union (EU) SEA Directive, the EU Habitat Directive, and IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;

4.  Also requests the State Party to expedite the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission which have not yet been implemented, in particular to complete the process of the demarcation of the boundaries of the property, including its buffer zone;

5.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above requests, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.

Report year: 2014
Bulgaria
Date of Inscription: 1983
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2014) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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