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Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region

Albania, North Macedonia
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Management and planning
  • Economic and demographic developments
  • Buildings and development
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount granted: USD 20 000 (UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 1 (from 1986-2011)
Total amount approved : 20,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 3 December 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/99/documents, as well as additional documentation on 28 February 2016 following a request of the World Heritage Centre dated 28 January 2016. Progress in addressing a number of requests made by the Committee at its 38th session (Doha, 2014) is presented as follows:

  • The design for the “Instauration of St. Clement’s University at Plaoshnik” was revised taking into account recommendations of the 2013 UNESCO/ICOMOS Advisory mission, with regards to the size, elevation, scale and scope of planned constructions;
  • The draft Management Plan for the property was finalized with support of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice, and is currently in consultation process by relevant authorities;
  • The preparation of a detailed urban plan for the entire monumental ensemble in Ohrid was abandoned in favour of 19 urban plans, one for each of the complexes, which are expected by September 2017;
  • The establishment of a Commission with an advisory and coordinating role for natural and cultural heritage to control development pressures and interventions at the property is pending the adoption of the Management Plan;
  • A Comprehensive Action Plan for the lakeshore is planned in the future;
  • The coastal development plans at Ljubanishte 1 and 2 by the investor “Sahara India, Pariwar” were cancelled;
  • The 2015 Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for amendments to the Management Plan of the Galičica National Park submitted by the State Party provides information on the potential significant negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property from the proposed change of zoning of the Galičica National Park, aimed at accommodating the proposed Galičica Ski Centre and Resort and the planned construction of the Express Road A3 (Ohrid-Peshtani);
  • Lin (Albania)-Struga-Kicevo section of the Railway Corridor VIII: an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), prepared in June 2010, provides information on a number of potential negative environmental impacts. The EIA of the Highway A2 (Trebenishte-Struga) project notes negative impacts on the environment, cultural heritage and landscape and proposes mitigation measures to minimize impact. The Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) notes no significant impact of the highway on the OUV of the property;
  • Port construction in the town of Ohrid: a feasibility study and public consultation were undertaken;
  • The State Party continues to cooperate in the framework of the Upstream Process towards the extension of the property to the Albanian side of the lake.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The State Party has taken significant measures to respond to the recommendations of the 2013 Advisory mission and the requests by the Committee, in particular by reviewing the project St. Clements University at Plaoshnik and progressing in finalizing the Management Plan for the property. The decision to cancel the coastal developments at Ljubanishte by the investor is also noted.

However, large-scale projects continue to be proposed within the property. The SEA of the Draft Amendments to the Management Plan for Galičica National Park (2011-2020) notes that changes to the park’s zoning were proposed by the Government to accommodate development projects, including the Galičica Ski Centre, associated ski lift base and the Gradiste Lakeside Village, which would conflict with the World Heritage status of the property. The SEA also notes cumulative impacts of the combination of the Ski Centre and the A3 road, which would lead to increased human activity and additional pressures on the property. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party not to approve the proposed amendments and to consider alternative locations for ski developments outside of the boundaries of the property and the Galičica National Park.

The EIA of the Pan European Railway Corridor VIII notes that incidents of substance run-offs during construction and operation phases would result in pollution of Lake Ohrid. This raises particular concern since part of the railway is planned very close to the lake shore in one of the last well preserved stretches. Given the high sensitivity of its aquatic ecosystems and the lake shore’s visual integrity of this stretch, alternatives with minimal potential impact on the lake and its shoreline should be preferred and all necessary impact mitigation measures should be adopted during the construction and operation phases.

The EIA and HIA of Highway A2 (Trebenishte-Struga) have been developed for only a 8km-long stretch, which is only a portion of a much wider planned transportation infrastructure upgrading. Therefore they do not provide a comprehensive assessment of the entire stretch of infrastructure which should also consider potential cross-border impacts on the Albanian side of the lake and the possible alternatives for its location.

The conclusions of the above mentioned SEA, and concerns for the A2 Highway and the Railway Corridor VIII indicate that these projects represent a potential danger to the property, in line with paragraphs 179 and 180 of the Operational Guidelines and would represent a case for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

A comprehensive action plan for the lakeshore and a SEA and HIA for all the above-mentioned infrastructure projects should be developed as a matter of urgency, in order to assess their potential cumulative impacts on the OUV of the property and to consider possible alternative routes and locations for these major projects to ensure they do not impact adversely on OUV.

It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation and to provide technical advice on the development of a SEA and HIA for all proposed infrastructure projects.

It is further recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to finalize the Management Plan and to establish, as a matter of urgency, the envisaged Commission which would provide a management structure to coordinate actions at different levels. It is also recommended that the Committee reiterate its request for the Integrated Protection Plan for the Old Town Nucleus of Ohrid for which no information was provided by the State Party.

Finally, the continued cooperation of the State Party in the framework of the World Heritage Upstream Process aimed at a possible transboundary extension of the property to the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid should be commended, as effective transboundary management will ensure the long-term conservation and protection of the property and enhance its integrity.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.68
Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) (C/N 99ter)
The World Heritage Committee,
  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.58, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the actions undertaken by the State Party concerning the revision of the project for the Instauration of St. Clement’s University at Plaoshnik to reduce its negative impacts on the property;
  4. Notes with concern that a number of large-scale infrastructure projects have been proposed within the property and that the conclusions of the impact assessments of the proposed Galičica Ski Centre, the A3 road, the Railway corridor VIII and Highway A2 demonstrate that these projects would be likely to cause significant potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and considers that these projects appear to represent a potential danger to the property, in line with paragraphs 179 and 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Requests the State Party, as a matter of urgency, to prepare an overall Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) that assess comprehensively the potential cumulative impacts of all proposed infrastructure plans and other major projects on the property’s OUV, with a view to identifying alternative routes and locations for these major projects that do not impact on the OUV, and to submit them to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any further work is undertaken;
  6. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in 2016 to assess its state of conservation and to provide technical advice to the State Party with regards to the development of the above-mentioned SEA and HIA;
  7. Also welcomes the participatory approach to the revisions of the Management Plan for the property but strongly encourages the State Party to:
    1. Finalize 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 revised Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to the above-mentioned Reactive Monitoring Mission,
    2. Finalize the detailed urban plans for each of the 19 complexes which are part of the monumental ensemble, in line with the existing regulatory framework, to ensure the enforcement of provisions and the control of activities that might impact the OUV of the property,
    3. Strictly enforce legal and regulatory provisions, and establish, as a matter of urgency, the foreseen Commission to coordinate natural and cultural heritage activities, as 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 OUV of the property and its setting;
  8. Also encourages the States Parties of Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with the support of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to continue to cooperate in the framework of the Upstream Process towards the preparation of a transboundary extension of the property to possibly include the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid, 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 2017, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the steps taken to implement the above recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017, with a view to considering, in the case of confirmation of the ascertained or potential danger to OUV, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.68

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.58, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the actions undertaken by the State Party concerning the revision of the project for the Instauration of St. Clement’s University at Plaoshnik to reduce its negative impacts on the property;
  4. Notes with concern that a number of large-scale infrastructure projects have been proposed within the property and that the conclusions of the impact assessments of the proposed Galičica Ski Centre, the A3 road, the Railway corridor VIII and Highway A2 demonstrate that these projects would be likely to cause significant potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and considers that these projects appear to represent a potential danger to the property, in line with paragraphs 179 and 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Requests the State Party, as a matter of urgency, to prepare an overall Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) that assess comprehensively the potential cumulative impacts of all proposed infrastructure plans and other major projects on the property’s OUV, with a view to identifying alternative routes and locations for these major projects that do not impact on the OUV, and to submit them to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any further work is undertaken;
  6. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in 2016 to assess its state of conservation and to provide technical advice to the State Party with regards to the development of the above-mentioned SEA and HIA;
  7. Also welcomes the participatory approach to the revisions of the Management Plan for the property but strongly encourages the State Party to:
    1. Finalize 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 revised Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to the above-mentioned Reactive Monitoring Mission,
    2. Finalize the detailed urban plans for each of the 19 complexes which are part of the monumental ensemble, in line with the existing regulatory framework, to ensure the enforcement of provisions and the control of activities that might impact the OUV of the property,
    3. Strictly enforce legal and regulatory provisions, and establish, as a matter of urgency, the foreseen Commission to coordinate natural and cultural heritage activities, as 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 OUV of the property and its setting;
  8. Also encourages the States Parties of Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with the support of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to continue to cooperate in the framework of the Upstream Process towards the preparation of a transboundary extension of the property to possibly include the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid, 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 2017, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the steps taken to implement the above recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017, with a view to considering, in the case of confirmation of the ascertained or potential danger to OUV, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2016
Albania North Macedonia
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Mixed
Criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)(vii)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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