Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Pirin National Park

Bulgaria
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • 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 2016

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 2016
Requests approved: 1 (from 2004-2004)
Total amount approved : 15,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 12 December 2015, 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 State Party confirms that the draft Management Plan for Pirin National Park will be subject to the procedures for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) as requested by the World Heritage Committee. Currently the draft plan is being evaluated by the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW). It is expected that it will be returned for further elaboration due to the identified discrepancies between the prepared draft and the technical specification approved by the Ministry.

It also confirms that all projects in the buffer zone of the property are evaluated in line with the Bulgarian legislation and are subject to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and AAs. The implementation of approved projects is controlled by the Pirin National Park Directorate (PNPD) and the MOEW. A number of projects were approved in 2014 and 2015, which are mainly related to the maintenance of the existing facilities, improving visitors’ safety, the quality of tourist services and the environment. 

In line with the recommendation of the 2011 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission, the demarcation of the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone was carried out. With regards to the other recommendations of the mission, the State Party reports the following:

  • the Master Development Plans (MDP) for Bansko and Sandanski municipalities have been finalized, have received positive statements from the MOEW and will soon be considered by the respective municipal councils. MDPs for other municipalities around the property are currently being prepared;
  • the Strategy for sustainable nature tourism is being promoted and implemented by the PNPD;
  • the draft Management Plan of Pirin National Park foresees the elaboration of a methodology for monitoring the impacts on the property of skiing and other activities in its buffer zone;
  • implementation of restoration measures set out by the EIAs and AAs of each project is controlled by the PNPD;
  • territorial arrangement plans for Bansko and Dobrinishte ski zones in the buffer zone of the property can only be elaborated after the adoption of the Management Plan.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The progress achieved by the State Party in the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 mission is welcomed. It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to continue its efforts in this regard and to implement all pending recommendations.

The information provided by the State Party that the draft Management Plan for Pirin National Park will be subject to a SEA and an AA is noted. However, the fact that the draft Management Plan was considered by the MOEW as not being compliant with its technical requirements raises concerns. It should also be noted that concerns were expressed by local stakeholders during the public consultation process for the Management Plan, particularly over the planned extension of areas where tourism infrastructure development would be allowed. Concerns were also raised by local stakeholders regarding the proposed amendment of the Concession Contract for the Bansko ski zone. However, the State Party does not provide any details with regards to the contract.

In its Decision 38 COM 7B.73, the Committee noted the information previously provided by the State Party that further developments in the buffer zone of the property could be considered within the new Management Plan. In its most recent report, the State Party does not provide any further details about what is considered in the current draft; however, it reports that a number of projects were approved in 2014 and 2015. Although the State Party notes that these projects were related to the maintenance of existing facilities and improvement of visitors’ safety and the quality of tourist services, some of the projects listed in the report appear to be of a significant scale, such as the extension of the system for artificial snow, the reconstruction of an existing ski surface lift and the reconstruction of a ski lift station. Their cumulative impacts therefore need to be carefully evaluated.

It is crucial that strategic planning guides any developments within the property and its buffer zone. This can be achieved through the foreseen process of the review of the draft Management Plan under a SEA. The current situation where no such strategic guiding document is in place raises concerns. It is noted that all projects within the buffer zone of the property are subject to EIAs and AAs; however, these individual assessments might not take into account the cumulative impacts of all projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and on its buffer zone, and the pressures coming from the surrounding areas. It is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to ensure that the draft Management Plan is revised to comply with the requirements set out by the MOEW and is evaluated through the SEA and not to approve any further developments within the property or its buffer zone until these procedures have been completed. It is also recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit the results of these assessments to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, as soon as they become available and prior to any decision to finalize the Management Plan is made.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.93
Pirin National Park (Bulgaria) (N 225bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.73, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the progress achieved by the State Party with the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 mission and requests the State Party to fully implement all pending recommendations;
  4. Also welcomes the confirmation that the draft Management Plan for Pirin National Park will be subject to the procedures for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA), as requested in its Decision 38 COM 7B.73, but notes with concern the conclusion of the Ministry of Environment and Water that the first draft of the Management Plan did not comply with the requirements set out by the Ministry and was therefore sent back for revision;
  5. Notes the information provided by the State Party that all projects within the buffer zone of the property are subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and that the projects approved in 2014 and 2015 were mainly related to the maintenance of existing infrastructure and the enhancement of visitors’ safety and of the quality of tourist services;
  6. Considers that any future developments within the buffer zone of the property need to be guided through strategic planning, which can be achieved by strengthening the Management Plan through the procedures for SEA and also requests the State Party:
    1. to ensure that the draft Management Plan is revised to comply with the requirements set out by the Ministry of Environment and Water and is evaluated through the procedures for SEAs,
    2. to submit the Management Plan and the results of its evaluation through the procedures for SEA and AAs to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN,
    3. tto provide the World Heritage Centre information on other ongoing processes, that might affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
    4. not to approve any further developments within the property or its buffer zone until the draft Management Plan has been subject to the procedures for SEA and AA;
  7. Calls on the State Party to invite in 2017 an IUCN Advisory mission to review the implementation of the Management Plan and the preservation of the OUV of the property;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, 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.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.93

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.73, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the progress achieved by the State Party with the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 mission and requests the State Party to fully implement all pending recommendations;
  4. Also welcomes the confirmation that the draft Management Plan for Pirin National Park will be subject to the procedures for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA), as requested in its Decision 38 COM 7B.73, but notes with concern the conclusion of the Ministry of Environment and Water that the first draft of the Management Plan did not comply with the requirements set out by the Ministry and was therefore sent back for revision;
  5. Notes the information provided by the State Party that all projects within the buffer zone of the property are subject to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and that the projects approved in 2014 and 2015 were mainly related to the maintenance of existing infrastructure and the enhancement of visitors’ safety and of the quality of tourist services, but also notes with concern that some of these projects appear to be of significant scale and that the individual EIAs might not take into account the cumulative impacts of all projects within the property and its buffer zone;
  6. Considers that any future developments within the buffer zone of the property need to be guided by strategic planning, which can be achieved through the strengthening of the current draft Management Plan and through its revision under the SEA and also requests the State Party:
    1. to ensure that the draft Management Plan is revised to comply with the requirements set out by the Ministry of Environment and Water and is evaluated through the procedures for SEAs,
    2. to submit the revised draft Management Plan and the results of its evaluation through the SEA and AAs to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN, prior to any decision to finalize the Plan is made,
    3. to provide the World Heritage Centre information on other ongoing processes, that might affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and its buffer zone and therefore need to be considered through the SEA alongside the draft Management Plan, such as the revision of the concession contract for the Bansko Ski zone,
    4. not to approve any further developments within the property or its buffer zone until the revised Management Plan has been subject to the SEA and the results of the assessment have been reviewed by IUCN;
  7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, 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.
Report year: 2016
Bulgaria
Date of Inscription: 1983
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)
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.


top