1.         Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor (Montenegro) (C 125ter)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1979-2003

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/125/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-1982)
Total amount approved: USD 70,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/125/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2003: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission; January 2006: Management Planning Course; February 2008: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission; March 2013: ICOMOS Advisory mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/125/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 30 November 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report with eight annexes, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/125/documents/ (with the exception of Annex IV ‘Report on Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor for harmonizing policy/planning framework and instruments’). Progress towards resolving various conservation issues raised by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in the report, as follows:

In March 2017, the State Party submitted an HIA regarding a proposed project to construct a cable car between Kotor and St John’s Fortress, with original project data provided in November 2017. It should be noted that this part of the property now overlaps with a component of the serial property ‘Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar’, inscribed in 2017. A report on state of conservation of this serial property is scheduled for examination by the Committee at its 44th session in 2020.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The efforts of the State Party to address the issues raised by the Committee at its 40th session are appreciated. However, many issues addressed in previous Committee decisions require further progress.

The completed Kotor HIA was requested by the Committee to evaluate the current set of "planning instruments" adopted for the property and its buffer zone, in order to understand which might have a potential negative effect on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) in terms of development that could be allowed. The idea was that this study could then serve as a basis for "harmonizing all urban planning instruments" and “establishing a clear territorial policy / planning framework”.

This detailed report realistically notes that if all legitimate land-use planning and urban development plans were to be realized, the OUV of the property would be jeopardized. It analyses and assesses the weaknesses of the system, such as insufficient links between protection requirements and approved land-use and town plans. It sets out some proposals but does not provide clear and detailed guidance for resolving the problem through strengthening or harmonising planning instruments in accordance with the Committee's decisions. Instead it sets out a framework for future HIAs to be carried out by a Team of Experts authorised by the Ministry of Culture. At the same time new actors will be introduced into the planning system. This in effect suggests that unacceptable projects can still be legitimately put forward in line with planning instruments but mitigated as a result of HIAs. It is difficult to understand how the HIA/EIA processes can replace inadequate legal protection or lack of planning controls. What is still needed is a detailed analysis of the actual spatial and urban plans in force for the property's territory and its buffer zone, their weaknesses and what is needed to strengthen them.

It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to maintain the moratorium on any new construction and development until a complete suite of planning and protection measures are in force to satisfactorily constrain developments within the sensitive landscapes of the property so that there is no adverse impact on OUV.  

The draft Kotor HIA and the Law on Spatial Planning and Construction of Structures were the subject of an ICOMOS technical review, which was transmitted to the State Party in May 2018.  An HIA was carried out for the cable car project and has already been reviewed by ICOMOS. This technical review, submitted to the State Party in November 2017, did not consider the proposed mitigation actions to be sufficient to avoid negative impacts on the property’s OUV, and instead proposes that the project should be abandoned.

As many of the development pressures arising within the property are related to tourism (not only infrastructure but also high visitor numbers, particularly related to cruise tourism), tourism planning that respects OUV and supports sustainable development should also be an essential component of general planning for the property.

The recent appointment of a new management council, with improvements to the way it functions, is an important step towards effective management. The council should ensure that the ongoing implementation of the management plan is coordinated with all other planning activities, and that all relevant actors are involved (e.g. the various municipalities).

Finally, the report suffers from a lack of information about the conservation conditions of the physical fabric of the property, as noted in the HIA for the cable car project. This is not only important for safeguarding OUV in general, but is also the basis on which some of the proposed development projects might be safely implemented. There is also no information available on the impact that urban development has on intangible aspects of the property, including traditional ways of life and knowledge systems, which were indicated as being potentially at risk in the last Periodic Report (2015).

It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation, as well as, to consider in detail the various reports and legal amendments that have been produced and how further work might be carried out to strengthen the legal and planning protection of the property and its buffer zone.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.26

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.54, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Welcomes the ongoing work by the State Party on legal, planning and management matters and acknowledges the work undertaken as part of the Kotor Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) to analyse in general the weakness of the current overall protection system, and the proposals for the development of a Spatial Urban Plan for the Municipality of Kotor;
  4. Notes the proposal to centralize the production of HIAs as a means of mitigating negative impacts of development proposals that have been submitted, but considers that this measure cannot compensate for the lack of adequate legal and planning mechanisms for the overall landscape of the property;
  5. Remains concerned that considerable further work is needed to analyze in detail the weaknesses of the current Spatial and Urban Plans in force for the property's territory and its buffer zone, as a prelude to developing means to strengthen them;
  6. Considering ICOMOS’ technical review of the HIA of the project, urges the State Party to abandon the Kotor-St John’s Fortress cable car project to prevent any negative impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  7. Strongly requests the State Party to maintain the moratorium on any new construction and development until a complete suite of planning and protection measures are in force to satisfactorily accommodate possible sustainable developments within the sensitive landscape of the area and prevent any impact on the cultural and landscape values of the property;
  8. Also requests the State Party to complete all relevant actions in response to the Committee’s previous decisions, in particular to carry out HIAs for all ongoing or planned development projects, including the transport connection at Verige and the tourist facility at Glavati – Prčanj, as well as to submit the results of the HIAs to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to undertaking any further commitments;
  9. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation, as well as the various reports and legal amendments that have been produced and to advise on what further work is needed to strengthen the legal and planning protection of the property and its buffer zone and to coordinate its management;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, an updated detailed report on the state of conservation of all components of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.