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Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region

Albania, North Macedonia
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • 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 systems/ management plan
  • Buildings and development
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure (proposed Galičica Ski Centre)
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019

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

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 1 (from 1986-2011)
Total amount approved : 20,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 29 November 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, for which amendments were transmitted on 30 January and 8 April 2019, following two progress reports submitted in February and June 2018, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/99/documents/, and which reports the following:

  • The procedure for modification of the Management Plan of the Galičica National Park (2011-2020), specifically its zoning, was formally halted in March 2018, which resulted in the consequent halting of the construction of the expressway A3 from Peštani to Ohrid and the Galičica Ski Centre;
  • The project documentation for the improvement of wastewater treatment has been prepared using EU funds, but no funds have yet been secured for its implementation;
  • Analysis of the potential impact of chemicals used for the pylons in the future reconstruction of the Museum in the Bay of Bones on lake waters has been completed;
  • Initial steps have been undertaken for returning the Sateska River to its old riverbed, with the financial support of UNDP, as well as for clearing 12 non-standard and 84 illegal landfills, including at Maucker site. However, funding still needs to be secured for the latter;
  • Accumulated delays in fulfilling the recommendations of the 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission and the Committee, for which no timeframe for completion is proposed, include: completion of the Management Plan for the property and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) addressing cumulative impacts of proposed projects; preparation of the detailed urban plans for 19 complexes of the Old Nucleus of Ohrid, initially expected by the end of 2017; establishing a moratorium on any transformation within the property; finalization and approval of all relevant planning documents, inventorying illegal buildings and demolishing those threatening the property; and implementation of mission recommendations 10, 18 and 19;
  • The State Party notes that consideration of alternative routes for the railway line Kičevo – Lin of the Pan – European Corridor VIII, planned to reach the Albanian territory across the lakeshore at Lin, would only be possible if a new connection point on the Albanian side was identified which, in the State Party’s view, would require a new agreement between the two States Parties. The State Party considers that the original proposed route is fully appropriate. An expert opinion has been prepared by the State Party regarding the highway A2 Trebenište-Struga as a response to the mission’s recommendations, which supports the originally planned route.

On 6 March 2019, the State Party submitted additional information regarding the Ali Pasha Mosque project and the Draft Law on Managing the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region. An updated version of the Draft Law was submitted on 8 April 2019.

On 13 March 2019, the World Heritage Centre received a third party report about further threats to the property, including potential legalization of illegal constructions and approved new developments.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

Some steps have been undertaken by the State Party to respond to the Committee’s requests, including halting the procedure for zoning changes in the Management Plan of Galičica National Park, which, as informed by the State Party, de facto halted the upgrade of subsection (a) and (e) of expressway A3 Ohrid-Peštani and construction of the Galičica Ski Resort.

A draft law on Managing the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region has been prepared. However, it is noted that in case of non-compliance with its provisions, e.g. implementation of activities that may endanger or have endangered the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, only financial and no penal sanctions are included. These measures do not appear sufficient to discourage non-compliance.

However, the majority of the Committee requests and 2017 mission recommendations remain unfulfilled, including establishing a moratorium on transformations along the lakeshore, inventorying illegal buildings and proceeding with their demolition, undertaking studies for the establishment of a buffer zone, and comprehensively addressing urban traffic issues.

Importantly, the State Party has not undertaken a comparative study of alternative railway routes for the Pan – European Corridor VIII as requested by the Committee in 2017. No assessment has been made of the alternate solution of a tunnel connecting the territory of North Macedonia with Prrenjas plain in Albania which would be outside both the current property and the extension proposed by the State Party of Albania that will be considered by the Committee under Agenda Item 8. Such a route would minimize potential impacts on the OUV of the property and its proposed extension, in line with the European practice for railway tunnels.

The consultations between the State Party and the State Party of Albania regarding the property extension have not addressed the negative impacts that may result from the planned route for the railway, a crucial issue for the conservation of one of the few last almost-intact parts of the Ohrid lakeshore, stretching between the border of North Macedonia and Albania. The planned railway route runs close to the Lin Peninsula in Albania, and could endanger key attributes supporting the proposed extension of the property.

For the highway stretch A2 Trebeništa – Struga, the State Party’s expert opinion supports the results of the previously conducted Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which however did not adequately address the potential negative impacts on the property’s OUV that extends well beyond Ohrid Lake. Additionally, only a section of the road has been assessed, and thus there has been no comprehensive assessment of the potential impacts of the whole infrastructure project, nor any potential development along its length.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that little progress has been made in implementing important Committee requests and recommendations, including the delayed implementation of key milestones with no revised timeframe being proposed. Additionally, the State Party does not intend to address some above-mentioned priority recommendations.

In its Decision 40 COM 7B.68, the Committee noted that the Railway Corridor VIII and Highway A2 were likely to cause  potentially significant negative impacts on the OUV of the property and considered that these projects appeared to represent a potential Danger to the property, in line with Paragraphs 179 and 180 of the Operational Guidelines.

Furthermore, the 2017 mission observed numerous threats faced by the natural and cultural values of the property including: decreased water levels, uncontrolled discharge, water pollution due to inadequate wastewater treatment systems leading to evident eutrophication at the mouths of intake rivers, heavy pressures from tourism, and extensive uncontrolled urban development and inappropriate exploitation of the coastal zones. These result in higher water consumption, increased pollution, habitat fragmentation and destruction, as well as extensive negative impact on the visual quality of the property.

The mission concluded that the overall state of conservation of the property was vulnerable and if the priority recommendations were not implemented within a two-year framework, the property could meet the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. This view was confirmed by the Committee in its decision adopted in 2017.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that although the projects for Galičica Ski Resort and sub-sections (a) and (e) of the A3 road have been halted in the two years since the mission, there has been little progress in addressing these on-going threats. No progress has been made with approving planning instruments including the management plan, in establishing a moratorium for any transformations, in inventorying and removing illegal buildings negatively impacting on the OUV of the property, and in implementing the waste water treatment system. Moreover, the State Party has expressed its intention to proceed with the original route of the Railway corridor VIII despite the Committee’s request to consider alternative routes.

The property is now facing irreversible transformations of the overall relationship between the historic city, archaeological remains, natural setting, and Lake Ohrid, which can only be addressed by major changes to governance, management, planning, conservation and enforcement processes.

The on-going threats combined with large-scale infrastructure and development projects, individually and cumulatively, represent a potential Danger to the OUV of the property. It is considered that the property thus meets the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger according to Paragraphs 177, 179 b) and 180 b) of the Operational Guidelines. It is recommended that the Committee consider inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and requesting the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a set of corrective measures and a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR).

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7B.36
Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (North Macedonia) (C/N 99ter

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.68 and 41 COM 7B.34, adopted at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the halting of the procedure for the modification of the Management Plan of Galičica National Park, specifically its zoning, which de facto has stopped the construction projects of the sub-sections (a) and (e) of the A3 road and the Galičica ski resort within the property, however, considers that this step is not sufficient to significantly reduce the vulnerability of the property;
  4. Also recalling its decisions supporting the conclusions of the 2017 Reactive Monitoring mission that the overall state of conservation of the property was vulnerable to various threats and, if the priority recommendations were not implemented within a two-year framework, the property could meet the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger,
  5. Notes that partial progress has been made in implementing urgent Committee requests and recommendations including the delayed implementation of key milestones with no revised timeframe being proposed, especially the moratorium on any transformation within the property, the inventory of illegal buildings and the demolition of those negatively impacting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, the approval of all relevant planning instruments, including the Management Plan, as well as other key recommendations of the 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission;
  6. Also notes that the State Party is not regularly informing the World Heritage Centre of projects and planning activities being developed within the boundaries of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Notes with concern that the State Party has not yet addressed the recommendations on the Railway corridor VIII, despite the Committee’s request to consider alternative routes outside the property and outside the extension proposed by the State Party of Albania; and also with highway stretch A2 Trebeništa – Struga even though an adequate Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) has not been undertaken of the overall impact of this road on the OUV of the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party to urgently identify optimal solutions for these projects, avoiding impact on the OUV of the property and the extension proposed by the State Party of Albania;
  8. Notes with satisfaction that the State Party’s action on the long-term projects including the waste water management system and redirecting of River Sateska, and furthermore welcomes the Government’s adoption of Law on Management of the Natural and Cultural Heritage in the Ohrid Region, as well as the Government Decision taken in June 2019 tasking all relevant domestic institutions to implement the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre;
  9. Strongly reiterates its requests to the State Party to:
    1. Establish a moratorium on any urban and coastal transformations within the property until all relevant planning documents have been finalized and adopted, effective protective regulations have been approved and effective control mechanisms established,
    2. Inventory illegal constructions, assessing their impacts on the OUV of the property through appropriate HIA and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes and proceed to demolishing all those which represent a threat to the property,
    3. Ensure strict enforcement of laws and regulations to prevent any further illegal construction,
    4. Finalize the Management Plan for the property and align all relevant planning instruments with the overall aim of protecting and sustaining the OUV of the property and submit the draft to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, prior to its finalization and adoption,
    5. Implement all other previous Committee requests and the 2017 mission recommendations;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020, with a view to considering, in case of the confirmation of the potential or ascertained danger to its Outstanding Universal Value, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
43 COM 8B.9
Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (Albania, North Macedonia)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/19/43.COM/8B, WHC/19/43.COM/INF.8B1 and WHC/19/43.COM/INF.8B2,
  2. Approves the significant boundary modification proposed by Albania of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region, North Macedonia, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (i), (iii), (iv) and (vii);
  3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

    Brief synthesis

    The Lake Ohrid region, a mixed World Heritage property covering c. 94,729 ha, was first inscribed for its nature conservation values in 1979 and for its cultural heritage values a year later. These inscriptions related to the part of the lake located in North Macedonia. The property was extended to include the rest of Lake Ohrid, located in Albania, in 2019. 

    Lake Ohrid is a superlative natural phenomenon, providing refuge for numerous endemic and relict freshwater species of flora and fauna dating from the tertiary period. As a deep and ancient lake of tectonic origin, Lake Ohrid has existed continuously for approximately two to three million years. Its oligotrophic waters conserve over 200 species of plants and animals unique to the lake, including algae, turbellarian flatworms, snails, crustaceans and 17 endemic species of fish including two species of trout, as well as a rich birdlife.

    Situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mostly between the 7th and 19th centuries, Ohrid is home to the oldest Slav monastery (dedicated to St. Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons of worldwide fame dating from the 11th century to the end of the 14th century. Ohrid’s architecture represents the best preserved and most complete ensemble of ancient urban architecture of this part of Europe. Slav culture spread from Ohrid to other parts of Europe. Seven basilicas have thus far been discovered in archaeological excavations in the old part of Ohrid. These basilicas were built during the 4th, 5th and beginning of the 6th centuries and contain architectural and decorative characteristics that indisputably point to a strong ascent and glory of Lychnidos, the former name of the town. The structure of the city nucleus is also enriched by a large number of archaeological sites, with an emphasis on early Christian basilicas, which are also known for their mosaic floors. Special emphasis regarding Ohrid’s old urban architecture must be given to the town’s masonry heritage. In particular, Ohrid’s traditional local influence can be seen among its well-preserved late-Ottoman urban residential architecture dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The limited space for construction activities has led to the formation of a very narrow network of streets.

    On the Lin Peninsula, in the west of the Lake, the Early Christian Lin church, founded in the mid-6th century, is related to the basilicas of Ohrid town in terms of its architectural form and decorative floor mosaics, and possibly also through liturgical links.

    Although the town of Struga is located along the northern shores of Lake Ohrid, town life is concentrated along the banks of the Crn Drim River, which flows out of the lake. The existence of Struga is connected with several fishermen settlements on wooden piles situated along the lake shore. A great number of archaeological sites testify to origins from the Neolithic period, the Bronze Age, the Macedonian Hellenistic period, the Roman and the early Middle Age period. Similar pre-historic pile dwelling sites have also been identified in the western margins of the Lake.

    The convergence of well-conserved natural values with the quality and diversity of its cultural, material and spiritual heritage makes this region truly unique.

    Criterion (i): The town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. As one of the best preserved complete ensembles encompassing archaeological remains from the Bronze Age up to the Middle Ages, Ohrid boasts exemplary religious architecture dating from the 7th to 19th centuries as well as an urban structure showcasing vernacular architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries. All of them possess real historic, architectural, cultural and artistic values. The concentration of the archaeological remains and urban structures within the old urban centre of Ohrid, in the Lin Peninsula, and along the coast of Lake Ohrid as well as the surrounding areas creates an exceptional harmonious ensemble, which is one of the key features that make this region truly unique.

    Criterion (iii): The property is a testimony of Byzantine arts, displayed by more than 2,500 square metres of frescoes and more than 800 icons of worldwide fame. The churches of St. Sophia (11th century), Holy Mother of God Perivleptos and St. John Kaneo notably display a high level of artistic achievements in their frescoes and theological representations, executed by local as well as foreign artists. Ancient architects erected immense basilicas, which were to serve as models for other basilicas for centuries. The development of ecclesiastical life along the shores of the lake, along with its own religious architecture, frescoes and icons, testifies to the significance of this region as a religious and cultural centre over the centuries. The similarities between the mosaics of Lin church in the west of the Lake with those of the early basilicas of Ohrid to the east, reflect a single cultural tradition.

    Criterion (iv): The Lake Ohrid region boasts the most ancient Slavonic monastery and the first Slavonic University in the Balkans – the Ohrid literary school that spread writing, education and culture throughout the old Slavonic world. The old town centre of Ohrid is a uniquely preserved, authentic ancient urban entity, adjusted to its coastal lake position and terrain, which is characterised by exceptional sacred and profane architecture. The architectural remains comprising a forum, public buildings, housing and sacred buildings with their infrastructure date back to the ancient town of Lychnidos (the former name of the town). The presence of early Christian architecture from 4th to 6th centuries is attested by the lofty basilicas of Ohrid and the small church of Lin. The Byzantine architecture of Ohrid with a great number of preserved sacred buildings of different types from 9th to 14th centuries, is of paramount importance and contributes to the unity of its urban architecture.

    Criterion (vii): The distinctive nature conservation values of Lake Ohrid, with a history dating from pre-glacial times, represent a superlative natural phenomenon. As a result of its geographic isolation and uninterrupted biological activity, Lake Ohrid provides a unique refuge for numerous endemic and relict freshwater species of flora and fauna. Its oligotrophic waters contain over 200 endemic species with high levels of endemism for benthic species in particular, including algae, diatoms, turbellarian flatworms, snails, crustaceans and 17 endemic species of fish. The natural birdlife of the Lake also contributes significantly to its conservation value.

    Integrity

    The property encompasses all of the features that convey the property’s Outstanding Universal Value in relation to natural and cultural criteria.

    Main threats to the integrity of the property include uncoordinated urban development, increasing population, inadequate treatment of wastewater and solid waste, and tourism pressure, as well as a number of other issues. In addition, pollution from increased traffic influences the quality of the water, which leads to the depletion of natural resources. The highly endemic biodiversity and natural beauty of the Lake are particularly vulnerable to changes in water quality, and there is alarming evidence of a growth in nutrients threatening the oligotrophic ecology of the Lake. This oligotrophic state is the basis for its nature conservation value, and action to tackle this threat must be a priority.

    The integrity of the town of Ohrid suffered to some extent, as several houses built at the end of 19th century were demolished in order to exhibit the excavated remains of the Roman Theatre. The overall coherence of the property, and particularly the relationship between urban buildings and the landscape setting of the Lake, is vulnerable to the lack of adequate protection and control of new development.

    Authenticity

    The town of Ohrid is reasonably well preserved, although uncontrolled incremental interventions have impacted the overall form of the monumental urban ensemble as well as the lakeshore and wider landscape. These are also vulnerable to major infrastructure projects and other developments.

    Concerning the religious buildings around Ohrid, important conservation and restoration works have been carried out since the 1990s. Conservation works on the monuments in the region have been thoroughly researched and documented, but some have impacted the property’s authenticity. The icons and frescoes are in good condition and kept in the churches. The originally residential function of some buildings has changed over time, as have some of the interior outfitting of residential buildings, which were altered to improve living conditions. While reconstructions often used materials identical to those used at the time of construction, new materials have also been used on occasion, which presents a threat for the authenticity of the property.

    The Lin church and its context is vulnerable to lack of protection and, inadequately controlled conservation and development. At the western side of the Lake, the support the buffer zone offers to the Lin peninsula and the landscape setting of the Lake is likely to be ineffective as a result of a lack of adequate protection and development control.

    Protection and management requirements

    The Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region has several layers of legal protection afforded by both States Parties. In the North Macedonian part of the property, the protection of cultural heritage is regulated by the Law on Cultural Heritage Protection (Official Gazette of RM No. 20/04, 115/07), by-laws and a law declaring the old city core of Ohrid as a cultural heritage of particular importance (Official Gazette of RM No. 47/11). There is currently no specific national protection for cultural sites located in Albania. The protection of natural heritage is regulated by the Law on Nature Protection (Official Gazette of RM No. 67/2004, 14/2006 and 84/2007), including within and outside of protected areas. There is also the Law on Managing the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Ohrid Region (Official Gazette of RM No. 75/10). In Albania, the Pogradec Terrestrial/Aquatic Protected Landscape (PPL) was legally established in 1999 to protect both terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems, and covers the entire area of the property and its buffer zone. The States Parties have also signed several agreements for management and protection of the Lake, for instance the 2003 Law on Protection of Transboundary Lakes. Legal instruments need to be kept updated and implemented to protect the property.

    The property is managed and protected through a range of relevant management documents, and an effective overall management plan is a clear long-term requirement. The “Physical Plan of the Republic of Macedonia” [sic] of 2004 provides the most comprehensive long-term and integrated document for land management, providing a vision for the purpose, protection, organization and landscape of the country and how to manage it. In Albania, the management plan for the PPL is of a high-quality, and a Protective Landscape Management Plan was developed in 2014, with the objectives to strengthen management, increase habitat protection and conservation, develop touristic and recreational use, and encourage the development of sustainable agriculture and socio-economic activities. This includes a five-year Action Plan (2014-2019) that aims to start remedial measures through strengthening management and cooperation and improving the legal framework. The Plan proposes to exclude the urban areas and the areas where intensive agricultural practices take place around the towns of Pogradec and Buçimas from the zoning of the protected landscape. To this Management Plan has been added a World Heritage Supplement (2017-2027) that sets out systems to strengthen the management of the extended property and its buffer zone. This supplement covers both cultural and natural heritage in terms of threats and necessary actions. These plans need to be effectively implemented and updated regularly. Deficiencies have been noted in the general implementation of urban and protected area planning regulations and plans in both States Parties, which need to be addressed in full.

    In North Macedonia, the property is managed by two ministries (the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Environment), via three municipalities (Ohrid, Struga and Debrca), although the municipalities legally do not have the authority to protect cultural and natural heritage. The Institute for Protection of Monuments of Culture and Museums in Ohrid has the authority to protect cultural heritage, and the Natural History Museum in Struga is responsible for protecting movable heritage. The Galichica National Park is authorized to manage natural heritage within the park as a whole, and part of the cultural heritage located within the territory of the Park. The Institute for Hydrobiology in Ohrid is responsible for the continuous monitoring of the Lake Ohrid ecosystem, the research and care for Lake Ohrid’s flora and fauna, as well as the management of the fish hatchery, also to enrich the Lake’s fish stocks. In Albania, a management committee is proposed that is a modified version of the Committee for the Protected Areas. This will consist of representatives of the key government agencies covering both culture and nature, with the National Agency for Protected Areas having a central responsibility in relation to nature conservation matters, and a representative of a citizen’s initiative.

    Integrated management of natural and cultural heritage through a joint coordinating body and joint management planning are urgently needed to ensure that both the natural and cultural values of the property are conserved in a fully integrated manner. Given the vulnerabilities of the property related to the development and impacts of tourism, the management requirements for the property need strengthening and new cooperation mechanisms and management practices must be put into place. This may include re-evaluating the existing protected areas, and ensuring adequate financial and human resources for management as well as effective management planning and proper law enforcement. Whilst transboundary management mechanisms are set up on paper, these need to be actively and fully operational, on an ongoing basis, in order to ensure the transboundary cooperation required to secure the long-term future for Lake Ohrid. Adequate budgets also need to be provided, beyond the aspirations set out in the management documents for the property.  Effective integration and implementation of planning processes at various levels, cross-sectorial cooperation, community participation and transboundary conservation are all preconditions for the successful long-term management of Lake Ohrid.

    A range of serious protection and management issues require strong and effective action by the States Parties, acting jointly for the whole of the property as well as within each of their territories. These include the urgent need to protect the water quality of the Lake and therefore maintain its oligotrophic ecological function; to tackle tourism and associated legal and illegal development and the impacts of development on habitats and species throughout the property, including on the lake shores. Resource extraction also needs to be effectively regulated, and enforced, including in relation to fisheries and timber harvesting; and action is required to protect against the introduction of alien invasive species. There is also evidence of climate change impacting the property, such as through the warming of the lake, which requires international attention as such issues cannot be tackled at the local level.

  4. Notes with concern the threats facing the cultural and natural attributes as well as the setting on the Albanian side of the property and encourages the States Parties to develop, as a matter of urgency, a joint transboundary approach to address these threats to the values, integrity and the serious protection and management issues facing Lake Ohrid;
  5. Requests the States Parties to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to discuss the measures to address the recommendations below;
  6. Recommends that the States Parties give urgent consideration to the following:
    1. Ensure the implementation of a formal transboundary coordinated management structure functioning and adequately resourced, between the two participating States Parties and strengthen collaborative working between cultural and natural agencies and departments at both national and regional levels,
    2. Strengthen and coordinate legal protection in both States Parties,
    3. Approve and operationalise the Municipal Development Plan,
    4. Operationalise planning guidelines,
    5. Increase human and financial resources to support the management of the property,
    6. Fully implement the Management Plan,
    7. Increase community participation,
    8. Introduce a monitoring regime for cultural assets,
    9. Strengthen protection at Lin church as a matter of urgency,
    10. Extend the treatment of sewage around the Lake, through installation and effective operation of sewage treatment plants beyond the newly commissioned facility at Pogradec, and through monitoring and control of agricultural run-off into the lake,
    11. Appoint designated personnel for the management of Lin church, Lin village and Lin peninsula,
    12. Improve collection facilities at Pogradec museum and the conservation of waterlogged material from the pile dwelling sites,
    13. Continue to remove illegal buildings along the lake shore and re-align part of the road away from the lake,
    14. Prepare an inventory of the cultural sites in the buffer zone and introduce a conservation approach for these and the buffer zone landscape;
  7. Also recommends the States Parties to provide a comprehensive comparative study of alternative routes for the proposed railway from Kičevohe in North Macedonia to Albania including those that do not pass through the inscribed property or in close vicinity to the lakeshore in Albania;
  8. Also requests the States Parties to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020, with a view to considering, in case of confirmation of potential or ascertained danger to its Outstanding Universal Value, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  9. Notes with appreciation the commitment of the States Parties to the nomination of the present extension, including their engagement with the Upstream Process to promote the extension of the original property, with the proactive technical support of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7B.36

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document/WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 40 COM 7B.68 and 41 COM 7B.34, adopted at its 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
  3. Welcomes the halting of the procedure for the modification of the Management Plan of Galičica National Park, specifically its zoning, which de facto has stopped the construction projects of the sub-sections (a) and (e) of the A3 road and the Galičica ski resort within the property, however, considers that this step is not sufficient to significantly reduce the vulnerability of the property;
  4. Also recalling its decisions supporting the conclusions of the 2017 Reactive Monitoring mission that the overall state of conservation of the property was vulnerable to various threats and, if the priority recommendations were not implemented within a two-year framework, the property could meet the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger,
  5. Notes with concern that little progress has been made in implementing urgent Committee requests and recommendations including the delayed implementation of key milestones with no revised timeframe being proposed, especially the moratorium on any transformation within the property, the inventory of illegal buildings and the demolition of those negatively impacting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, the approval of all relevant planning instruments, including the Management Plan, as well as other key recommendations of the 2017 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission;
  6. Notes with regret that the State Party is not regularly informing the World Heritage Centre of projects and activities being developed within the boundaries of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Notes with great concern that the State Party has expressed its intention to proceed with the original route of the Railway corridor VIII, despite the Committee’s request to consider alternative routes outside the property and outside the extension proposed by the State Party of Albania; and also with highway stretch A2 Trebeništa – Struga even though an adequate Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) has not been undertaken of the overall impact of this road on the OUV of the property, and reiterates its request to the State Party to urgently identify optimal solutions for these projects, avoiding impact on the OUV of the property and the extension proposed by the State Party of Albania;
  8. Also notes with concern that the property remains affected by inappropriate infrastructure development, excessive and inappropriate urban development and coastal exploitation, increased pollution, habitat fragmentation and destruction, heavy pressures from tourism, and extensive uncontrolled urban development and inappropriate exploitation of the coastal zones; which threaten both the natural and cultural values of the property;
  9. Also considers that given insufficient progress in addressing the above issues and in the light of continuing on-going threats and large-scale infrastructure and development projects, that the property faces potential danger, in line with Paragraphs 179-180 of the Operational Guidelines, and decides to inscribe the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (North Macedonia) on the World Heritage List in Danger;
  10. Strongly reiterates its requests to the State Party to:
    1. Establish a moratorium on any urban and coastal transformations within the property until all relevant planning documents have been finalized and adopted, effective protective regulations have been approved and effective control mechanisms established,
    2. Inventory illegal constructions, assessing their impacts on the OUV of the property through appropriate HIA and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes and proceed to demolishing all those which represent a threat to the property,
    3. Ensure strict enforcement of laws and regulations to prevent any further illegal construction,
    4. Finalize the Management Plan for the property and align all relevant planning instruments with the overall aim of protecting and sustaining the OUV of the property and submit the draft to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, prior to its finalization and adoption,
    5. Implement all other previous Committee requests and the 2017 mission recommendations;
  11. Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a proposal for the Desired State of Conservation for the Removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and a set of corrective measures, including a timeframe for their implementation, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020, based on the recommendations of the 2017 mission and considering the Committee’s request to develop a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) that comprehensively assesses the cumulative impacts of all infrastructure and development plans and other major projects on the property’s OUV;
  12. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Report year: 2019
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 (2018) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 43COM (2019)
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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