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Durmitor National Park

Montenegro
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Water infrastructure (Proposed dam development on the Tara River) (issue resolved)
  • Illegal logging and hunting (issue resolved)
  • Tourism infrastructure (Ski development in the Zabljak area)
  • Boundary issues
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2019

Total amount provided to the property: USD 40,000 by UNESCO Venice Office; USD 50,000 under the Participation Programme

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 4 (from 1981-1988)
Total amount approved : 117,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2019**

1996 and 2005: joint UNESCO / IUCN missions; November 2018: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

In November 2018, the State Party invited a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission to the property to review a potential boundary modification and to assess its overall state of conservation. The mission’s findings are available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/100/documents, and can be summarized as follows:

  • The area of the Durmitor National Park was reduced in 2013 to exclude a strip between the villages of Zabljak and Provalija at the foot of the “Savin Kuk” peak due to presumed degradation of the area’s natural qualities caused by illegal constructions. The State Party plans to align the boundaries of the World Heritage property with the new boundaries of the National Park and to add a Regional Park in the south of the property as compensation;
  • Tourism development has resulted in visitation and development pressures around Black Lake as well as in the planned significant expansion of a ski-centre inside the World Heritage property, including a 6.5 km water pipeline already being built through the property to the karst lake Modro Jezero;
  • A planned upgrade of an existing transmission line on which the State Party regularly reported in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines crosses the Tara River in zone III of the National Park and represents the best possible option for minimizing impacts;
  • The construction of a highway bridge across the Tara River, located inside the Tara River Biosphere Reserve and upstream of the property, has devastated the Tara riverbed at and around the construction site. Potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are currently unclear.

In response to and based on these findings of the mission, it was decided that a report on the state of conservation of the property would be presented to the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session,  of which the State Party was informed on 26 February 2019. On 11 April 2019, the State Party provided clarifications in response to third party information on logging activities in the proximity of Black Lake, transmitted by the World Heritage Centre via letters on 25 March, and 1 April 2019. It confirmed that it initiated the revocation of the Plan of Temporary Structures for the area around Black Lake, following opposition from civil society.

As the State Party provided substantial information to the mission and in response to the correspondence, a separate State Party report was not considered necessary at this stage.

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

Regarding the planned boundary modification, the 2018 mission noted that while the area excluded from the National Park has been impacted by uncontrolled developments, it could still remain part of the property.  It should be recalled that the boundaries of the property had already been modified in 2005 to exclude the town of Zabljak. However, the 2018 mission highlighted that, despite the recommendations of the 2005 mission, this exclusion has not been compensated yet, and further exclusions from Durmitor National Park have not been halted. The 2018 mission recommended to re-consider the boundary modification proposal against the background of the 2005 mission recommendations, and to consider reinstating the boundaries of the national park to their configuration prior to the 2013 exclusion to ensure that the entire property benefits from an appropriate legal protection regime. Furthermore, the mission recommended to designate a buffer zone with the primary objective to protect the property from anthropogenic pressures, taking into account ecological and visual considerations.

The 2018 mission noted that plans are being considered for a significant expansion of the existing small-scale ski-centre located within the property that pre-dates its inscription. The mission noted with particular concern that the construction of a water pipeline had already commenced to connect the karst lake Modro Jezero to a 50,000m3 reservoir next to the ski-centre, which would be used for artificial snow generation. It is considered that an expansion of ski infrastructure developments inside the property would constitute an ascertained danger to its OUV, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to unequivocally abandon any further plans and developments of new ski infrastructure inside the property. For the pipeline, the 2018 mission recommended to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, to include consideration of the impacts on the karst flow regime, prior to any operation of the pipeline. In general, the mission recommended prioritizing a low impact tourism strategy for the property and highlighted the possibility to consult the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Regarding the transmission line crossing part of the property, it should be acknowledged that, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the State Party kept the World Heritage Centre informed about the project, outlining the reasons for choosing the currently proposed route as the best possible option in terms of minimizing impacts. It is nevertheless recommended that the Committee request the State Party to apply strict environmental safeguard standards to carefully monitor, reduce and mitigate any potential impacts during construction and maintenance works.

Regarding the bridge across the Tara River, the mission noted severe impacts on the Tara riverbed from the construction of the motorway and its access road. This is of concern since the construction site is located upstream of the property. Consequently, the mission recommended that the State Party assess and closely monitor the downstream impacts of the motorway crossing on the OUV of the property as a matter of urgency, and provide the findings to the World Heritage Centre, including a confirmation of the status of the endangered Danube salmon, which is part of the property’s OUV. An EIA should take into account all potential downstream impacts on the OUV, which should be mitigated by an Environmental Management Plan.

Regarding ongoing and planned developments around Black Lake, it is recommended to commend the State Party for swiftly initiating the revocation of the Plan of Temporary Structures around Black Lake, as this could alleviate additional pressures in an already highly frequented area.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7B.19
Durmitor National Park (Montenegro) (N 100bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.19, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),
  3. Notes the conclusions of the November 2018 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission, which reviewed a potential boundary modification and the state of conservation of the property, and encourages the State Party to implement all mission recommendations, particularly to:
    1. Re-consider the boundary modification proposal for the property so as not to propose any further exclusions from the property and to implement recommendations of the 2005 mission to compensate for areas excluded at that time,
    2. Launch a process to designate a buffer zone for the property with the primary objective to protect it from anthropogenic pressures, taking into account ecological and visual considerations;
  4. Notes with utmost concern that the area of the property excluded from Durmitor National Park in 2013 is no longer subject to a national park-level protection regime, and therefore urges the State Party to reinstate the boundaries of the National Park to their configuration prior to the 2013 exclusion to ensure the entire property is effectively protected, to not proceed with any further development plans in this zone, and to continue preventing such developments in future;
  5. Also notes with utmost concern the 2018 mission findings that plans are being considered for a significant expansion of the existing small-scale ski centre within the property, which pre-dates its inscription, and that the construction of a water pipeline from the karst lake Modro Jezero to a newly built water reservoir in the Savin Kuk ski zone has already commenced;
  6. Considers that an expansion of ski infrastructure developments inside the property would constitute an ascertained danger to the OUV of the property, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and therefore also urges the State Party to unequivocally abandon any such plans and developments, and to ensure that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the constructed water pipeline is undertaken, including impacts on the karst flow regime, in line with the IUCN Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, prior to any operation of the pipeline;
  7. Acknowledges that the State Party kept the World Heritage Centre informed about the upgrade of an existing transmission line which crosses part of the property, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and requests the State Party to apply strict environmental safeguard standards during construction and maintenance works;
  8. Noting the severe impacts on the Tara riverbed from the construction of a new motorway crossing located upstream of the property, expresses its concern about potential downstream impacts, and thus also requests the State Party to carefully assess any impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including on the endangered Danube salmon, and to submit the findings to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
  9. Also noting the pressures from increasing visitor numbers and tourism development in the property, commends the State Party for initiating the process of revoking the Plan of Temporary Structures around Black Lake, and also encourages the State Party to consult with the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre to develop a sustainable tourism management strategy for the property;
  10. Further 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 and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7B.19

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.19, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),
  3. Notes the conclusions of the November 2018 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission, which reviewed a potential boundary modification and the state of conservation of the property, and encourages the State Party to implement all mission recommendations, particularly to:
    1. Re-consider the boundary modification proposal for the property so as not to propose any further exclusions from the property and to implement recommendations of the 2005 mission to compensate for areas excluded at that time,
    2. Launch a process to designate a buffer zone for the property with the primary objective to protect it from anthropogenic pressures, taking into account ecological and visual considerations;
  4. Notes with utmost concern that the area of the property excluded from Durmitor National Park in 2013 is no longer subject to a national park-level protection regime, and therefore urges the State Party to reinstate the boundaries of the National Park to their configuration prior to the 2013 exclusion to ensure the entire property is effectively protected, to not proceed with any further development plans in this zone, and to continue preventing such developments in future;
  5. Also notes with utmost concern the 2018 mission findings that plans are being considered for a significant expansion of the existing small-scale ski centre within the property, which pre-dates its inscription, and that the construction of a water pipeline from the karst lake Modro Jezero to a newly built water reservoir in the Savin Kuk ski zone has already commenced;
  6. Considers that an expansion of ski infrastructure developments inside the property would constitute an ascertained danger to the OUV of the property, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and therefore also urges the State Party to unequivocally abandon any such plans and developments, and to ensure that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the constructed water pipeline is undertaken, including impacts on the karst flow regime, in line with the IUCN Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, prior to any operation of the pipeline;
  7. Acknowledges that the State Party kept the World Heritage Centre informed about the upgrade of an existing transmission line which crosses part of the property, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and requests the State Party to apply strict environmental safeguard standards during construction and maintenance works;
  8. Noting the severe impacts on the Tara riverbed from the construction of a new motorway crossing located upstream of the property, expresses its concern about potential downstream impacts, and thus also requests the State Party to carefully assess any impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including on the endangered Danube salmon, and to submit the findings to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
  9. Also noting the pressures from increasing visitor numbers and tourism development in the property, commends the State Party for initiating the process of revoking the Plan of Temporary Structures around Black Lake, and also encourages the State Party to consult with the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre to develop a sustainable tourism management strategy for the property;
  10. Further 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 and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.
Report year: 2019
Montenegro
Date of Inscription: 1980
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
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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