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Durmitor National Park

Montenegro
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Water infrastructure (Proposed dam development on the Tara River)
  • Illegal logging and hunting (issue resolved)
  • Tourism infrastructure (Ski development in the Zabljak area)
  • Boundary issues
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

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 2021
Requests approved: 4 (from 1981-1988)
Total amount approved : 117,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

1996 and 2005: Joint UNESCO/IUCN missions; November 2018: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission; October/November 2019: Joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 1 February 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/100/documents, providing the following information:

  • The State Party has temporarily suspended all plans for a potential expansion of ski zones inside the property and had invited a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission to make recommendations and next steps, which visited the property from 31 October to 1 November 2019. The mission’s findings are available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/100/documents;
  • In response to Committee Decision 43 COM 7B.19, the government adopted a decision to change the amendments to the Special Purpose Spatial Plan for Durmitor Region (SPSP), and submitted this decision to the World Heritage Centre on 5 December 2019;
  • The same decision launched the process of defining potentially new boundaries of the property, in accordance with Decision 43 COM 7B.19 and the recommendations of the 2005 mission. Preparations and consultations for the designation of a buffer zone for the property are underway, taking into account the existing buffer zone of Durmitor National Park as a starting point;
  • The revision of a previously developed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the newly constructed water pipeline inside the property, will be conducted soon in line with the IUCN Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
  • Local communities have submitted a petition to change the route of an existing transmission line, away from settlements, as part of a planned upgrade currently being discussed by national authorities;
  • Downstream impacts from the construction of the Bar-Boljare motorway crossing Tara River are being monitored on a monthly basis. Increased water turbidity and sediment accumulation result in the depletion of fauna, which is expected to be temporary in nature. Monitoring will be continued in 2020 and will inform remediation measures;
  • It is planned to prepare an Integrated Management Plan in consultation with the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme.

On 25 May 2020, the State Party submitted additional documentation regarding the plans for a power transmission line Lastva-Pljevlja, which would cross the property, and an alternative route that is being considered, following the above-mentioned petition by local communities. IUCN provided a Technical review of the information received, which was transmitted to the State Party on 14 August 2020.

On 1 July 2020, the State Party submitted documentation about a proposed development of a five-star hotel facility within the property. The World Heritage Centre transmitted the IUCN review of this proposal on 6 October 2020.

On 6 October 2020, the World Heritage Centre requested information from the States Parties of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina about third party information it received on the planned hydroelectric power plant “Buk Bijela” located on the Drina River in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the municipality of Foca and downstream of the property.

On 16 October 2020, IUCN provided comments on a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) assessing the draft amendments to the SPSP.

On 14 December 2020, the State Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina provided information and documentation to the World Heritage Centre, which requested it on 21 December 2020 to transmit the EIA of the planned project dated 2012 in one of the working languages of the Convention for IUCN’s review.

On 15 March 2021, the World Heritage Centre transmitted IUCN’s comments to the incoming information of 14 December 2021 of the State Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The State Party of Montenegro transmitted comments to the World Heritage Centre on 26 March 2021, as presented in the analysis below.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The clear and immediate action by the State Party to address conservation issues identified by the Committee in its Decision 43 COM 7B.19 and to implement the recommendations of the 2018 mission, including reconsidering the boundary modification of Durmitor National Park under national law and the establishment of a buffer zone for the property, should be welcomed. The State Party should also be commended for launching the process of amending the SPSP and for suspending all plans for a potential expansion of ski zones inside the property until the 2019 Advisory mission provides recommendations on possible next steps.

The 2019 Advisory mission reviewed the plans for a proposed extension of the Savin Kuk ski area and concluded that it would result in likely direct impacts on natural habitats and visual impacts. The mission therefore considered that new ski areas (ski runs, lifts, etc.) should be explicitly prohibited and that this should be clearly articulated in the revised SPSP, and recommended the State Party to exclude the possibility of any encroachment of new ski lifts and ski runs and associated infrastructure in the property. The mission further recommended that any modernisation of existing ski lifts and ski runs remains within exactly the same limited area closely following the existing routes, not allowing for any expansion or extension, and that the ski lifts should be operated within the limits of the current capacity of the existing ski runs. The mission further recommended that, in light of warming climatic conditions and in order to ensure the effective conservation of the property, the State Party should consider completely phasing out the use of the Savin Kuk slopes for skiing in the long-term, and to prioritise less impactful forms of tourism within the property. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party, in line with its previous commitments, to implement the recommendations of the 2019 mission, in addition to the recommendations of the 2018 Advisory mission.

However, the draft amendments to the SPSP still foresee the possibility of expanding ski areas and infrastructures inside the property, according to a SEA assessing these amendments. This is of utmost concern, especially as the SEA concludes that such expansions would entail major and negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. The proposed five-star hotel development in the property also shows that plans for tourism developments inside the property continue to be put forward. It is recommended that the Committee reiterates its requests not to pursue with the construction of tourism infrastructure inside the property as this may have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, encouraging the State Party to develop a sustainable tourism management strategy for the property.

It is noted that the already confirmed route for an upgraded transmission line may be changed. The State Party has submitted more details on the alternative route and IUCN in its review notes that this alternative should only be accepted on the condition that negative impacts on OUV can be averted.

While it is appreciated that the State Party is monitoring the downstream impacts of the construction of the Bar-Boljare motorway, the current, reportedly temporary, impacts continue to be of concern. It is recommended that the State Party provide more specific information on any downstream impacts inside the property, and the status of key species contributing to the OUV of the property, including a confirmation of the status of the Danube Salmon, which is an important attribute of OUV.

Regarding the hydroelectric power plant project “Buk Bijela”, it is important to recall the findings of the 2005 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission concluding that the project would constitute a potential threat to the property. It is recommended that the Committee recall its Decision 29 COM 7B.21 which requested the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to fully respect the Convention, in particular Article 6.3, and not to take any action to threaten the values and integrity of a property located on the territory of another State Party to this Convention. In communication with the World Heritage Centre, the State Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed that the new “Buk Bijela” project is significantly smaller in scale, and that an EIA, conducted in 2012, concluded that there would not be any significant environmental impacts on Montenegrin territory. However, the rich fish fauna of Tara River represents an attribute of OUV of the property and includes the migratory Danube Salmon (Hucho hucho), which is threatened by dam constructions and which is endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to request the State Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina to assess any potential impacts on the OUV of the property in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and in cooperation with the State Party of Montenegro. This update of the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) should subsequently be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN.

Finally, it is welcomed that the State Party has started the process of establishing a buffer zone for the property, reconsidering the boundary modification of the National Park in line with the recommendations of the 2005 mission, and the property’s management to favour sustainable tourism, which is consistent with the recommendations of the 2018 mission. The State Party’s systematic and regular consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN is much appreciated.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.104
Durmitor National Park (Montenegro) (N 100bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.19, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes that the State Party has started implementing the recommendations of the 2018 mission, including reorienting the property’s management to favour sustainable tourism and reconsidering the proposed boundary modification in line with the recommendations of the 2005 and 2018 missions, as well as the process of establishing a buffer zone for the property;
  4. Requests the State Party to further consult with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN before enacting any revision of the boundaries of the National Park under national law as well as on the proposed buffer zone for the property;
  5. Also recalling that an expansion of ski infrastructure developments inside the property would constitute an ascertained danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, also welcomes the State Party’s decision to suspend all plans for a potential expansion of ski zones inside the property until the 2019 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission provides recommendations on possible next steps;
  6. Takes note of the conclusions of the 2019 Advisory mission that the proposed expansion of the Savin Kuk ski area inside the property would represent a serious conservation issue resulting in likely direct impacts on natural habitats and visual impacts on the property, also requests the State Party to implement all mission recommendations, jointly with the recommendations of the 2018 mission, in particular not to expand the Savin Kuk ski zone in terms of scope and capacity, prohibiting new ski runs and lifts and ensuring that any modernisation of existing ski lifts remains within exactly the same limited area closely following the existing routes;
  7. Notes with utmost concern, however, that the proposed amendments to the Spatial Plan for Durmitor National Park still foresee the possibility of expanding ski areas and infrastructures inside the property and that further tourism infrastructure developments within the property are continuing to be considered, and therefore, reiterates its request not to pursue with the construction of tourism infrastructure inside the property as this might have a negative impact on its OUV, and to develop a sustainable tourism management strategy for the property in line with the recommendations of the 2018 and 2019 missions;
  8. Appreciates that the State Party continuously monitors downstream impacts of the construction of the Bar-Boljare motorway, but notes with concern the negative impacts on the Tara river, and requests furthermore the State Party to confirm the status of key species contributing to OUV, including the status of the Danube Salmon, and any other downstream impacts precipitating inside the property;
  9. Further recalling its Decision 29 COM 7B.21 and the conclusion of the 2005 Reactive Monitoring mission that the hydroelectric power plant project “Buk Bijela” would constitute a potential threat to the property, expresses its concern about the revival of the project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, though at a significantly smaller scale, and potential negative impacts on attributes of OUV of the property, such as the rich fish fauna of Tara River, including the endangered Danube Salmon, and therefore, requests moreover the State Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina to assess jointly with the State Party of Montenegro any potential impacts on the OUV of the property and to submit an updated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.104

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.19, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes that the State Party has started implementing the recommendations of the 2018 mission, including reorienting the property’s management to favour sustainable tourism and reconsidering the proposed boundary modification in line with the recommendations of the 2005 and 2018 missions, as well as the process of establishing a buffer zone for the property;
  4. Requests the State Party to further consult with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN before enacting any revision of the boundaries of the National Park under national law as well as on the proposed buffer zone for the property;
  5. Also recalling that an expansion of ski infrastructure developments inside the property would constitute an ascertained danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, also welcomes the State Party’s decision to suspend all plans for a potential expansion of ski zones inside the property until the 2019 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Advisory mission provides recommendations on possible next steps;
  6. Takes note of the conclusions of the 2019 Advisory mission that the proposed expansion of the Savin Kuk ski area inside the property would represent a serious conservation issue resulting in likely direct impacts on natural habitats and visual impacts on the property, also requests the State Party to implement all mission recommendations, jointly with the recommendations of the 2018 mission, in particular not to expand the Savin Kuk ski zone in terms of scope and capacity, prohibiting new ski runs and lifts and ensuring that any modernisation of existing ski lifts remains within exactly the same limited area closely following the existing routes;
  7. Notes with utmost concern, however, that the proposed amendments to the Spatial Plan for Durmitor National Park still foresee the possibility of expanding ski areas and infrastructures inside the property and that further tourism infrastructure developments within the property are continuing to be considered, and therefore, reiterates its request not to pursue with the construction of tourism infrastructure inside the property as this might have a negative impact on its OUV, and to develop a sustainable tourism management strategy for the property in line with the recommendations of the 2018 and 2019 missions;
  8. Appreciates that the State Party continuously monitors downstream impacts of the construction of the Bar-Boljare motorway, but notes with concern the negative impacts on the Tara river, and requests furthermore the State Party to confirm the status of key species contributing to OUV, including the status of the Danube Salmon, and any other downstream impacts precipitating inside the property;
  9. Further recalling its Decision 29 COM 7B.21 and the conclusion of the 2005 Reactive Monitoring mission that the hydroelectric power plant project “Buk Bijela” would constitute a potential threat to the property, expresses its concern about the revival of the project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, though at a significantly smaller scale, and potential negative impacts on attributes of OUV of the property, such as the rich fish fauna of Tara River, including the endangered Danube Salmon, and therefore, requests moreover the State Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina to assess jointly with the State Party of Montenegro any potential impacts on the OUV of the property and to submit an updated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment to the World Heritage Centre, for review by IUCN;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session in 2023.
Report year: 2021
Montenegro
Date of Inscription: 1980
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2020) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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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