Monday, June 12, 2017

UNESCO mission recommends halting the construction projects of the Galičica ski resort

From 9 to 14 April 2017, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission visited the World Heritage property of Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The report with findings from this mission is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/99/documents/.

The mission discussed with the authorities the overall state of conservation of the property and provided technical assistance on the scope and development of a SEA, which should comprehensively assess the potential individual and cumulative impacts of all above-mentioned projects on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property.

The 2017 mission concluded that some of the proposals for large-scale infrastructure and construction projects, such as sub-sections (a) and (e) of the A3 road and the Galičica ski resort within the property could lead to irreversible changes to the property, in combination with the developments and transformations that have already occurred in the urban settlements and lakeshore since its inscription. The mission strongly recommended to completely abandon the Galičica ski centre project, keep the internal national park zoning as is, and consider developing ecotourism options that would not negatively impact the property.

Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to halt the construction projects of the Galičica ski resort, as well as the sub-sections (a) and (e) of the A3 road. It is also recommended that the Committee reminds the State Party that all projects including those submitted to major donors such as the European Union which may have potential negative impacts on the OUV of the property, should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. 

Considering the level of threats to the property, the mission identified a set of recommendations, some of which need to be prioritized and fulfilled over the next two years, in addition to those adopted in 2016 that still need to be fulfilled. The findings of the mission suggest that the overall state of conservation can be considered as vulnerable, and if the priority recommendations are not implemented within the suggested two-year time frame (i.e. in 2019), the property may meet the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2018, a progress report on the implementation of these priority recommendations for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies. If in their assessment insufficient progress is being made, the property will be examined by the Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.

http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2017/whc17-41com-7BAdd-en.pdf

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