Ohrid SOS Authored Docs

Ohrid SOS often compiles reports, publishes papers and releases vision documents with solutions to the many problems that face the Ohrid-Prespa region. Below is a selection of those that are publicly available.


Барања на Граѓанската иницијатива Охрид ЅОЅ до Националната комисија за УНЕСКО доставени по барање на претседателката на Комисијата и министерка за култура, Бисера Костадиновска – Стојчевска, во насока на преземање конкретни чекори за унапредување на состојбата на светското наследство на Охридскиот Регион.

Everything is Dead (and Other Lame Excuses) describes, with reference to several international conventions, exactly why the Macedonian government’s current protected area design for Studenchishte Marsh, one of the most important wetlands in the world, is a lie.


World Heritage on the Edge IV: Everything Changes the Same is Ohrid SOS’s fourth comprehensive report into the condition of the Ohrid Region UNESCO site. Alongside the series’ usual focus on threats from habitat loss and construction, hydroelectric dam operations, trash, substandard fishery management, and wastewater during 2020 and early 2021, this year’s report also examines how deficiencies in protected area plans at the national level will form a smokescreen for continued pressures unless they are upgraded and features an entire chapter on the alarming state of Lake Prespa, source for 20% of Lake Ohrid’s water. The report also examines the deterioration of cultural heritage and institutional intransigence more deeply than SOS has ever explored before, and reveals how World Heritage Committee decisions and recommendations from the IUCN, ICOMOS and World Heritage Centre are not being sufficiently implemented.

Death by a Thousand Cuts is the Ohrid SOS contribution to World Heritage Watch’s annual compendium of case studies on the state of UNESCO sites around the world. Lake Prespa, climate change, the questionable legality of constructions in Ohrid City’s old town, institutional obstruction, and shrunken promises for Studenchishte Marsh protection are discussed in a short article aimed at the World Heritage Committee.


World Heritage on the Edge III: Another Brick in the Wall was submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, IUCN and ICOMOS documenting Macedonian state non-fulfillment of a 2019 decision from the World Heritage Committee and an associated 2017 Reactive Monitoring Mission Report. The document details the chronic inadequacy of national and local leadership and institutions to cease ongoing destruction and deterioration or to deal with threats to Ohrid Region World Heritage. Misrepresentation of achievement by the Republic of Macedonia’s authorities is a noteworthy feature, along with instances of flagrant disregard for UNESCO status.

The World Heritage Committee and Ohrid Region Destruction: Silent Witness or Passive Accomplice? In 2019, the World Heritage Committee ignored its own advisory bodies in a manner that not gave cover to serious degradation of the Ohrid Region, but also enabled authorities to continue acting with impunity. The result was yet more construction, not all of it legal, while the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and ICOMOS were rendered powerless.


Прирачник за правна самопомош и активизам во област животна средина наменет за млади активисти и почетници – изработен од Здружението за заштита на животните и животната средина ЕДЕН и Граѓанската иницијатива Охрид ЅОЅ како дел од проектот Power to the People, финансиски поддржан од Фондацијата Хајнрих Бел. Прирачникот е концизен и наменет да служи како основно помагало за младите активисти и граѓаните воопшто во остварување на елементарните граѓански права, во него се дадени упатства и насоки и изобилува со бројни примери од искуството на Граѓанската иницијатива Охрид ЅОЅ.

World Heritage on the Edge II: Engine of Neglect was submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, World Heritage Committee members and the IUCN, documenting illegal construction, pollution, development plans for the Ohrid region, the obsoleteness of Strategic Environmental Assessments, and institutional obstruction to heritage protection, particularly in reference to the Ramsar Convention. It blows apart various misrepresentations submitted to UNESCO by the Republic of Macedonia’s government during state reports from 2018. These can be found here.

Heritage Dammed partners Ohrid SOS with NGOs and experts from all over the world to discuss the impact of hydropower on World Heritage Sites. Our contribution documents how broken rivers and bouncing water levels have brought disease and death to Lake Ohrid’s ecosystems since the 1960s.

Where Concrete Rises and Waters Fall contributes to the World Heritage Watch analysis of UNESCO sites around the world, explaining some of the reasons why the Ohrid region is a candidate for a place on the List of World Heritage in Danger.


36 Views of Lake Ohrid is inspired by Japanese woodblock painting and tells the natural and human history of the Ohrid region through 36 images submitted by members of the public.

Socio-ecological trajectory of the Republic of Macedonia: Status, trends and recommendations: Published in Balkania, this paper summarizes Macedonia’s natural wealth and overviews how and why ecosystem services are declining from a variety of social/political perspectives.

Lake Ohrid Post-Reactive Monitoring, Progress and Stagnation: In July 2017, UNESCO made various requests to the Macedonian government regarding the Ohrid region. Some were implemented; some not. SOS provided a breakdown for World Heritage Watch.

Vision for the Protection, Revitalization and Tourism Integration of Studenchishte Marsh, Lake Ohrid’s Vital Coastline Wetland:  Ohrid SOS has developed a preliminary plan to develop an open-sky boardwalk museum at Studenchishte Marsh to establish both meaningful protection and nature tourism offer in the Ohrid region.


Review of Project Proposals for the Ohrid Region and Possibilities for Sustainable Development: (MK only) That a ski-resort, new-build road and multiple shoreline developments would incomparably benefit the Ohrid region socially and economically was stated without clear evidence from the Republic of Macedonia’s government. Ohrid SOS analyzes these claims incorporating factors like loss of ecosystem services, traffic, climate change, foregone UNESCO status, and opportunity costs.

Platform for a Green and Modern Ohrid (MK only) was released just prior to local elections to provide candidates from all parties with ideas to improve life quality for humans, flora and fauna all.

Ohrid Lake: World Cultural and Natural Heritage in Peril: World Heritage Watch produces an annual report from NGOs across the world, who monitor the status of Earth’s most valued protected areas. This is the SOS contribution.

Ohrid-Prespa Region at the Crossroads Between Blueness and Greyness: (MK only) Prof. Dr. Trajce Talevski of the Ohrid Hydrobiological Institute describes the impact on the biodiversity of Macedonia’s national park mountain and ancient lakes if proposed mega-projects are implemented.

Analysis of the Legal Framework for the Protection of National Park Galichica: (MK only) Danco Nikolovski investigates how well legislation is structured to ensure conservation of some of the Ohrid-Prespa region’s most important natural values.

World Heritage on the Edge provided a stack of evidence to the World Heritage Centre, IUCN and ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Ohrid region that current practice is severely undermining UNESCO status. 19 recommendations from the mission followed, many of which confirmed Ohrid SOS’s concerns.

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