February 1 2018 is the deadline established by Decision 41 COM 7B.34 of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for the Republic of Macedonia to provide a progress report on implementation of the recommendations of the IUCN/ICOMOS/World Heritage Centre Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Ohrid region in April 2017.
Implementation of the recommendations is part of the process by which Macedonia seeks to avoid the Ohrid region, its only World Heritage Site, falling onto the List of World Heritage in Danger and possible eventual exclusion from World Heritage status.
Based on the Reactive Monitoring Mission’s suggested timescale, achievement of the following points is envisaged by February 1:
- Permanent abandonment of ski-resort plans for National Park Galichica
- Permanent abandonment of sections a and e of the proposed A3 express road in NP Galichica
- Establishment of a moratorium on coastal and urban transformation of the Ohrid region World Heritage property until relevant planning documents have been prepared, effective juridical regulations are approved and control mechanisms are in place
- Maintenance of existing national park zones
- Completion of a thorough assessment to determine a buffer zone for the World Heritage Site
- Initiation of a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Ohrid Region Management Plan 2016-2025
- Cessation of legalisation processes for illegal buildings until inventories and heritage/environmental impact assessments are completed
- Enforcement of laws to prevent illegal construction
- Inclusion of local communities and NGOs in a genuinely participative approach to World Heritage management
Given both the large potential negative consequences for the World Heritage of the Ohrid region if these measures are not adopted and in the interest of public oversight of government policy, it is essential for the Republic of Macedonia’s citizens to be informed of the contents of the February 1progress report.
Ohrid SOS is therefore expecting full, transparent provision of the report by the government of the Republic of Macedonia and formal explanation of the measures it is taking to ensure that World Heritage status for the Ohrid region is secured long into the future.
Pic: Sonja D.