JUL 2019: The UNESCO World Heritage Centre provided a damning State of Conservation report on the condition of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region to the 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku. Here is their accompanying speech:

The SOC [State of Conservation] Report for the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region, North Macedonia, can be found in document 7B, page 83 in the English version, 85 in the French version.

The report that was submitted recalls that, on the one hand, the overall State of Conservation of the property is under threat as has been assessed by the joint Reactive Monitoring Mission in 2017, and, on the other hand, that the conclusions and recommendations from that joint Reactive Monitoring Mission have been fully endorsed and supported by the decisions of the [World Heritage] Committee both at the 40th and 41st Sessions.

Among those decisions, the Committee did actually note a lack of sufficient measures to comply with the priority recommendations of that mission within the timeframe of two years and the property would actually therefore qualify for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger in compliance with paras 178, 179 and 180 of the Operational Guidelines, being a mixed site.

And the latest report submitted by the State Party of North Macedonia does outline a few measures that have been taken and yet it also is clear that there is some delays in implementing some of the priority recommendations.

There is a rampant, large-scale urban development, inappropriate exploitation of the coastal areas, heightened pollution, fragmentation and destruction of the habitat and a lot of tourism pressure. And all of these threats mean that, for the property, its historical authenticity is being threatened and there is an alteration of the urban, rural and natural areas as well as disruption to its natural beauty. And that is why, pursuant to paras 179 and 180 of the guidelines and in accordance with the previous decisions of the Committee, the threats to the OUV [Outstanding Universal Value] are indeed firmly established.

And on the basis of that, Mr Chairman, the draft Decision recommends inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger as soon as possible and to draft as soon as possible a cluster of measures, corrective measures, and DSOCR. And so with your leave, Mr Chairman, ICOMOS and the IUCN would like to add something.

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