World Heritage Watch Forum

22 JUNE  2018: Ohrid SOS has submitted a report and resolution to the World Heritage Watch Forum in order to inform UNESCO about the most pressing actions required to protect the Ohrid region from further deterioration and provide a platform for its recovery!

Ahead of the 42nd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which will meet from June 24th to July 4th 2018 in Bahrain,  the World Heritage Watch Forum is an important NGO meeting at the same location. It draws attention to both the dangers facing our planet’s most precious natural and cultural heritage and the solutions that can ensure their wellbeing.

Alongside contributing to the World Heritage Watch Report 2018, Ohrid SOS has drafted the following resolution to be discussed at the forum. Among other things, it

  • seeks an urgent upgrade to the Ohrid region sewerage system, which, according to the management company responsible for its functioning, is on the verge of collapse;
  • emphasizes the importance of the Society of Wetland Scientists’ Declaration on the Protection of the Lake Ohrid Ecosystem as the basis for wetland rehabilitation and transition to sustainable management practices;
  • requests an acceleration of processes to protect a 63.97-hectare minimum of Studenchishte Marsh and designate it together with Lake Ohrid as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance;
  • rejects the idea that the existing problems with inappropriate landfills can be solved by opening a new landfill in the Lake Ohrid watershed; and
  • reminds that Recommendation 6 of the World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN Reactive Monitoring Mission Report has not been implemented for a moratorium on urban and coastal construction despite ongoing deterioration in locations such as Struga, Lagadin and Sveti Naum.

The resolution signals that, although cancellation of the A3 express road and ski-resort that were once planned for National Park Galichica are reasons for optimism, there remain many threats that are incrementally eroding the Outstanding Universal Value of the Ohrid region, which underpins its World Heritage Status.

Pic: Kliment A.

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