Lake Ohrid that straddles the border between Albania and North Macedonia has managed to avoid inclusion on UNESCO’s endangered world heritage site list, for now.
The World Heritage Committee, which is currently in session until the end of the month in China, has decided to give the two countries another two years to save the region. This includes implementing recommendations to improve conservation and to prevent illegal construction.
The two countries have until February 2023 to submit a report on the state of conservation of the region. It must also include progress with regard to UNESCO’s previous recommendations.
The Lake and its surroundings have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list due to its unique animal and plant life and significant historical and archaeological values. These include prehistoric ruins and Byzantine architecture.
The Macedonian side was added to the list in 1979 with Albania’s side joining 40 years later.
But the status came under threat due to “inappropriate conservation, reconstruction, and development” and what it referred to as “conflicting priorities”.
The Albanian city of Gjirokaster was also on the agenda. The Committee has adopted a resolution on the Gjirokaster bypass, in particular, asking the government to halt works immediately and to invite a monitoring mission. They raised concerns about the ongoing works around the castle.