UNESCO World Heritage

The UNESCO International World Heritage Programme aims to identify, protect and conserve the natural and cultural heritage of the world that is invaluable to all of humanity. This intention of UNESCO was originally declared with the signing of an international agreement adopted in 1972 called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. So far, as many as 193 countries have ratified the Convention, making it one of the most ratified international agreements, and the World Heritage Programme one of the most recognizable of UNESCO’s programmes. https://whc.unesco.org/en/about/

UNESCO, within the World Heritage Programme, takes care of the cultural or natural assets of exceptional characteristics that would otherwise be at risk of destruction and extinction, for the sake of their conservation for future generations. This programme is managed by the World Heritage Committee, made up of 21 member states, and the composition of the Committee changes every 4 (6) years, to ensure that all signatory states are involved in the management of the Programme. https://whc.unesco.org/en/committee/ In 1992, a UNESCO World Heritage Center was established in Paris, which became the focal point of the Programme. https://whc.unesco.org/en/world-heritage-centre/

Within the World Heritage Programme a record of World Heritage Sites in the form of a World Heritage List is kept, in which sites are listed in the Cultural Heritage and Natural Heritage categories. So far, 1092 sites have been listed on the World Heritage List in the territory of 167 countries, of which 845 are World Cultural Heritage Sites, and only 209 are World Natural Heritage Sites and 38 are mixed sites that include both natural and cultural heritage. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/

In order to include the exceptional national natural and cultural characteristics in the World Heritage List, each Member State of the Programme creates the so-called tentative list including natural and cultural sites proposed to the international community for inclusion in the World Heritage List. https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/

Upon enlisting the proposal on the national tentative list, the state submits the Nomination File to the World Heritage Center for decision, detailing all facts related to the nominated site. In order to enable the equitable selection of the sites to be entered on the World Heritage List, UNESCO has defined 10 criteria, at least one of which must be fulfilled in order to designate the proposed site as the World Heritage Site. To be listed on the World Heritage List, the nominated site must possess the so-called Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) according to one of the following criteria: https://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria/

The organizations specialized in the field of conservation of natural and cultural values, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) have been delegated by the World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage Center to evaluate from the expert and scientific aspect the Nomination files and make their recommendations regarding the enlisting on the World Heritage List. https://whc.unesco.org/en/advisorybodies/ The World Heritage Committee meets once a year to vote on all nominations received during that year, as well as on any other ongoing issues related to the World Heritage sites.

By enlisting a site on the World Heritage List, the state assumes the obligation to take care of it appropriately, that is, to form or appoint a governing body that will directly take care of the site, monitor its condition and apply appropriate protection measures. The governing body should cooperate with all stakeholders, from state bodies and local authorities to non-governmental organizations, businesses and the general public concerned, in order to work together on the protection and promotion of the World Heritage as effectively as possible. The state is under an obligation to regularly submit to the World Heritage Committee reports on the state of all national sites that are on the World Heritage list, as well as on the way in which it does so, which includes reporting on the protection measures taken. https://whc.unesco.org/en/soc/ Based on these State of Conservation Reports (SOC Report), the World Heritage Committee may take some action to help resolve the urgent issues. One such measure is the enlisting of a site on the List of World Heritage in Danger. https://whc.unesco.org/en/158/

Natural resources enlisted on the tentative list of the Republic of Serbia


In 2002, at the proposal of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, the Republic of Serbia enlisted on the tentative list as many as 5 natural resources that met the criteria prescribed by the UNESCO World Heritage Programme, namely:

• Special Nature Reserve "Deliblatska peščara"
• Monument of Nature "Đavolja varoš"
• National Park "Tara" with Drina river canyon
• National Park "Đerdap"
• Nature Park "Stara planina"

Unfortunately, as the Nomination file has not been drafted to date, the World Heritage Committee has never voted on these proposals.

Ancient and primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe

In 2018, the Institute commenced intensive activities on preparing a new entry on the tentative list – the selected components of ancient and primeval beech forests proposed by the Republic of Serbia in early 2019 as an extension of the existing World Natural Heritage Site "Ancient and Primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe"- https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/6394/

Since natural and cultural phenomena do not know the state borders, in the case when they are located in the territory of several states, and for the sake of their integral protection, cross-border sites may be entered on the World Heritage List. These sites are jointly managed by two or more states. This World Heritage Site is one of 37 transboundary sites on the World Heritage List, of which 15 are in the natural heritage category and 2 are mixed. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/?&transboundary=1

If a World Heritage Site is made up of multiple spatially separated components that together form a single unit in terms of Outstanding Universal Value, it is a serial asset, which may be transboundary if the components are located in the territories of several countries.

The vast and dense Carpathian forests were nominated by Slovakia and Ukraine in 2006 as a serial transboundary site called "Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians", which was listed in 2007 on the World Heritage List in the natural heritage category, and in 2010 Germany nominated it as serial site called "Ancient Beech Forest of Germany" as an extension of the existing site "Primeval Beech Forest of the Carpathians". The World Heritage Committee listed this extension in 2011 on the World Heritage List, which changed the name of extended property to "Primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and ancient beech forests of Germany". In the designation decision, the Committee encourages states to work on the expanding of this site to ensure the survival of beech forest ecosystems in Europe for future generations, concerning the growing pressures on Europe's terrestrial ecosystems, especially those composed of the European beech (Fagus sylvatica).

The following extension of this World Heritage Site was enlisted in 2017 under the name "Ancient and primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe", which currently consists of 78 components in 12 European countries (Slovakia, Ukraine, Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and Spain). https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1133

The next extension is currently under preparation and should include the missing parts of the beech native range in Europe, its vegetation and ecosystem variations with respect to geographical location, climatic belt, altitude, environmental conditions and history of this species development on the European continent. This extension involves 10 countries that have submitted the corresponding files for the UNESCO tentative lists, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Macedonia and Montenegro.

The Republic of Serbia nominated 8 sites in the regime of protection of the first (first) degree within the national parks "Fruška Gora", "Tara" and "Kopaonik", which possess the so-called added value, that is, the representative characteristics of beech ecosystems that have not hitherto been represented by the enlisted components of this World Heritage Site. The two sites identified within the Fruška Gora National Park, Papratski do and Ravne, would represent the first components in the Pannonian region of beech forests. Within the Tara National Park there are also two sites: Zvezda, where beech builds communities with Serbian spruce (Picea omorika), the endemic and relict coniferous species, and the site of Rača river gorge where a relict beech community with Carpathian walnut (Juglans regia) occurs. Within the Kopaonik National Park, there are 4 sites: Kozije stene, Metođe, Duboka and Jelak, which are located in the gorges of Samokovska, Duboka and Brzećka rivers. These sites are characterized by a large number of stenoendemic species, as well as biodiversity and specific geological composition.