Posted on 06 July 2018
Logging still threatens World Heritage Site
Bratislava - At its 42nd
session in Bahrain, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee approved a decision on the lack of protection of the Slovak part of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians site. The World Heritage Committee found little progress in addressing the unfavorable situation of these forests and is concerned that the site is still insufficiently protected, with commercial logging still taking place in parts of its buffer zone. The Committee asks the Slovak government to accelerate the process of refining borders, ensuring legal protection and continuing negotiations with the owners. The government must submit a new site status report latest by 1 December 2019.
WWF-Slovakia has been highlighting the serious issues related to forest management and the incorrect delineation of boundaries due to differences between the map and text documents for the World Heritage site. Existing commercial logging threatens the integrity of the site's core zone and also improperly interferes with the buffer zone whose function should be to preserve natural processes. According to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, improper activities may also cause disturbance to the most valuable parts of the site.
The World Heritage Committee emphasized the declared commitments of Slovakia to protect the site through three new nature reserves. So far, an agreement with stakeholders has been reached for only one of the reserves, for which the proposal has still not been submitted to the government.
"The process of setting up the nature reserves should be accelerated and addressed in a comprehensive manner with all interested groups and sectors throughout the site," said Miroslava Plassmann, Country Coordinator for WWF in Slovakia. "However, it is not possible to provide sufficient protection for the entire forest area without a clear signal from the government that a non-intervention zone will be created on the state-owned land. The government can make such a commitment right now.”
"We believe the government should do everything to save this UNESCO site. We still have a chance to stop the logging, which is currently threatening the most precious parts of the forest. Otherwise, it will soon be too late, and we will lose forever this exceptional piece of World Heritage," Plassmann added.