GOVERNANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY ISSUE BRIEF SERIES MARCH 2018
Bulgarian Heritage Governance – Assessing Structures and Processes Affecting World Heritage Sites by Eike T. Schmedt
Introduction Since its adoption in 1972, the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, commonly known as World Heritage Convention (WHC), has allowed for the protection of over 1,000 individual sites in 165 countries. It is arguably one of the most important multilateral agreements for the protection of heritage sites due to its wide scope and recognition.1 To ensure the protection of these World Heritage Sites, multiple monitoring and evaluation mechanisms have been established. One of these mechanisms is the periodic reporting requirement that assesses all World Heritage Sites and the performance of their respective countries through a standardized system. The World Heritage Center designates the system and questioner,2 but the reports are filled out by the individual states and site managers. Separated into two sections, the first section of the reporting system focuses on the national level, the implementation of the convention and the overall national World Heritage System. The second section revolves around the assessment of the individual World Heritage Sites, which is the focus of this analysis. Here, the responsible organizations or entities, which can vary from federal ministries to local management institutions, are expected to answer questions on a range of issues from environmental and infrastructure impacts, to the site’s financial and legislative situation. The reporting also includes governance-related aspects that assess the work of governing bodies and the existing support and influence of external organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Unfortunately, the vast amount of information within these reports is currently not utilized to its full extent
These reports offer scholars from numerous disciplines the opportunity to assess various aspects concerning the protection of the world’s most valuable heritage sites on a large scale.
Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Churches_of_Ivanovo_S.jpg
CENTER FOR GOVERNANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY JOHN W. McCORMACK GRADUATE SCHOOL OF POLICY AND GLOBAL STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON www.umb.edu/cgs
by researchers. These reports offer scholars from numerous disciplines the opportunity to assess various aspects concerning the protection of the worldâ€™s most valuable heritage sites on a large scale.
Governance in this study is understood following the multi-level-governance-system [translation from German] approach of Thomas M. Schmitt in his publication on cultural governance in the World Heritage Regime.5 Schmitt distributes actors in the World Heritage System along two lines. On one hand, he uses the vertical distribution of actors to account for the differences along global, national, and local/regional lines. These three categories are further divided along a horizontal distribution that accounts for the possibility of multiple actors working and interacting on the same level. Following this framework, the global level includes organizations such as UNESCO or the Advisory Bodies as well as internationally organized nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The national level focuses primarily on governmental institutions but adds interest groups and organizations with a working area that reaches beyond one individual site. This category includes environmental organizations that work on all natural sites within a country. Finally, the local/ regional level concentrates on local or regional governmental institutions as well as organizations and individuals that focus their work and influence on one particular World Heritage Site within the Bulgarian World Heritage System. For this case study, this means that the periodic reports will be assessed on the
This Issue Brief is a small part of this attempt to utilize the information compiled in these reports. The primary focus is put on governance-related aspects within the reports, based on the case study of the Bulgarian World Heritage System. Bulgaria was selected as a case study due to its diversity of World Heritage Sites and a combination of natural and cultural sites that reflects the overall World Heritage List.3 The article examines three main points. First, the reports are assessed in terms of what information is available in respect to the governance processes of World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria. Second, it asks whether this information reflects the overall state of the individual site and its protection, and whether it can be used to assess the adequacy of existing protection efforts. While these two sections focus on internal governance matters pertinent to the Bulgarian World Heritage System, the final section concentrates on the evaluation of possible external influences on this system from organizations such as UNESCO or the conventionâ€™s Advisory Bodies.4
Total coded questions 184
Global level 3
E.g.: Impact of World Heritage status on international cooperation
National level 28
E.g.: Adequate legal framework to maintain Outstanding Universal Value as well as Integrity and/or Authenticity
Regional/local level 33
E.g.: Existence of a management system
Overlapping questions 12
E.g.: Availability of professionals for conservation
Governance-related questions 76
Figure 1: Overview of the number of questions included in analysis sections with examples of questions.
Not one of the Bulgarian World Heritage Sites included local communities or staff and managers from other World Heritage Sites in the preparation of their respective reports....It shows a lack of the implementation of some of the Strategic Objectives, set by the World Heritage Committee in the Budapest Declaration in 2002. Periodic Reporting and Implications on Multi-Level Governance
basis of global, national, and regional/local governance lines, while allowing each of these levels also to be analyzed and evaluated separately.
As noted, the basis of this analysis is represented by a coding matrix composed of 184 individual questions that were transferred into individual data points. Out of these 184 data points, 76 were identified as being related to governance aspects. All questions identified here had to display a direct connection to an organization, institution, or group that is of importance for the sitesâ€™ protection from a governance perspective. Questions directly related to adequate legal frameworks and the cooperation of different parties such as site managers and local communities are also included. Within these questions, 3 points were linked to the global level, 28 to the national level, and 33 to the regional/local level. The remaining 12 data points were not clearly linked to one specific level and could be assigned to more than one level.
To utilize the information in the reports to its full extent, the individual reports and their primarily ordinal variables were transformed into a coding matrix that assigned a score between 0 and 5 to each of the questions. This scale was chosen as the reports had a maximum of five options to answer each question. Through this scoring system, the author was able to create an overview of structures and processes that impact different sites and a measurement of how well they were addressed. Furthermore, it allowed for a comprehensive summary of the overall perceived situation of the site through a total score, which included 184 individual questions. All Bulgarian reports were submitted to UNESCO in 2014, which establishes this year as the point of reference for this analysis. It is important to note that these scores represent a self-evaluation of a site that has been carried out by site managers and their staff or government institutions (in some cases, these are one and the same). Hence, this article does not claim to reflect the actual situation of a site and its protective efforts, but rather it illustrates how the situation is being perceived by the entities preparing the reports.
This distribution reflects the intention of the second section of the reporting system, as it focuses on the local level and individual World Heritage Sites. Still, a significant number of questions are also related to the national level, which supports the notion that national institutions have a significant impact on each individual site as well. It should be noted, however, that
Overview of the Bulgarian World Heritage Sites. Map created by Eike Schmedt.
only three of the coded questions are directly linked to the global level. It could be argued, that this concern about the influence of the global level on the individual sites reflects a limited consideration of such aspects as being relevant by the authors of the periodic reporting (the World Heritage Center in Paris). However, global organizations such as the Advisory Bodies have a direct and considerable impact on individual sites and need to be taken into consideration.6 Nevertheless, there is no indicator within the reporting system that would assess the impact of recommendations from the Advisory Bodies or the World Heritage Center itself.
hierarchical structure, in which each site communicates with its respective governmental ministry, without allowing for input from other organizations or even similar sites. While this should not necessarily be seen as a negative aspect, it shows a lack of the implementation of some of the Strategic Objectives set by the World Heritage Committee in the Budapest Declaration in 2002.7 Most notably, the importance of communication and community involvement within these objectives appears to be grossly overlooked. However, further research beyond the periodic reports would be necessary to evaluate the full extent to which the Bulgarian World Heritage System follows or does not follow these objectives.
Furthermore, as most recommendations, decisions, and legislative actions adopted by the World Heritage Committee or any other decision-making body on the global level must be transferred to and implemented by national authorities, an additional perspective emerges regarding why so few questions relate to the global level. In this sense, national institutions must be understood as a transitional level, which translates international agreements and decisions into guidelines and legal frameworks applicable to the individual sites. Subsequently, the national level fulfills two functions and should be seen as the central element of the overarching World Heritage System, given that national institutions not only implement their own strategies and principles but are also responsible for translating global guidelines into nationally implemented frameworks. Hence, the analysis of the Bulgarian World Heritage System will pay particular attention to this national level and its impact on the individual sites.
To offer a more concrete overview of the relationship of the different governance levels to the overall situation of individual sites, Figure 2 displays the indicators for each site on the previously described scale. This illustration shows that neither one of the governance indicators continuously reflects the overall situation at the sites as shown by their differences to the total score. Hence, the evaluation of governance efforts through this analysis of the periodic reports cannot be utilized as a determinant to assess the adequacy of protection offered to a given site. Interestingly, in all but one case (the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak), the local governance indicator has a higher result than the overall score of the site. This indicates that the local governance aspects within the Bulgarian World Heritage System are in general one of the most positive elements of each site. Both national and global governance-level indicators do not follow any such generalizable distribution and instead are dispersed unevenly across the nine Bulgarian sites. In addition, the global and national levels have a higher dispersion of scores with 1 and 1.43 points respectively between the highest and lowest ranking scores amongst all sites. When compared to the 0.99 dispersion at the local level and 0.63 for the overlapping indicator, the national level stands out. This is mainly due to the previously described hierarchical structure and limited national authorities that constitute the Bulgarian World Heritage System. In other words, the national level of the Bulgarian World Heritage System does not have a consistent positive or negative impact on the individual sites, but it varies drastically from site to site. Particularly, as only two ministries constitute this national governance level, similar results would be expected if coherent and overarching strategies would be implemented across sites. As this is not the case, it is evident that such comprehensive strategies for the overall World Heritage System in Bulgaria are currently nonexistent or not appropriately implemented.
Relation of governance to overall state of the site In addition to the vertical governance distribution, Schmitt also allows for the existence of multiple institutions along vertical lines on each of these levels. In other words, the national level within the World Heritage System is not represented by just one governmental department or institution in each country but by a multitude of organizations and governmental branches, which have an influence on the diverse sites within a country. However, in the case of Bulgaria, only the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Environment and Water have any authority that reaches beyond one site. Neither the periodic reports nor any other sources have displayed any influence of organizations beyond these two governmental ministries. Furthermore, each of the reports indicated that the report itself was prepared through the cooperation of individual site staff and management and the respective governmental ministry mentioned above. Only four sites (including both natural sites) included even one additional organization or individual in the preparation. Most prominently, the Srebarna Nature Reserve, Pirin National Park, and Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak included external experts in the preparation of the report. Interestingly, not one of the Bulgarian World Heritage Sites included local communities or staff and managers from other World Heritage Sites in the preparation of their respective reports. This suggests that the Bulgarian World Heritage System follows a rather
It has to be taken into consideration, however, that there is one outlier amongst the sites, without which the dispersion would shrink to 0.75. This exception is again the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, which scored high on each level. The question as to why this specific site consistently scores high among all levels can only be partially answered in this research and would need a specific case study approach. Nevertheless, there are indicators that highlight the special status of the tomb. Most
The lack of support for sites after they have been inscribed should not simply be attributed to the Advisory Bodies, but must include considerations of how these organizations themselves are being enabled to carry out their missions by the World Heritage Committee. important, the site itself is fully encased by another building to protect it from outside impacts, and tourists do not visit the actual tomb; they visit an identical replica that was constructed next to the original. Even though this appears as more of a conservation rather than a governance-related issue, it exemplifies the unique status of this site not just within the Bulgarian World Heritage System but within the global system, too. Very few sites in the world, and none in the Bulgarian World Heritage System, receive such an extensive protective strategy that ensures its safeguarding. Such protective efforts require large amounts of financial and personnel resources and display an extraordinary concern for the individual sites. Hence, the continuously high performance of the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak in this analysis in combination with its unique protective strategy highlights the special status within the Bulgarian World Heritage System that is worth exploring in future research.
negative ways. The reports identify such elements as predominantly related to environmental impacts or infrastructural development, which are two of the most prevalent negative issues that impact natural World Heritage Sites in general.8 While there is still room for improvement in these particular cases on each governance level, it appears that addressing other issues that have a more negative effect is more important for the overall situation and protection of the site.
External governance structures and processes impacting the Bulgarian Heritage System Only a very few questions of the periodic reports that were included in the coding process actually relate to governance on the global level. However, there are some additional questions in the reports, which were asked specifically about the role of organizations such as UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies, which were not possible to code and were, therefore, excluded from the indicators in Figure 2. Nevertheless, these questions give an interesting insight into the roles these international organizations play and how cooperation with them is perceived by the sites. Overall, UNESCO received good and very good reviews from all Bulgarian World Heritage Sites. Furthermore, both
Furthermore, only two sites have a distribution of indicators, which has the overall score in the last place. Interestingly, these are the two natural sites of the Pirin National Park and the Srebarna Nature Reserve. This distribution indicates that while the governance elements of the sites might be mostly positive, numerous additional aspects influence the sites in more
Figure 2: Overview of individual indicators at each Bulgarian World Heritage Site based on reports from 2014.
projects that attempt to assess the role of organizations within the system. The reports of the Bulgarian World Heritage Sites in combination with the perceived insufficient support from the Advisory Bodies of cultural sites, further display an urgent need for detailed evaluations of such organizations within the World Heritage System. Furthermore, a conversation within the World Heritage System is needed to address the primary role of the Advisory Bodies. Financial support in particular should be discussed. To be more exact, serious consideration is needed on the question of whether Advisory Bodies should focus more on the evaluation of new nominations and assisting the counties looking to inscribe new sites, or should they focus their efforts on the support of existing sites and ensuring their protection and conservation for future generations?
Conclusion The analysis of governance structures and processes within the periodic reporting system for World Heritage Sites has shown various aspects that can be utilized to understand the interaction and role of different governance levels and entities within the World Heritage System. In addition, it provided an overview of the reporting structure and inclusion of governancerelated aspects. The case study of the Bulgarian World Heritage Sites has also shown that governance indicators within the reporting system cannot be used as a determinant for the overall situation at different sites. In other words, a good governance system does not automatically result in a positive standing at a site, and a low-scoring governance system does not inevitably reflect an overall negative standing at a site.
Pirin National Park. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fish_ Banderishko_lake,_Pirin_National_Park_11.JPG
natural sites (Pirin National Park and Srebarna Nature Reserve) perceived the cooperation with their Advisory Body (IUCN) to be very good as well. This is in clear contrast to the cultural sites. Not one of the seven cultural sites gave their Advisory Bodies (ICOMOS and ICCROM) a good review for their support in the preparation of the periodic reports. To the contrary, all sites ranked the support as poor or fair or did not even give any grade, while providing UNESCO with a very good review. While there are no direct reasons given in the reports that would explain these differences, several scholars have highlighted the differences between the Advisory Bodies and their work. One such significant difference is the fundamental financial gap that exists between IUCN and the cultural Advisory Bodies, in particular ICOMOS.9 Paired with the current distribution of sites on the World Heritage List,10 it is apparent that the cultural Advisory Bodies are stretched very thin in terms of their financial and personnel capabilities to offer satisfactory support to sites in their periodic report preparations. This is further enhanced by the fact that the funding for post-inscription measures such as monitoring missions only accounted for 20% of the World Heritage Fund in 2014, while 80% was spent on pre-inscription evaluation of potential future World Heritage Sites.11 Hence, the lack of support for sites after they have been inscribed should not simply be attributed to the Advisory Bodies, but must include considerations of how these organizations themselves are being enabled to carry out their missions by the World Heritage Committee. Additional aspects, such as the different understandings of heritage and diverging approaches to supporting sites12 are more difficult to pinpoint as they vary drastically between countries, organizations, and interest groups. Each of these parties involved in the World Heritage System can have its own understandings or interpretations of strategies or heritage elements. As a result, an in-depth examination of such different understandings from the involved entities is required for future research
This initial analysis has shown that there are noteworthy differences between the protection and governance efforts at cultural and natural sites. Not only do natural sites appear to receive more support from their respective Advisory Bodies, they also face more severe pressures from areas which are not directly related to any level of governance such as environmental impacts and human development. Further analyses in this area would be necessary, however, to assess the differences more conclusively and on a larger scale. Furthermore, the lack of questions within the reports regarding recommendations of the Advisory Bodies gives credence to the notion that there is an existing gap between the sites and international organizations which oversee them. Additionally, this analysis indicates a rather hierarchical structure within the Bulgarian World Heritage System, which does not facilitate cooperation between sites and involved organizations, but instead focuses attention on the stringent authority of national ministries. The apparent lack of communication between sites and the inclusion of surrounding communities in protective and managerial efforts are the most prevalent areas that could be improved upon. Nevertheless, while there are areas on the national as well as regional and site-based levels that could be developed and improved, the reports indicate that the overall situation at the Bulgarian World Heritage Sites appears sufficient to ensure the sitesâ€™ protection and conservation for future generations.
Acknowledgment This project was made possible by Rob Goodwin and the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Mr. Goodwin’s contribution allowed this project to take the first step in a coherent assessment of the Bulgarian World Heritage Sites, which will hopefully contribute to the ongoing protection and conservation efforts. Therefore, the author would like to thank him and express his sincerest gratitude.
Endnotes Albert, Marie-Theres and Birgitta Ringbeck. 40 Years World Heritage Convention. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2015.
The World Heritage Center is the administrative body to the convention and is based in Paris, France.
Bulgaria currently has nine sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. Two of these are natural sites while the remaining seven have been inscribed for their cultural values. As there are currently about four cultural sites for every natural site on the World Heritage List, Bulgaria almost perfectly represents this distribution and therefore makes an excellent case. (UNESCO, 2016, The World Heritage List. http://whc.unesco.org/ en/list/).
“The Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee are ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), and IUCN – the International Union for Conservation of Nature.” (UNESCO, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2013, para. 30).
Schmitt, Thomas M. Cultural Governance: Zur Kulturgeographie des UNESCO-Welterberegimes. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2011.
Logan, William. “Globalizing heritage: world heritage as a manifestation of modernism and the challenge from the periphery.” 20th century heritage: our recent cultural legacy: proceedings of the Australia ICOMOS National Conference 2001, 28 November–1 December 2001, Adelaide, the University of Adelaide, Australia. Adelaide: University of Adelaide, 2001: 51–57.
The Strategic Objectives, also known as the 5Cs, are a set of five individual aspects, which were adopted to promote the sustainable and balanced representation of the world’s heritage on the conventions list and ensure their protection for future generations. The initial 4Cs, Credibility, Conservation, Capacity-building, and Communication were expanded on in 2007 by the inclusion of Communities as the fifth objective. See Albert, Marie.-Theres. “Perspectives of World Heritage: towards future-oriented strategies with the five ’Cs’.” World Heritage Papers 31. Community development through World Heritage, edited by Marie-Theres Albert, Marielle Richon, Marie Jose Vinals, Andrea Witcomb, 32-38. Paris: UNESCO, 2012.
Milne, Robert C. “World Heritage and World Parks Congress Perspectives, 1962–2003.” World Heritage at the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress edited by Marc Patry, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 15–22. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2005; UNECSO. “World Heritage in Danger.” Accessed August 23, 2017 http://whc.unesco.org/en/158/.
Meskell, Lynn. “UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention at 40: Challenging the Economic and Political Order of International Heritage Conservation.” Current Anthropology, 54, no. 4 (2013): 483–494.
Of the current 1,052 World Heritage Sites on the conventions list, 814 sites have a cultural designation, 203 are inscribed for their natural features, and 35 combine attributes of both aspects and are declared as mixed sites. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/.
UNESCO. Summary of the “The World Heritage Convention: Thinking Ahead” meeting between the Director-General of UNESCO, the Chairperson of the 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee, States Parties to the World Heritage Convention and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee. Paris: 2015.
Schmitt, Thomas M. “Global cultural governance. Decision-making concerning world heritage between politics and science.” ERDKUNDE, 63, no. 2 (2009): 103–121.
References Albert, Marie-Theres. “Perspectives of World Heritage: towards future-oriented strategies with the five ’Cs’.” World Heritage Papers 31. Community development through World Heritage, edited by Marie-Theres Albert, Marielle Richon, Marie José Viñals, Andrea Witcomb, 32–38. Paris: UNESCO, 2012. Albert, Marie-Theres and Birgitta Ringbeck. 40 Years World Heritage Convention. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2015. Logan, William. “Globalizing heritage: world heritage as a manifestation of modernism and the challenge from the periphery.” 20th century heritage: our recent cultural legacy: proceedings of the Australia ICOMOS National Conference 2001, 28 November–1 December 2001, Adelaide, the University of Adelaide, Australia (2001): 51–57. Meskell, Lynn. “UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention at 40: Challenging the Economic and Political Order of International Heritage Conservation.” Current Anthropology, 54, no. 4 (2013): 483–494. Milne, Robert C. “World Heritage and World Parks Congress Perspectives, 1962–2003.” World Heritage at the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress edited by Marc Patry, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 15–22. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2005. Schmitt, Thomas M. Cultural Governance: Zur Kulturgeographie des UNESCO-Welterberegimes. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2011. Schmitt, Thomas M. “Global cultural governance. Decision-making concerning world heritage between politics and science.” ERDKUNDE, 63, no. 2 (2009): 103–121. UNESCO. Summary of the “The World Heritage Convention: Thinking Ahead” meeting between the Director-General of UNESCO, the Chairperson of the 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee, States Parties to the World Heritage Convention and the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee. Paris, 2015. UNECSO. “World Heritage in Danger.” Accessed August 23, 2017 http://whc.unesco.org/en/158/.
Citation information Please use the following citation for this brief: Schmedt, Eike T. (2018). â€œBulgarian Heritage Governance - Assessing Structures and Processes Affecting World Heritage Sites.â€? Governance and Sustainability Issue Brief Series: Brief 14. Center for Governance and Sustainability. University of Massachusetts Boston.
Center for Governance and Sustainability The Center for Governance and Sustainability seeks to bring academic rigor to real-world policy challenges in environment, development, and sustainability governance. It serves as information hub, brutal analyst, and honest broker among scholars, students and practitioners. Views expressed in the Governance and Sustainability Issue Brief Series are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Governance and Sustainability or the University of Massachusetts Boston. Eike Tobias Schmedt received his BA in European ethnology/cultural studies and philosophy at the University of Kiel and his MA in world heritage studies at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg in Germany. From 2012 to 2015, he served as an assistant at the Chair of Intercultural Studies/UNESCO Chair in Heritage Studies at BTU where he worked on several projects and taught various classes to masterâ€™s students. His research interests include transnational cooperation and projects as well as the analysis of cultural policy frameworks in the context of global governance. He is currently a PhD student in the Global Governance and Human Security Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His dissertation research focuses on the comparative assessment of World Heritage Sites and the significance of governance structures to ensure their adequate protection for future generations.
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Since its adoption in 1972, the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, commonly known as Wo...
Published on Dec 1, 2018
Since its adoption in 1972, the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, commonly known as Wo...