Classical Karst to be listed as UNESCO natural heritage by 2020
The project, coordinated by Park Škocjanske Jame, the operator of the Škocjan Cave system that is already listed as UNESCO's World Heritage, has been under way since 2010.
It was initiated by Slovenia after several calls by the International Union for Conservation of Nature for a joint bid of all countries featuring Dinaric Karst to have it protected by UNESCO. Slovenia opted for a solo bid in 2015, after Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina backed away.
The country's bid encompasses 25,000 hectares of land in six municipalities in central and south-western Slovenia. Featured prominently in the area are features such as karst fields and related networks of caves and waters.
"This would be Slovenia's fifth listing, the third in nature. It would be a great recognition of Slovenia ... as the cradle of karst studies," Rosana Cerkvenik, the project coordinator said as partners, including ten organisation dealing with karst in one way or another, signed an agreement on managing Classical Karst on Monday.
Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Jure Leben, one of the signatories of the deal, added that such projects proved Slovenia was a green country. He said that Slovenia would use the listing, which he is certain UNESCO will approve, to show to tourists and other visitors "our natural heritage".
There could be a snag, as the area houses the main military training grounds, Poček. But the minister promised that a water management analysis would be prepared by the end of the year to address potential issues.