PM Ludovic Orban has announced on Tuesday that his Cabinet plans to register the Rosia Montana as a World Heritage site on the UNESCO World Heritage List, with consultations with the representatives of the Romanian state in the litigation at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) to start soon.
“PNL has always endorsed the Rosia Montana’s registration on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. We did not block the procedure, but the PSD governments did. (…) I asked the Minister of Culture to consult with the other ministries and especially with those who represent us in the ongoing litigation we have at the ICSID, in which the company has sued the Romanian state and asks for compensation. We need to make sure that we do not interfere in this dispute in any way. However we’re clear about one thing, we want the Rosia Montana being included on UNESCO’s list,” Orban said on Tuesday at Parliament.
A day ago, Culture Minister Bogdan Gheorghiu had said that the procedure for the inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List of the Rosia Montana site must clearly be resumed.
The inclusion of the Rosia Montana locality in Romania on the UNESCO world heritage list was deferred after the debates of the 42nd session of the Committee for the UNESCO World Heritage in Bahrain in the summer of 2018.
Romania was represented at that time by Ştefan Răzvan Rab, secretary of state with the Culture Ministry, who was mandated to ask for the delay of listing until the conclusion of the trial in Washington, the dispute with Gabriel Resources.
Romania is on trial with arbitration against Gabriel Resources, the main shareholder of Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, which demands USD 4.4 billion damages because the gold mining was blocked.
In 2018, thousands of Romanians took to the street and signed an online petition whereby they ask UNESCO to keep the Rosia Montana file on the agenda.
If Rosia Montana is declared UNESCO site, the region will be declared an area naturally protected and no more exploitations will be allowed there.
Activists are strongly lobbying for Rosia Montana to become a naturally preserved area, with the region’s first touristic promotion website being developed in 2017.