The Independence Arch in Bridgetown.??

This country, as a member of the World Heritage Committee, will be assisting the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in formulating plans for the execution of a number of World Heritage Initiatives in the near future.

The disclosure was made today by the Barbados delegation, now attending the 33rd Session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Seville, Spain. This year’s meeting is focusing on the conservation, preservation and management of natural and cultural heritage sites throughout the world.

The annual forum brings together over 1,000 inter-governmental participants from around the world to discuss the nomination of new sites for inclusion on the World Heritage List, and to review the state of conservation of sites already listed. Twenty-seven new sites are up for inscription on the List.

Barbados currently serves as the only CARICOM member state on the Committee and is therefore responsible for representing the interests of the Caribbean community as directed by CARICOM.

Participation in the Committee meetings has provided this country with the appropriate platform to engage in the process of nominating historic Bridgetown and the Garrison as World Heritage sites.

Barbados has promoted two initiatives at the 33rd session which would require regional cooperation. These are the development of a World Heritage Programme for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and a proposal to create a Caribbean World Heritage Fund.

During its intervention on the programme for SIDS, Barbados pointed out that the aim of the initiative was to develop integrated heritage policies for those states covering natural, cultural, intangible and movable traditions that would contribute to World Heritage activities in Caribbean islands.

Similarly, the creation of a Caribbean World Heritage Fund would seek to ensure effective conservation and protection of the Caribbean’s natural and cultural heritage, and to provide financial and technical assistance to Caribbean nations in getting their sites included on the World Heritage list. It would also go towards the training of heritage experts and site managers.

The strategies for the conservation, preservation and management of Caribbean heritage, sustainable environmental and tourism related activities will be assessed and pursued by the Barbados World Heritage Task Force in the Ministry of Community Development and Culture.

The Task Force is chaired by Prof. Henry Fraser, with the Director of Natural Heritage Department, Steve Devonish, serving as the Deputy Chairman. Its membership includes representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, the Barbados Tourism Authority, the Lands and Survey Department, the Town and Country Planning Department, the Solicitor General’s Office, the Barbados National Trust, the Barbados National Commission to UNESCO and the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.??

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