From left: Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Arts and Culture (Mauritius), Ram Prakash Nowbuth; and Hans Thulstrup of UNESCO share information at the workshop. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Mauritius’ progress in the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), has received high praise from Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley.

While speaking at a SIDS UNESCO World Heritage Workshop at the Amaryllis Beach Resort today, he lauded the Mauritius strategy and noted that the model which was adopted came about as a result of the first SIDS meeting which was held here in Barbados in 1994.

"I want to credit Mauritius for its very deliberate thrust in this area as it relates to conservation preservation…I also want to use this opportunity … to certainly reflect on where we are here in Barbados and to certainly appeal to Barbadians to be a bit more encouraged and moved by the progress that Mauritius has made.

I dare say that we have some things to learn from them, but of course we have to some extent slowed our progress towards some of those very innovative initiatives," Mr. Lashley stated.

The Culture Minister also indicated that the two-day workshop would "explore UNESCO’s role in relation to the Mauritius Strategy for further implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS.

"We must take advantage of this very important opportunity to confront and to explore solutions for a number of challenges which we face.?? The reality is that to date, for varying reasons, the Caribbean, as a whole, has been largely invisible on the World Heritage agenda…Of the 911 sites currently inscribed on the World Heritage List, there are only six within CARICOM, and 17 across the Caribbean," Mr. Lashley lamented.

He stressed that the workshop, which concludes tomorrow, Wednesday, April 6, should also be used as an opportunity to find ways to address that situation.

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