Barbados must identify the benefits it can gain from the World Heritage Convention to continue offering the world parts of its history.

And, acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Drainage, Gayle Francis-Vaughan, has urged that special attention be paid to the Nomination Criteria and Outstanding Universal Value.

"These are two of the principle areas where Barbados as a country must be on [a] page if we are to develop an effective communication strategy at home and abroad, while unearthing the opportunities we anticipate," she said.

The acting Permanent Secretary made these comments yesterday as she addressed the opening of a two-day UNESCO World Heritage Training Workshop hosted by the Natural Heritage Department at the Courtyard the Marriott.

"This workshop represents a timely opportunity to deliberate over very important aspects of the built and natural environment, and to get a sense of the thinking of some of our partners, who like us, have day-to-day responsibility for various aspects of the environment," she said.

Ms. Francis-Vaughan pointed out that heritage meant different things to different people and the complexities of the World Heritage Convention added to the challenges of communicating the same idea across cultures, societies, regions and countries.

She added that the Ministry of Environment and Drainage was very aware of Barbados’ commitments under the World Heritage Convention and the part it needed to play in order to fulfill them at the national level.

She explained that in order to meet the commitments, a wide cross-section of departments, agencies and professions needed to become involved. For example, she said, as with the case of the inscription of Historic Bridgetown and Its Garrison, there was a need for a collaborative approach.

The inscription of Historic Bridgetown and Its Garrison saw the National Conservation Commission, the Environmental Protection Department, the Coastal Zone Management Unit, the Sanitation Service Authority, the Drainage Division, the Solid Waste Project Unit and the Natural Heritage Department (NHD) working together to make it a reality.

She told participants, who included tourism and environmental officials, members of the Barbados Museum and members of the media, that their presence was critical to the work being conducted in the area.

Director of the NHD, Steve Devonish, told participants that a number of concepts such as Protected Landscapes, Natural Heritage Conservation Areas and Heritage were contemplated over the years.

But, he expressed the hope that with the fullness of time all the concepts would be welded together. "We just have to take responsibility," he declared.


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