- Jamaica is preparing to defend a proposal to have the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park considered for World Heritage status.
- Recommendations to accord World Heritage status to the National Park was made by UNESCO evaluators when they visited the island last year.
- There are five natural sites, 31 cultural sites and one mixed site (both natural and cultural) which are nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List this year.
Jamaica is preparing to defend a proposal to have the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park considered for World Heritage status at the upcoming Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany, from June 28 to July 8.
Recommendations to accord World Heritage status to the National Park was made by UNESCO evaluators when they visited the island last year.
There are five natural sites, 31 cultural sites and one mixed site (both natural and cultural) which are nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List this year. Jamaica is the only country with a mixed site on the list.
Members of Jamaica’s technical team that provided oversight of the nomination process for the heritage site are from: African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank, Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust, National Environment and Planning Agency, Forestry Department, Jamaica National Heritage Trust, Windward Maroon Council and the Ministry of Youth and Culture, which provided administrative and technical oversight of the process.
Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, will lead a team of cultural experts to explain reasons for the application at the 39th Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. They will have to lobby intensely and present strong justification for the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park to be inscribed. The team departs on Friday, June 26.
The group will include UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee members, Acting Principal Director of Culture and Creative Industries Policy Division, Ministry of Youth and Culture, Dr Janice Lindsay; and Director of the Natural History Museum, Institute of Jamaica, Tracey Commock.
Technical Project Coordinator of World Heritage, Ministry of Youth and Culture, Debra-Kay Palmer, told JIS News that having a site inscribed on the World Heritage List is a “prestigious” recognition given to countries which vie for this status each year.
“To have a site being listed against countries that have, for example, the pyramids of Egypt … there is a strong sense of prestige that comes with it,” she said, adding that they also have strong tourism capabilities.
According to Miss Palmer, a site on the World Heritage List provides an opportunity for the improvement of nearby communities and for its citizens to have a greater understanding of the importance of protecting and sustaining its heritage.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lindsay said that support is usually provided for countries with sites that are on the World Heritage list to aid in managing components of the site.
“It is actually a given that once you have world heritage status, that commitment is given and it forms part of the convention and the agreement among 191 countries that any country or any site on the World Heritage list will have that support,” she said.
Dr. Lindsay emphasised that much is required to manage a world heritage site, noting that the work begins after inscription on the world heritage list.
Jamaica has two other sites on UNESCO’s Tentative List that are to be considered for World Heritage Status. These are the Port Royal Underwater Archaeological Site, off the Palisadoes peninsula, in Kingston, and the Seville Heritage Park, St. Ann.