JCDT Prepares Nomination for Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park to UNESCO Heritage List


The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) is finalizing arrangements for the nomination of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) list of world heritage sites.
JCDT Executive Director, Susan Otuokon, addressing a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston on (Jan. 16), said that the site, which was declared Jamaica’s first terrestrial national park in 1990, is being nominated for its mixture of natural and cultural heritage.
“We are nominating the Blue and John Crow Mountains because, according to the world heritage site criteria, it contains the most important and significant biological diversity and natural habitat, including those containing threatened species (of plants and animals),” she explained, noting that the site is an outstanding example of ecological and biological processes.
She informed that the JCDT received just over US$23,000 from UNESCO, which was used to prepare a nomination dossier for submission to the World Heritage Centre in Paris.
“We have received recommendations from UNESCO as to how to improve the nomination dossier. The next step is for the document to be finalized, and sent out to various agencies like the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. There is a National World Heritage Site Committee that will review the document and check to ensure that everything is in it. We will then send it off to Paris to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee, and we hope that we will be able to do that before the end of September this year,” Mrs. Otuokon said.
If approved, the park will be the first and only listed mixed site in Jamaica and the Caribbean. “So this site is going to be a mixed one, with both natural and cultural heritage criteria that will make it very special in the world. There are about 851 world heritage sites listed as at the end of 2006 of which between 30 and 50 are mixed sites,” Mrs. Otuokon outlined.
The decision by the World Heritage Site Committee will not be known before 2010, as the body meets once per year and the 2008 assembly will be held before the JCDT’s September submission date. The committee will consider Jamaica’s submission at its May 2009 meeting. At that meeting, the organization is expected to receive a report from a special team, which will be sent to Jamaica to evaluate the site to ensure that all criteria are met. “But, we are confident of the likelihood of the site being inscribed on the World Heritage Site,” Mrs. Otuokon said.
Minister of Information, Culture, Youth, & Sports, Olivia Grange, in her remarks, commended the JCDT’s efforts at “seeking to conserve our natural resources and our natural and cultural heritage.”
“The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust has, in a very novel way, sought to incorporate our natural heritage with the built and intangible and they have done so in our world renowned Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. As a non-government organization, your work is a reflection of the true Jamaican persona – pride, dedication, and sense of self,” Ms. Grange stated.

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