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Pitons Management Area to bring increased benefits to St. Lucia

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Contact: Julita Peter

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - St. Lucia now has access to the many privileges that world heritage sites enjoy. Director General of UNESCO Mr. Koichio Matsuura, who earlier this week led a UNESCO delegation to St. Lucia for the inscription ceremony of the Piton Management Area as a World Heritage Site, said that designating an area as a world heritage site was an occasion for boosting national pride and increasing a society’s commitment to protecting and developing that area in a sustainable manner. He said the status of world heritage also brought international attention to the site and its surrounding area, attracting international funding and potential increases in tourism.

“It may be noted that the world heritage centre has established programs for small island developing state to provide enhanced assistance in the preparation of nominations to UNESCO’s world heritage list. Our collective work to conserve the diversity of the world’s heritage also requires new instruments to give greater protective coverage to al types of heritage. As a complimentary instrument to the 1972 world convention, which focuses on the protection of cultural and natural properties, we now have a new convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, which was adopted in October 2003”, Mr. Matsuura said.

Intangible cultural heritage encompasses among others, world traditions and expressions including language, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events and traditional craftsmanship.

“I believe that intangible cultural heritage is very important for St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean and therefore, I truly hope that your country and its neighbours will soon be parties to the 2003 convention which opens up other avenues for the safeguarding of cultural and natural diversity in all its forms. This is a duty we owe to future generations”, he said.

UNESCO has established a process for promoting an interest in and respect for intangible cultural heritage called the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Given the fact that 12 countries have already ratified the 2003 convention on intangible cultural heritage it is likely that it will come into force in 2006.

According to the UNESCO Director General, once the 2003 convention on intangible cultural heritage comes into operation, the convention will have its own mechanism for inscribing outstanding examples of intangible cultural heritage around the world.


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