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.