The Daily Herald writes that an international effort by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture UNESCO hosted on St. Maarten in May called “Capacity Building Meetings on Heritage Conservation in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS),” resulted in the “Philipsburg Declaration and Action Plan,” which outlines the collective way forward in protecting heritage. The Declaration aims to strengthen professional capacities amongst the regional and international participant countries, in preparing nomination dossiers for sites to be put forward for the UNESCO World Heritage List, in an effort to safeguard intangible cultural heritage. It was approved May 13 by representatives of more than 20 State Parties and Associated States, and encourages the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and its Caribbean field offices to: continue to support Caribbean SIDS capacity development initiatives, to support future Caribbean capacity building programmes on world heritage, and to keep systematic follow-up communication with participants to ensure progress in the nomination dossiers.
It encourages States Parties, among other steps, to: endeavour to establish a National World Heritage Committee by January 2015, engage in tertiary level institutions in capacity building initiatives Caribbean heritage, set deadlines to have tentative list submissions completed for a follow-up meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2015, and to adopt programmes to recognise World Heritage Day on April 18 and the International Decade for the People of African Descent 2015 to 2024.
Specific aims were also set for 2015 for Antigua and Barbuda’s Antigua Naval Dockyard and Suriname’s Jodensavanne and Cassipora Cemetery nominations to be advanced, and for Guyana to explore hosting a public awareness workshop.
Furthermore, participants are encouraged among other steps, to: identify whatever technical assistance or expertise is needed to advance preparation of nomination dossiers, and to keep all lines of communication open to build a sub-regional network of experts, and to continue to explore possible serial, transnational and transboundary nominations.
The meeting had been organised and financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs, in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and UNESCO offices in Kingston and Havana.
Another five-day meeting, ‘‘Strengthening the capacities of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Saba and Suriname to implement the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage’’ will kick off today. The objective will be to bring together those involved in the implementation of policies for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, and to facilitate dialogue on a subregional level.