Global Strategy: Workshop on the identification of archaeological sites in the Caribbean, and on major risks management
Caribbean archaeological heritage has been the subject of enhancement initiatives at the beginning of the years 2000, to valorise underrepresented heritage on the World Heritage List in the region.
An international seminar on Caribbean archaeological sites was held at the Museo des Hombre in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 7 and 8 July 2003. It led to the proposal of a list of archaeological sites likely to be inscribed on the World Heritage List, and to the identification of managers and experts in this region.
From 20 to 23 September 2004, UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre organized an international meeting in Fort-de-France, Martinique, France, on the theme “Identification of Archaeological Sites of the Caribbean likely to be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List”. The objective of this international and intergovernmental seminar was to encourage an in-depth reflection on Caribbean archaeological cultural heritage and ways to represent it in all of its diversity on the World Heritage List. The meeting also aimed at stressing the importance of the identification, cartography, protection, conservation and nomination of this vulnerable type of cultural heritage.
Official representatives of 20 Caribbean countries and approximately 42 experts on Caribbean archaeology were present. The seminar also enabled to formalize several transnational nomination projects on the World Heritage List, and highlighted the urgency for protection and conservation of archaeological heritage in the countries of the Caribbean. Finally, it emphasized the implications of enhancing archaeological areas, whilst respecting and strengthening Caribbean cultural identity. The “Declaration of Martinique” (2004) was collectively drafted during the workshop and set forth the following priorities:
- encourage the protection of heritage in the region taking all necessary measures to implement the World Heritage Convention
- reinforce and develop risk prevention policies and management of interventions at regional, national and international levels
- take significant measures to protect subaquatic archaeological heritage
- adopt effective legislation
- strengthen and apply training and public awareness policies
- promote and financially support professional development in fields related to archaeological techniques
- strengthen national institutes responsible for the protection of archaeological heritage and carry out inventories of local and national archaeological resources
Short and long-term action plans were developed at the seminar. The France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement supported this project with expertise and financial backing and participated in the publication of the conference proceedings, published in October 2005 in the World Heritage Papers n˚14 entitled “Caribbean Archaeology and World Heritage Convention”.
In 2008, in line with the activities developed by the World Heritage Centre in the Caribbean on the valorisation of Caribbean archaeological heritage, in-depth reflections on heritage and risk management issues were further developed. This led the World Heritage Centre and the Conseil Régional de Martinique (regional local authority of Martinique) to organise a seminar on Major risks management and archaeological heritage in the Caribbean.
The objective of this seminar was to assess the relevance of risk management studies that have been developed by ICCROM and the World Heritage Centre in the Caribbean region, and to invite the World Heritage site managers to develop a case study. A preliminary meeting was co-organised by the Conseil Régional de Martinique and the World Heritage Centre, associated with the Centre régional de conservation-restauration des biens culturels de Basse-Normandie (regional centre for conservation and restoration of cultural properties in Basse Normandie), France, on 24 and 25 November 2008.