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Le Morne Cultural Landscape

Le Morne Cultural Landscape, proposed by Mauritius as a best practice, is interesting as a case study for the following aspects: Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund, planning policy guidance, critical viewpoints analysis, cultural landscape mapping, spatial development framework, continuous participative process, local economic development plan, personalized training scheme and visitor code of conduct.

Summary provided by State Party

Protection of a World Heritage Site is generally provided through a legislative framework at the national, regional and/or local levels. However, it has been found that development of an additional and specific legal instrument (PPG 2 –Le Morne Cultural Landscape) ensures closest protection and preservation of the World Heritage Site.

Accompanying tools (Critical Viewpoints Analysis, Cultural Landscape Mapping and Spatial Development Framework) facilitate the task of the institutions and authorities in their daily assessment and monitoring of the World Heritage Site and its Buffer Zone. However, the tools may vary from site to site, depending on their environment and requirements.

Monitoring is best ensured through joint continuous coordination, involving the organisation responsible for the management of the World Heritage Site together with all relevant institutions/authorities at the national, regional and local levels.

The staff of the organisation managing the World Heritage Property should be provided with appropriate training when they join the organisation. Thereafter, a training programme should be devised to match the needs of the staff individually and the organisation as an entity. This will allow the staff to be adequately equipped to perform and thus ensure the maintenance of the attributes of the World Heritage Property. The recruitment of staff from within the local community, even if they do not possess the full profile required for the job, may encourage and motivate the community to support and even actively engage in the management and protection of the World Heritage Site. This implies of course that the staff should be immediately provided with appropriate training to be able to perform effectively. Such strategy results in empowerment of the local community.

Awareness and sensitization campaigns targeting and involving the young generation specially ensure perpetuity of the World Heritage site.

All those practices mentioned could be useful to other sites as well through developing the same strategies and processes while at the same time adapting them to their actual environment. They could provide ways and means to manage effectively World Heritage Sites and to control and guide development on such sites. Adopting these strategies will result in increased partnership and involvement from stakeholders for the management and preservation of World Heritage Sites.

One-off Initiative for the recognition of best practices

The World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy, adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2011, responds to the identified needs of a diverse and growing audience for capacity building for World Heritage conservation and management activities. Development of resource materials such as best practice case studies and communication tools are among the activities foreseen by the strategy to improve these capacities.

An example of an innovative capacity building initiative is the recently concluded Recognition of Best Practice in World Heritage Management. This initiative, requested by the World Heritage Committee and carried out within the framework of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in 2012, solicited applications from World Heritage properties which had demonstrated new and creative ways of managing their sites. Twenty-three submissions were received and evaluated by a 10-member international selection committee which included the representatives of the Convention’s Advisory Bodies, ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN. The Historic Town of Vigan in the Philippines was chosen as a best practice achieved with relatively limited resources, a good integration of the local community in many aspects of the sustainable conservation and management of the property and with an interesting multi-faceted approach to the protection of the site.

Management practices recognized as being successful and sustainable can include everything from involving local people in site management, to creating innovative policies and regulating tourism. There are sites that include students from local schools in the management of the site (Slovenia), train local inhabitants as tour guides (Peru), or even put up nylon fences to protect villagers from straying tigers from the Sundarbans National Park (India). Sharing these practices helps other sites find solutions that work.

This initiative provides incentives for States Parties and site managers to reflect on their management practices and explore improvement possibilities.