Representatives from 15 States Parties of the Caribbean region participated in a regional training workshop on marine World Heritage held in Soufriere, St Lucia, in the vicinity of the Pitons Management Area World Heritage site from 27 February to 3 March. The purpose of the workshop was to raise awareness on nominating marine areas from the Caribbean as World Heritage and to provide the Caribbean States Parties with necessary technical knowledge in doing so. The workshop also had participation from several regional and global organizations that can assist in this process, including UNEP Regional Seas, GEF Small Grants Programme, International Coral Reef Action Network, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense and IUCN WCPA network.
The main outcomes of the workshop are related to raised awareness on potential marine nominations from the region (both for national participants and organizations) and on identification of transboundary nomination opportunities as well as new partnerships.
The workshop participants elaborated recommendations on issues such as the need to develop more specific guidance on small islands states and marine areas for applying the World Heritage criteria as well as the need to further develop the Regional Sustainable Tourism Policy for the Caribbean as a way to promote sustainable tourism development within existing and potential World Heritage sites. The participants also recognized the possibilities and strategic value offered by serial and transnational approaches to new World Heritage nominations. By collaborating with other States Parties the chances of meeting the strict World Heritage requirements are greatly enhanced. At the same time such collaboration will help in better conserving the natural features in question as well as contributing to the commitments of those countries under various international agreements. The participants also highlighted the need to promote exchanges between World Heritage sites as a way to learn from one another through better sharing of information and experience.
The meeting was organized by the World Heritage Marine Programme in collaboration with the Pitons Management Area World Heritage site and with generous financial support by the MacArthur Foundation and the Governments of the Netherlands and Italy.