Pitons Management Area (Saint Lucia) (N 1161)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2004
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1161/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 19,950
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1161/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
20-24 March 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Development pressures associated with tourism and housing;
- Absence of strict development control process.
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1161/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014
On 20 February 2014, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report; a summary of which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1161/documents/.
The State Party reports the following:
- On 22 December 2013, the requested Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) Study and a Design Guide were submitted to the State Party by the consultant The Landmark Practice. The study argues that developments since inscription until 2013 have largely not affected the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The report suggests that the limits of acceptable change should be measured against twenty “important views” of the site. Detailed assessments of proposed development projects are provided, as well as approved plans that are currently on hold because of the moratorium; the majority of the planned Freedom Bay development, as well as the Sugar Beach development, is thereby considered to exceed the LAC, and the former may also exceed the criteria for Policy Area 3 as set out in the Hyder Report;
- The recommendations of the LAC study were endorsed by Executive Order (Cabinet Conclusion No. 527 of 2013) and outlined a road map for implemenation of the report, including the development of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry responsible for Physical Development;
- The refurbishment of the Pitons Management Area (PMA) “Inscription Monument Site”, which was damaged by Hurricane Tomas in 2010, has started;
- Projects to address the issue of invasive plants (Callisia fragrans and Tradescantia zebrina) on the Gros Piton Nature Trail seem to be successful. Additionally, education and awareness raising activities are planned to ensure long term eradication. Likewise, projects have been organised to engage with different stakeholders, such as schools and communities, to increase public awareness and to highlight the potential impacts from climate change;
- The State Party’s intention to pursue geothermal energy explorations within the Soufriere region is noted. Potential locations for drilling bore holes include Fond Doux within the property. While the LAC study also considered the potential impact of exploratory boreholes, it could not determine whether such activities would exceed the LAC given the current lack of detailed plans. Nevertheless, the State Party considers that such activities outside the property are unlikely to have an impact on it, and that geothermal developments within the boundaries of the property may be acceptable, as long as they are located away from Sulphur Springs and subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN
The completion of the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) study is welcomed. Its recommendations should be fully implemented, and some additional safeguards to ensure protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) should be applied. In keeping with the findings of the study, all developments where impacts would exceed the defined LAC should not proceed. Projects that are considered to exceed the LAC, such as the Freedom Bay and Sugar Beach developments, should therefore either be abandoned or revised to avoid impacts on OUV. Should any developments exceeding the LAC proceed, the integrity of the property would clearly be compromised, and the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger should be considered in that case.
In all cases, developments that are not considered to exceed the LAC should avoid impacts on “important views” as identified in the LAC study. Each development should be subject to an assessment of potential impacts on the OUV of the property prior to authorization by the State Party. In addition, any revised master plans should fully respect the LAC and the guidelines set out in the Design Guide, and should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN, prior to any decisions being made that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.
More information on the “roadmap for implementation” of the LAC study is required, to ensure it is legally recognized and integrated within the development planning and control legislation and processes for the property. Management of the property also needs to be strengthened to ensure that developers comply with ensuing regulations.
The intention of the State Party to pursue geothermal resource development within the Soufriere region is noted with concern. Geothermal development within the property would be likely to have a significant impact on its OUV, and should be prohibited. Any geothermal development outside the property should be subject to detailed EIA to assess the potential impacts on the OUV of the property, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment.
The efforts of the State Party to address invasive plants and to improve stakeholder engagement are welcomed and should be continued.
Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.85
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.32, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
- Notes with appreciation the efforts undertaken by the State Party to address the problem of invasive species and to improve stakeholder engagement;
- Welcomes the completion of the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) Study, and requests the State Party to ensure its legal recognition and integration within the development planning and control legislation and processes for the property, to fully implement its recommendations, and to not allow any developments to proceed if they are considered to exceed the LAC;
- Notes that a number of planned and ongoing developments, such as Freedom Bay and Sugar Beach, are considered to exceed the LAC, and also requests the State Party to ensure these developments are either abandoned, or significantly modified to ensure they have no impacts on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre any revised master plans, prior to making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
- Considers that, should any development exceeding the LAC be allowed to proceed, the integrity of the property would clearly be compromised, leading to consideration of the inclusion of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
- Recommends that the development of geothermal energy within the property should be prohibited, and urges the State Party to ensure that any planned development of geothermal energy outside the property is subject to a detailed environmental impact assessment to asses the potential impacts on its OUV, in conformity with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, a report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, and including the legal adoption and full implementation of the recommendations of the Limits of Acceptable Change study and additional measures to prevent development impacting the OUV of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.