1.         Pitons Management Area (Saint Lucia) (N 1161)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (vii)(viii)

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/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 19,950
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1161/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre / IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1161/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 21 December 2015, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1161/documents. The report presents progress as follows :

On 04 May 2016 the World Heritage Centre sent a letter to the State Party regarding third party information which raised concerns about a recent sale of land within the property to a private developer. On 10 May 2016 the State Party responded that the sale had to be abandoned since the land concerned was located in Policy zone 1 where no construction is permitted by the LAC study. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

It is recommended that the Committee welcome the adoption of the LAC study by the Cabinet of Ministers. It is noted that the study appears to have sparked an ongoing and important debate and has directly informed attempts to find a more balanced approach to conservation and development. The accompanying efforts to raise public awareness are commendable. However, the incorporation of the recommendations of the study into enforceable legislation remains to be completed.

According to the State Party report, the earlier concerns about location of potential geothermal resources within or in the immediate vicinity of the property have not materialized. At the current non-invasive exploration stage, recent findings suggest minor to no potential overlap with the property. Nevertheless, any exploration or eventual use of geothermal energy will require adequate assessment of the potential impacts on the property even when the development may not occur within the property itself.

The efforts to eradicate invasive alien plants along a widely used trail, combined with public awareness-raising, are exemplary. At the same time, it is unlikely that an approach restricted to such short-lived events can effectively achieve the eradication of invasive plants. Systematic and permanent monitoring to guide management responses are needed at all times.

The intention to review and revise the Management Plan for the property as part of the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) is noted. However, the State Party does not further elaborate on this process even though it would appear to be highly relevant for the management of the property. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide additional information on this process, including on how the outcomes of the LAC study will be integrated into the review process and what the expected timelines are.

It is noted that the State Party intends to undertake a survey and demarcation adjustments of the boundaries of policy areas within the property and it is therefore recommended that the Committee also request the State Party to provide more details on the planned activities and their objectives, as well as the challenges to demarcation due to private land tenure. 

In the view of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, the most critical issues continue to be the development projects within the property. In spite of finalization and endorsement of the LAC study and a positively evolving policy framework, it continues to be unclear how decision-making is going to be guided, also given the fact that the process of integration of the recommendations of the LAC study into the Physical Planning and Development Act has only just started.

With regards to the Freedom Bay and Sugar Beach development projects, while it is hoped that dialogue with developers will result in a mutually acceptable balance in line with the World Heritage status of PMA, the continued absence of an enforcement mechanism in case dialogue fails to generate a consensus, including as regards visual integrity, is noted. The confirmation from the State Party that a sale of a land within the Policy area 1 of the property to a private developer has recently been rejected is noted. However, the third party information referred to in the letter sent by the World Heritage Centre also noted that there continues to be an interest from the developer to pursue the construction plans. Recalling the previous request of the Committee “to not allow any developments to proceed if they are considered to exceed the LAC”, it is noted that exceeding the limits of acceptable change would trigger the consideration of the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.77

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.85, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcoming the efforts of the State Party and external supporters to address threats to the property stemming from alien invasive plants, including by investing in communication and public awareness-raising, encourages the State Party to continue and increase these efforts;
  4. Also welcoming the endorsement of the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) study by the Cabinet of Ministers, notes that the process of integrating the recommendations of the LAC study into the Physical Planning and Development Act has commenced, and requests the State Party to complete the integration of these recommendations into the national legislative and institutional framework as a matter of priority, to ensure compliance with the recommendations can be enforced;
  5. Also notes the confirmation by the State Party that a dialogue with the developers of the Freedom Bay and Sugar Beach development projects is currently taking place which is aimed at ensuring that the developments conform with the recommendations of the LAC study;
  6. Reiterates its consideration that, should any development exceeding the limits of acceptable change, or otherwise having a negative impact on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, be allowed to proceed, the integrity of the property would clearly be compromised, leading to consideration of the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in accordance with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  7. Also encourages the State Party to fully reflect the conclusions of the LAC study in the planned revision of the Management Plan, and also requests the State Party to provide an electronic and three printed copies of the revised Management Plan for review by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN;
  8. Further notes the State Party’ stated intention to undertake boundary demarcation of policy areas within the property (zones with different levels of restrictions on development) and to seek the assistance of the World Heritage Centre in identifying funds for this exercise, and further requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre more details on the planned activities and their objectives, as well as the challenges to demarcation noted by the State Party, which are due to private land tenure within the property;
  9. Notes furthermore the preliminary conclusions that the geothermal potential of Saint Lucia appears to have no significant overlap with the property, and requests furthermore the State Party to inform the Committee of any geothermal developments which may directly or indirectly impact on the OUV of the property;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/8E.Rev,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties located within their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC/16/40.COM/8E.Rev, for the following World Heritage properties:

EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

  1. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger will be reviewed in priority by the Advisory Bodies;
  2. Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and further requests the World Heritage Centre to upload the two language versions on its web site.