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

Development pressures associated with tourism and housing

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 12 February 2012 the State Party submitted a brief report on the state of conservation of the property.

a) Development pressures associated with tourism and housing

The State Party reports that it has approved development applications within the property. The World Heritage Centre requested further information on the nature of these approvals and on 23 April 2012 the State Party submitted the approval letters and 2011 Cabinet Decisions for these developments (Cabinet Decisions No 404 and 1039). Five development proposals have been approved within the property, including individual villas, real estate developments composed of multiple villas, a restaurant, and expansions of the existing Jalousie and Ladera resorts. Construction has begun on some of these developments and one development proposal has been partially completed. The State Party considers that these approvals are in keeping with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and also considers that it continues to impose a moratorium on all developments.

The State Party notes that it is working with the IUCN Office for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean to secure technical support for the Pitons Management Area (PMA), including support in identifying a consultant to undertake the Limits to Acceptable Change (LAC) study requested by the Committee, as well as support on stakeholder engagement and the development of a management framework for the property. The State Party indicates that it recognizes the importance of stakeholder participation in the development of the LAC study, and intends to actively encourage such dialogue. It also notes that it will prepare an International Assistance request for the LAC study, however no information is provided on progress made in revising existing development control guidelines and regulations.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN are extremely concerned that despite the State Party’s commitment at the Committee’s 34th session (Brasilia, 2010) to enforce a moratorium on all developments, five additional developments have now been approved.

IUCN notes that it continues to support the State Party in identifying a consultant to undertake the LAC study and in developing a management framework for the property, but that the recent governmental changes in Saint Lucia have delayed the implementation of this support. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall that the LAC study is intended to determine if and where developments could be permitted within the property and to guide the development of new development control guidelines and regulations to avoid further deterioration of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value. However, given that the 2010 joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission concluded that the existing real estate developments within the property may already have created a situation where the Outstanding Universal Value of the property could be lost, it is clear that development within the property would need to be very strictly circumscribed or completely halted. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The Pitons Management Area, whose Outstanding Universal Value is closely tied to the spectacular scenery of the volcanic pitons emerging from the sea and from forest canopy, has been subjected to significant development since it was inscribed by the Committee in 2004. In 2011, the State Party approved five new developments within the property, despite the Committee’s clear position that development within the property should be strictly circumscribed in order to avoid further deterioration of its Outstanding Universal Value (33 COM7B.39, 34 COM 7B.37, 35 COM 7B.35).

The UNESCO/IUCN mission to the property in 2010 concluded that its Outstanding Universal Value was severely threatened and recommended that the site be inscribed onto the List of World Heritage in Danger based on the absence of strict development control processes. It was only following an intervention by the State Party at the Committee’s 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), and its commitment to impose a strict development moratorium, that the Committee decided not to inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Given the small size of the property and sensitive nature of its values, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN consider that the approval of five new developments within the property represents an ascertained danger in line with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines, and are likely to significantly and irreversibly affect the property’s Outstanding Universal Value. They recommend that the Committee inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, with a view to considering, in the event of continuing inappropriate development within the property, the deletion of the property from the World Heritage List.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.34

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.35, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Also recalling the State Party’s intervention at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), in which it committed to a strict moratorium on further development within the property;

4.  Notes with grave concern that additional developments within the property were granted in 2011, despite the as yet incomplete drafting of the Limits to Acceptable Change and of development regulations and guidelines, which are likely to further degrade the property’s Outstanding Universal Value;

5.  Notes that the property’s Outstanding Universal Value may have already been compromised by developments within the property;

6.  Requests the State Party, inasmuch as construction may not have commenced, to issue a stop work order and to cancel the five development permits granted in 2011, and to not approve any additional developments until the Limits to Acceptable Change study, along with development regulations and guidelines, are completed and legally integrated into the development review process;

7.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, focusing specifically on progress in halting existing development permits within the property and establishing an effective development control system, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013, with a view to consider inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger if the measures requested by the Committee are not implemented.