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Parc national du Gros-Morne

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Parc national du Gros-Morne, proposed by Canada as a best practice, is interesting as a case study for the following aspects: commitment of local communities, mayor forums, community volunteer association, agreement for sustainability, on-going training for staff, cooperation and partnerships with tourism representatives.

Moving from a management culture where protection of heritage assets is “enforced” to one where stakeholders are engaged in protecting a site because they understand the values associated with it and support the management approach because they have been involved with defining it, does not and cannot happen by accident. Our job is simply too big to do without the support and help of stakeholders. By adopting an approach of inclusive engagement, and sharing responsibility for decision making, it allows for a higher level of heritage protection and increases the quality and authenticity with which the story about special places is told. By recognizing our common goals and respective strengths, together, with our communities and stakeholders, it is possible to protect our natural and cultural environments, provide a high quality of life for residents and employees, and share the significance of pride and place to visitors. Inclusion, engagement and involvement of others lie at the heart of sustainable development.

Management planning is used as the primary tool for identifying issues that have the potential to negatively affect Gros Morne National Park’s ecological integrity or OUV, and for designing the appropriate level of management response. Worthy of particular note is the number of Parks Canada /Community and Stakeholder Working Groups that successfully resolve land use and other user conflict issues, as well identify areas for mutual co-operation. This collaborative approach has become standard operating procedure in Gros Morne National Park and is the subject of this nomination. The various working groups and collaborative arrangements that have been formed balance the rights of user groups with resource protection needs and help to realize appropriate development opportunities. Gros Morne has developed a specific approach to the working group process, which can best be described as follows:

In formulating such groups, the goal of park management is always to help group members become knowledgeable, highly effective, and supportive participants in the planning processes. Where local communities are part of a particular working group, representation is first sought through the Mayors’ Forum. Typically, a neutral facilitator is hired to chair sessions so as to ensure group members understand there are no preconceived solutions to an issue beforehand. Additionally, stakeholder travel costs are supported. While different groups may address different topics, there is a constancy to approach that has emerged in the park. In their deliberations, working groups are encouraged to:

  • Recognize Gros Morne National Park as a protected heritage area and understand that maintaining its ecological integrity and outstanding universal value can call for special considerations;
  • Place protection of the resource as the first priority;
  • Use the results of scientific study to inform management direction; • Respect local knowledge; • Apply the precautionary principle where there is any doubt; and
  • Respect legally defined jurisdictions.

In conclusion, others have commented on the successful way that the Gros Morne National Park region has pursued, and will continue to pursue, sustainability. The first is offered by Australian Lorraine Edmunds: “I learned of innovative programs and policies…. I saw world-class interpretive facilities and experienced storytelling at its best. I learned of collaborative partnerships between communities, management agencies and research institutions in which cultural and natural places are protected whilst creating new economic opportunities for host communities”. The second account appeared in a 2005 edition of National Geographic Traveler Magazine. The reviewer said that part of the reason Gros Morne tied for second place was: “…I've never felt more welcome anywhere in North America,” and it is “a model of the collaborative actions of local communities and park management”

La reconnaissance de la meilleure pratique en gestion du patrimoine mondial

La Stratégie de renforcement des capacités du patrimoine mondial, adoptée par la Comité du patrimoine mondial en 2011, répond aux besoins identifiés d’une audience diversifiée et croissante pour le renforcement des capacités en matière de conservation du patrimoine mondial et d’activités de gestion. Le développement de matériels tels que les études de cas des meilleures pratiques et les outils de communication figurent parmi les activités prévues par la stratégie pour améliorer ces capacités.

Un exemple d’initiative innovante de renforcement des capacités est la Reconnaissance de la meilleure pratique en gestion du patrimoine mondial récemment accordée. Cette initiative, demandée par le Comité du patrimoine mondial et menée dans le cadre du 40è anniversaire de la Convention du patrimoine mondial en 2012, avait requis les candidatures de biens du patrimoine mondial ayant démontré des manières nouvelles et créatives dans la gestion de leurs sites. Vingt-trois candidatures furent reçues et évaluées par un comité de sélection international de 10 membres, comprenant les représentants des Organisations consultatives de la Convention : l’ICCROM, l’ICOMOS et l’UICN. La Ville historique de Vigan aux Philippines a été choisie comme représentante de la meilleure pratique avec des moyens relativement limités, une bonne intégration des communautés locales dans de nombreux aspects de la conservation durable et de la gestion du site, et avec une approche multi-facette intéressante de protection du site.

Les pratiques de gestion reconnues comme réussies et durables peuvent couvrir tous les aspects, depuis l’implication des populations locales dans la gestion du site, à la création des politiques innovantes et la régulation du tourisme. Certains sites impliquent les étudiants des écoles locales dans la gestion du site (Slovénie), forment des habitants au métier de guide touristique (Pérou) ou encore installent des filets en nylon pour protéger les villageois des tigres du Parc national des Sundarbans (Inde). Partager ces pratiques aide les autres sites à trouver des solutions qui fonctionnent.

Cette initiative incite les Etats parties et les gestionnaires de site à réfléchir sur leurs pratiques de gestion et à explorer des possibilités d’amélioration.