Decision : 32 COM 8B.18
Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Le Morne Cultural Landscape (MAURITIUS)
1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,
2. Inscribes the Le Morne Cultural Landscape, Mauritius, on the World Heritage List as a relict and associative cultural landscape on the basis of criteria (iii) and (vi);
3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
Le Morne Cultural Landscape is an exceptional testimony to maroonage or resistance to slavery in terms of the mountain being used as a fortress to shelter escaped slaves, with physical and oral evidence to support that use. Le Morne represents maroonage and its impact, which existed in many places around the world, was demonstrated so effectively on Le Morne mountain. It is a symbol of slaves' fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance beyond its geographical location, to the countries from which the slaves came - in particular the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia- and represented by the Creole people of Mauritius and their shared memories and oral traditions.
Criterion (iii): The mountain is an exceptional testimony to maroonage or resistance to slavery in terms of it being used as a fortress for the shelter of escaped slaves, with evidence to support that use.
Criterion (vi): The dramatic form of the mountain, the heroic nature of the resistance it sheltered, and the longevity of the oral traditions associated with the maroons, has made Le Morne a symbol of slaves' fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance beyond its geographical location, to the countries from which the slaves came - in particular the African mainland, Madagascar and India and South-east Asia.
The values of the property, in relation to the shelter of the maroons and their attempts to escape to freedom, extend beyond the main bulk of the mountain to the foothills and coast. Only the mountain is in the property and its spiritual qualities extend well into its surroundings. To preserve the integrity of the mountain means considering the property and buffer zone as a management unit. There is no doubt over the authenticity of the remains of maroon settlements on the mountains nor of the strong associations between the maroons and the mountain which are now known and valued far beyond the area.
The legal protection in place is adequate for the property; the Planning Policy Guidance for the buffer zone needs to be rigorously enforced. The current Management Plan is a good framework document, but needs to be augmented with detailed sub-plans and extended to address the marine environment of the buffer zone. The management system for the property should include professional staff with conservation and other appropriate disciplines and capacity building programmes.
4. Recommends that the State Party:
- a) increase the management system for the property to include professional staff with conservation and other appropriate disciplines and through capacity building programmes
- b) improve the Management Plan through the development of sub-plans which identify actions and resources, particularly relating to protection of the buffer zone;
- c) include the monitoring of views, appropriate awareness of and respect for oral traditions, and the marine environment in the monitoring programme.
5. Requests the State Party to:
- a) enforce the Planning Policy Guidance for developments in the buffer zone and refrain from approving any developments in the property;
- b) develop a comprehensive analysis on the implication of building heights in the buffer zone and the villages of Coteau Raffin and La Gaulette on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
- c) establish a regular monitoring mechanism on the key views and sight axis of the property.