Workshop for the launch of the World Heritage – Pacific 2009 Programme

UNESCO World Heritage Centre in collaboration with UNESCO Apia Office in Samoa and the Department of Conservation in New Zealand launched the Programme from 17 - 22 October 2004 at Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. The workshop, funded by the Nordic World Heritage Foundation and Italian Funds-in-Trust, was attended by the Pacific Island Countries including Australia and New Zealand, representatives from French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile), as well as from IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM, the Nordic World Heritage Foundation, Conservation International, Deakin University and other concerned partners.

One of the objectives of the Workshop was to discuss ways of increasing the inscription of sites from the Pacific Region on the World Heritage List and to enhance the protection of the unique natural and cultural heritage located in that region of the world. The Workshop resulted in an Action Plan for the implementation of the Pacific 2009 Programme, which highlights clear and prioritized actions that need to be undertaken to achieve concrete objectives and results identified by the Committee in 2003.

Objectives

  • Launch the World Heritage - Pacific 2009 Programme
  • Review progress to date in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in the Pacific
  • Discuss the needs and priorities for World Heritage conservation in the Pacific
  • Develop an Action Plan for the implementation of the Programme for the next biennium
  • Identify how each stakeholder can contribute to the Programme Action Plan and agree on how to build co-operation and co-ordination

Background

Although the Pacific region covers an immensegeographical area and displays vast naturaland cultural treasures, it is only represented on the World Heritage List by one property: East Rennel in the Solomon Islands, if we do not take into account the sites of Australia and New Zealand.

One of the objectives of the Workshop was to discuss ways of increasing the inscription of sites from the Pacific region to enhance the protection of the unique natural and cultural heritage located in that region of the World.

This Workshop, chaired by Andrew Bignell, of the New Zealand Department of Conservation, benefited from the continuous presence of Tumu Te Heu Heu, Paramount Chief of the Tuwharetoa Tribe of Tongariro and Delegate of New Zealand to the World Heritage Committee.

Representatives from all the Pacific Island States, togetherwith experts from Australia and New Zealand, had an oppor-tunity to visit a World Heritage property, examine its conservation and management and exchange common problems.They also gained valuable understanding of the World Heritage Convention and its main concepts and mechanisms, as well as of the newly adopted Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

An Action Plan for the implementation of this Pacific-wide programme was discussed. The plan highlights clear and prioritized actions that need to be undertaken to achieve concrete objectives and results identified by the Committee in 2003. As soon as the Plan is finalized and distributed to all the participants, the WHC will begin working on its implementation on a national and regional level. The WHC will also develop some large-scale project proposals under the Plan for selected areas of the Pacific.