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World Heritage Programme for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are islands of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are some of the most beautiful places on Earth, with atolls of white sand beaches, mountain ranges covered in cloud forest, historic ports and towns, and agricultural landscapes. They are relatively remote, vulnerable to environmental challenges, such as climate change, and generally small in size—Niue has a population of only 1,269, and Tuvalu a total land area of only 26km.

The UNESCO SIDS Programme develops World Heritage activities in these areas, providing support for new nominations to the World Heritage List, and sustainable conservation and management practices for sites already inscribed.

The SIDS were recognized as a distinct group of developing countries in June 1992, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development. The 29th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2005 adopted the World Heritage Programme for SIDS (Decision 29 COM 5B), and the SIDS have since become a point of focus for World Heritage identification and protection.

39

The number
of SIDS

34

The number of  World Heritage Properties in the SIDS

1,269

The smallest population
in SIDS (Niue)

Action Plan

Regional Action Plans in the Caribbean and in the Pacific

The World Heritage Programme for SIDS has been supporting the development of the recent Regional Action Plans for the World Heritage in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, as these are the roadmap in developing and implementing World Heritage activities for SIDS. Other SIDS action plan and work plan have been developed recently which will be also utilized as a key reference. 


Action Plan
for World Heritage
in the Caribbean 2015-2019

English French Spanish


Action Plan
for World Heritage
in the Pacific 2016-2020

English


Regional Work Plan for Culture
in Latin America and the Caribbean
UNESCO LAC 2016-2021 

English French Spanish Portuguese


UNESCO SIDS
Action Plan
2016-2021

English French  

UNESCO Intersectoral Platform

In 2008, to ensure that UNESCO’s unique multi-disciplinary expertise – in science, culture, climate change, education, biodiversity resource preservation, knowledge management and information for decision-making – are productively used in addressing the multiplicity of challenges facing SIDS, a UNESCO intersectoral platform has been established. The World Heritage Programme for SIDS is a part of this platform. The SIDS platform mobilizes UNESCO’s house-wide contribution for the Sustainable Development of SIDS through an integrated approach to sustainable island living and development, emphasizing interregional linkages and cooperation, reflecting the priority status assigned to SIDS in UNESCO’s current strategy.

More information about the about the Platform as well as Resolutions adopted by the UNESCO General Conference, Decisions adopted by the UNESCO Executive Board and other documents related to SIDS are available from UNESCO Intersectoral Platform.

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International Year of
Small Island Developing States 2014


2014 was dedicated to the United Nations’ International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States was held in Apia, Samoa (1-4 September 2014). The SIDS Conference focused the world's attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities. 

Outcome document: Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA Pathway)

UNESCO’s actions for the International Year of SIDS

List of SIDS

UNESCO SIDS Member States

Antigua and Barbuda Bahamas Barbados Belize Cabo Verde Comoros* Cook Islands Cuba Dominica Dominican Republic Fiji Grenada Guinea-Bissau* Guyana Haiti* Jamaica Kiribati* Maldives Marshall Islands Mauritius Federated States of Micronesia Nauru Niue Palau Papua New Guinea Samoa* São Tomé and Principe* Singapore St. Kitts and Nevis St. Lucia St. Vincent and the Grenadines Seychelles Solomon Islands* Suriname Timor-Lesté* Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tuvalu* Vanuatu*

UNESCO SIDS Associate Members

Anguilla Aruba British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Curuçao Sint Maarten Tokelau

* Also LDCs
List of the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

News (17)
Events (35)
Pacific Heritage Workshop
30 Aug 2017 - 1 Sep 2017
Capacity-building Workshop for Niue
4 Mar 2013 - 7 Mar 2013
Capacity Building workshop for Tonga
20 Feb 2012 - 24 Feb 2012
Decisions / Resolutions (4)
Code: 42COM 5A

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/5A,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 5A adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017) and Decision 40 COM 5D adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
    General:
  3. Takes note with appreciation of the activities undertaken by the World Heritage Centre over the past year in pursuit of the Expected Result to ensure that “tangible heritage is identified, protected, monitored and sustainably managed by Member States, in particular through the effective implementation of the 1972 Convention”, and the five strategic objectives as presented in Document WHC/18/42.COM/5A; 
  4. Welcomes the proactive role of the Secretariat for enhancing synergies between the World Heritage Convention and the other Culture and Biodiversity-related Conventions, particularly the integration of relevant synergies aspects in the revised Periodic Reporting Format and the launch of a synergy-related web page on the Centre’s website;
  5. Also welcomes the increased collaboration among the Biodiversity-related Conventions through the Biodiversity Liaison Group and focused activities, including workshops, joint statements and awareness-raising;
  6. Takes note of the Thematic studies on the recognition of associative values using World Heritage criterion (vi) and on interpretation of sites of memory, funded respectively by Germany and the Republic of Korea and encourages all States Parties to take on board their findings and recommendations, in the framework of the identification of sites, as well as management and interpretation of World Heritage properties;
  7. Noting the discussion paper by ICOMOS on Evaluations of World Heritage Nominations related to Sites Associated with Memories of Recent Conflicts, decides to convene an Expert Meeting on sites associated with memories of recent conflicts to allow for both philosophical and practical reflections on the nature of memorialization, the value of evolving memories, the inter-relationship between material and immaterial attributes in relation to memory, and the issue of stakeholder consultation; and to develop guidance on whether and how these sites might relate to the purpose and scope of the World Heritage Convention, provided that extra-budgetary funding is available and invites the States Parties to contribute financially to this end;
  8. Also invites the States Parties to support the activities carried out by the World Heritage Centre for the implementation of the Convention;
  9. Requests the World Heritage Centre to present, at its 43rd session, a report on its activities.
    Thematic Programmes:
  10. Welcomes the progress report on the implementation of the World Heritage Thematic Programmes and Initiatives, notes their important contribution towards implementation of the Global Strategy for representative World Heritage List, and thanks all States Parties, donors and other organizations for having contributed to achieving their objectives;
  11. Acknowledges the results achieved by the World Heritage Cities Programme and calls States Parties and other stakeholders to provide human and financial resources ensuring the continuation of this Programme in view of its crucial importance for the conservation of the urban heritage inscribed on the World Heritage List, for the implementation of the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape and its contribution to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals related to cities as well as for its contribution to the preparation of the New Urban Agenda, and further thanks to China and Croatia for their support for the implementation of the Programme;
  12. Also acknowledges the results achieved of the World Heritage Marine Programme, also thanks Flanders, France and the Annenberg Foundation for their support, notes the increased focus of the Programme on a global managers network, climate change adaptation strategies and sustainable fisheries, and invites States Parties, the World Heritage Centre and other stakeholders to continue to provide human and financial resources to support for the implementation of the Programme;
  13. Further acknowledges the results achieved in the implementation of the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme, in particular the development of the Sustainable Tourism and Visitor Management Assessment tool and encourages States Parties to participate in the pilot testing of the tool, expresses appreciation for the funding provided by the European Commission and further thanks the Republic of Korea, Norway, and Seabourn Cruise Line for their support in the implementation of the Programme’’s activities;
  14. Further notes the progress in the implementation of the Small Island Developing States Programme, its importance for a representative, credible and balanced World Heritage List and building capacity of site managers and stakeholders to implement the World Heritage Convention, thanks furthermore Japan and the Netherlands for their support as well as the International Centre on Space Technology for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) and  the World Heritage Institute of Training & Research for the Asia & the Pacific Region (WHITRAP) as Category 2 Centres for their technical and financial supports and also requests the States Parties and other stakeholders to continue to provide human, financial and technical resources for the implementation of the Programme;
  15. Takes note of the activities implemented jointly by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and ICOMOS under the institutional guidance of the World Heritage Centre, in line with its Decision 40 COM 5D, further requests the World Heritage Centre to disseminate among the States Parties the second volume of the IAU/ICOMOS Thematic Study on Astronomical Heritage and renames this initiative as Initiative on Heritage of Astronomy, Science and Technology;
  16. Also takes note of the progress report on the Initiative on Heritage of Religious Interest, endorses the recommendations of the Thematic Expert Consultation meetings focused on Mediterranean and South-Eastern Europe (UNESCO, 2016), Asia-Pacific (Thailand, 2017) and Eastern Europe (Armenia, 2018), thanks the States Parties for their generous contribution and reiterates its invitation to States Parties and other stakeholders to continue to support this Initiative, as well as its associated Marketplace projects developed by the World Heritage Centre;
  17. Takes note of the activities implemented by CRATerre in the framework of the World Heritage Earthen Architecture Programme, under the overall institutional guidance of the World Heritage Centre, and of the lines of action proposed for the future, if funding is available;
  18. Invites States Parties, international organizations and donors to contribute financially to the Thematic Programmes and Initiatives as the implementation of thematic priorities is no longer feasible without extra-budgetary funding;
  19. Requests furthermore the World Heritage Centre to submit an updated result-based report on Thematic Programmes and Initiatives, under Item 5A: Report of the World Heritage Centre on its activities, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.

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Code: 33COM 5B

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/5B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 5B adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Noting with satisfaction the progress achieved in the implementation of the World Heritage Programme for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and noting that in practice the World Heritage Centre will continue addressing specific issues under regional programmes,

4. Thanks Andorra, Australia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and New Zealand for having provided extra-budgetary funding for World Heritage-related activities in SIDS, as well as other international partners, such as the Shell Foundation, for generating capacity building activities in SIDS;

5. Requests the World Heritage Centre to report at the next session of the Committee on capacity building activities relating to SIDS;

6. Also requests the World Heritage Centre to encourage exchange among SIDS;

7. Further requests the World Heritage Centre to organize, similar to the Pacific World Heritage meeting of 2008 organised by Australia and New Zealand with input from the World Heritage Centre, a regional meeting to review progress in the implementation of the 2004-2014 Action Plan for the Caribbean and to submit a report for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;

8. Requests furthermore the Director of the World Heritage Centre to identify extra budgetary funding for World Heritage activities in SIDS, in particular to further develop the Caribbean Capacity-Building Programme and to introduce a similar regional capacity-building programme for SIDS in the Africa and Pacific regions and the execution of more thematic studies particularly of the cultural land and seascapes, routes (trade of enslaved people) and environmental features of the Caribbean, African and Pacific Regions.

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Code: 30COM 12

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/12,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 12 adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Emphasizing that setting precise but realistic and measurable results and indicators is essential for effective performance appraisal and monitoring,

4. Takes note of the set of performance indicators of all the World Heritage Thematic Programmes which are structured according to the four Strategic Objectives set at its 26th session (Budapest, 2002);

5. Encourages the Director of the World Heritage Centre to seek appropriate funding for these Thematic Programmes and invites donors to provide financial support to this effort;

6. Further requests a management audit in order to facilitate the development of the strategic plan for reinforcing the implementation of the Convention, and that no management structure changes at the World Heritage Centre should occur until the management audit is completed.

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Code: 29COM 5B

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Annex 1 of Document WHC-05/29.COM/5,

2. Approves the World Heritage Programme for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the World Heritage Marine Programme;

3. Requests the Director of the World Heritage Centre to further explore the thematic initiative “Astronomy and World Heritage” as a means to promote, in particular, nominations which recognize and celebrate achievements in science;

4. Approves a biennial budget of US$20,000 for the World Heritage Programme for Small Island Developing States and US$50,000 for the World Heritage Marine Programme, to be financed through the World Heritage Fund, as proposed in Document WHC-05/29.COM/16.

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