Blue and John Crow Mountains (Jamaica) (C/N 1356rev)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2015
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1356/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 10,450
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1356/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Threats identified at the time of the inscription of the property in 2016:
- Insufficient integration of “satellite sites” linked to Maroon tangible and intangible heritage into the interpretation programme of the property
- Forest loss and degradation through agricultural encroachment, primarily in the buffer zone
- Insufficient human and financial resources, including in regards to the facilitation of community involvement
- Deficient legislation and policy to unambiguously protect the property from mineral exploration and extraction
- Invasive alien species (IAS) of both flora and fauna
- Climate change
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1356/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
On 1 December 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1356/documents/ and provides response to the requests and recommendations adopted at the time of the inscription of the property, as summarized hereafter:
- Through negotiations between ministries, governmental agencies and licence owners, the boundaries of all current Special Exclusive Prospecting Licences (SEPLs) have been adjusted to be outside the boundaries of the property. This information is detailed in an accompanying map, an annex signed by the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and confirmed by a separate accompanying Statement on Mining signed by the Minister of Transport and Mining. While three SEPLs (573, 574 and 565) are now outside of both the property and its buffer zone, two exploratory licenses (SEPLs 566, 559) continue to overlap with the buffer zone, for which the State Party notes current scheduling of further discussions;
- The 2010-2030 Draft National Minerals Policy is reported to be in the process of being amended to consider heritage sensitive areas, including World Heritage Sites;
- A revision of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Act is planned in order to strengthen its enforcement role in heritage protection;
- A new policy and additional legislation for the protected areas system is being prepared in an attempt to increase coordination and collaboration among relevant agencies;
- Financial resources received in 2015-2016 by the National Park, which encompasses the smaller property, amounted to JMD 100 million (appr. USD 780,000), of which 35 million were spend annually on core operations and the rest on recreational infrastructure, described as an investment in sustainable funding mechanisms;
- Joint patrolling has been intensified in order to address the issue of agricultural encroachment with over 445 patrols undertaken between February 2015 and August 2016. However, breaches continue to be reported. Parallel awareness-raising by rangers through ‘interpretive enforcement’ is reported to have resulted in increased community support; eventual boundary demarcation is expected to further add clarity;
- The State Party continues to implement various programmes under the 2015-2017 Work Plan, including multiple activities with, and partially led by, the Windward Maroon communities. A Cultural Heritage Preservation Programme is ongoing and includes many activities, e.g. sites surveying and monitoring, guidelines for trails and sites development and operations, preservation plan for maintenance and conservation of the tangible cultural heritage, training of Maroon Cultural Assistants, intangible cultural heritage research and inventorying, and cultural events;
- A new Management Plan for the period 2017-2027 was nearing conclusion at the time of reporting;
- A new five-year licence agreement between the governmental National Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) was signed in 2016; collaborative management is further facilitated through multiple governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, including Windward Maroon councils’ representatives.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies
The strong commitment of the State Party to the conservation and management of the property is expressed in management responses to all requests and recommendations made by the Committee in its Decision 39 COM 8B.7 (Bonn, 2015). The State Party has made laudable progress in reducing risks from future mineral exploration and extraction. However, as acknowledged by the State Party, further efforts are necessary to unambiguously secure the full protection of the property and its buffer zone in this regard. Other factors identified as concretely or possibly affecting the property at the time of inscription, including invasive alien species and illegal commercial extraction of wild biodiversity, also require full consideration in future management.
The results of increased patrolling and awareness-raising are encouraging and need to be sustained by a combination of law enforcement, continuous dialogue between rangers and local communities, further clarification and eventual demarcation of the boundaries and the best possible support to communities in the buffer zone with sustainable land and resource use systems. The various initiatives undertaken to strengthen the role of the Maroon communities in the governance and management of the national park and the property, including the participatory identification and documentation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, are a critically important reflection of the integrated approach in the mixed property and likewise deserve and require the strongest possible support. The announced finalization of the programme for Maroon Cultural Assistants and related training programmes starting soon, as well as the Cultural Heritage Preservation Programme, will be crucial elements of the governance and management.
Resistance to the pressure to build new trails indicates a strong awareness of the need to balance visitation and conservation of sensitive and vulnerable cultural and natural values. The most visited trails and areas, including “satellite sites”, require adequate monitoring and, if needed, management responses.
Despite remaining issues about the adequacy of resourcing, it is considered that the main concerns of the World Heritage Committee are currently being addressed. It is however recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to continue with the finalization of the overarching legal and policy framework, such as amendments to the Draft National Minerals Policy, the revision of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Act and the development and consolidation of national protected area system legislation and policy. It is further recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to set up a robust programme to support the livelihoods of the local communities through environmentally and culturally compatible options in order to prevent any threats from human activity to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The new 10-year Management Plan should be finalized as a matter of priority and its implementation should be supported by the provision of adequate financial and human resources.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.35
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 39 COM 8B.7, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
- Highly commends the State Party for the actions undertaken in response to the Committee’s requests at the time of inscription regarding threats from agricultural encroachment, legal protection of the property against mining prospecting licences and/or operations, as well as integration of the “satellite sites” linked to Maroon tangible and intangible heritage into the interpretation and presentation programme of the property; and recommends that these actions be continued;
- Encourages the State Party to continue supporting the livelihoods of local communities through initiatives related to environmentally and culturally compatible options in order to prevent any threats from human activity to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and consider developing a long-term programme to this end;
- Requests the State Party to finalize, adopt and implement:
- The amendments to the Draft National Minerals Policy so as to secure protection of sensitive cultural and natural areas sustaining the OUV of the property,
- The new overarching policy and legislation for the protected areas system,
- The training programme for Maroon Cultural Assistants and the Preservation Scheme for cultural heritage,
- The new Management Plan 2017-2027, underpinned by adequate human and financial resources, in close coordination and cooperation between governmental actors, civil society and the Windward Maroon communities, and fully considering the factors identified by the World Heritage Committee in Decision 39 COM 8B.7 as affecting the property;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for review by the Advisory Bodies.