The Ninth Forum of Ministers of Cultural Heritage of Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place in Cartagena, Colombia from 27 to 30 June 1997 has formally endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of an expert meeting calling for the nomination of a multi-national "Fortifications in the Caribbean."  The Ministers decided to support the initiative of Colombia to work towards the inscription of a coherent ensemble of fortifications in the Caribbean on the World Heritage List.  In this context, they also decided to support the study of new categories of cultural and natural heritage within the framework of the World Heritage Convention such as cultural landscapes, cultural routes, industrial heritage, the heritage of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and expressions of living cultures.

This decision, together with future Global Strategy and Thematic Meetings, will undoubtedly contribute to a better representation of Latin America and the Caribbean on the World Heritage List.

The expert meeting on the Fortifications in the Caribbean took place in Cartagena, Colombia from 31 July to 2 August 1996. The meeting, which included experts from Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela was organized on the initiative of the Colombian Institute for Culture (COLCULTURA) and was supported by the World Heritage Fund.

The report of the expert meeting includes a preliminary inventory of the most representative fortifications in the Caribbean, subdivided in four categories: fortified cities, garrisons, military forts and fortified systems, as well as a strategy for the inscription of the fortifications on the World Heritage List.