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Grenadines set to join World Heritage sites

Grenadines set to join World Heritage sites

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by Omesha Spence 27.MAR.09

The Grenadine Islands are being considered to join the ranks of the best sites of the world as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.{{more}}

This was the main topic of discussion during a workshop held on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, under the name “The Grenadines as a World Heritage Site.”

The one-day workshop was held at the Anglican Pastoral Centre at New Montrose and included participants from the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. The workshop also featured presentations by various officials on the biodiversity, heritage and culture of the Grenadine islands,

which gives them criteria unique enough to be added to the World Heritage Site list.

The World Heritage List currently comprises 878 sites around the world, which the governing body of the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. This outstanding universal value pertains to the natural and cultural aspects of the site in question, which makes it one of a kind. The sites are located in about 145 countries and are separated into cultural, mixed (natural and cultural) and natural categories. A mixed site (natural/cultural) is being proposed for addition of the Grenadines to the World Heritage List.

Speaking on the culture of Grenada and the Grenadine Islands, Tourism official of Grenada Michael Jessamy described the natural and historical aspects of the area which makes it unique. Jessamy, who described these natural sites as “phenomenons”, included the under sea volcano Kick ‘em Jenny, among others. He also declared that many regard Grenada as the best sailing region in the world and Carriacou as the healthiest place to live. These declarations by others he said should be used as Unique Selling Points (USP) when presenting the Grenadines as a heritage site, as well as attracting persons to the region. “We do not thrive on our USP’s and that is where we are weak,” he added.

Also making a presentation, Professor Robin Mahon of SusGren (Sustainable Grenadines Project)/CERMES UWI Barbados stated that the process of getting the Grenadines approved as a heritage site may be a strenuous one. “We realize that there is a lot to do to be ready to put yourself forward as a heritage site,” he told participants.

The process begins with the nomination of the Grenadines as a transboundary site. Extensive research would also be done on the islands, a full documentation on the values of the Grenadines needs to be compiled and a conservation management strategy must be proposed for the Grenadines. Since two countries border the Grenadines, St. Vincent and Grenada, it will require discussions between the Government of the two countries before it can proceed in its operations. If successful, a tentative list outlining the sites selected for nomination as well as the cultural and natural values of the sites in question will be submitted to the World Heritage Committee for inspection and possible approval.

Professor Mahon also presented on SusGren’s projects. SusGren aids in the development of the Grenadine Islands for the social and economic well-being of the people who live there. Projects of SusGren include sustaining marine activities and landscape development in the Grenadine as well as capacity building of NGO’s (Non Governmental Organizations.) A third phase of the project was also proposed during the workshop so that it may become self-sustaining.

The project, whose second phase expires in December 2009, was funded by numerous organizations, including the Lighthouse Foundation, the Government of both Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and CERMES (Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies) UWI Barbados.

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