Environment

Jamaica takes World Heritage seat

Monday, November 25, 2013    

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JAMAICA was last week elected to the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, for the first time in the history of the committee.

At the elections in Paris Tuesday, Jamaica received more votes than Angola for a seat on the important Committee which decides whether a property is inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Other countries represented are: Croatia, Finland, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Vietnam and Turkey. Jamaica's membership will run until 2017 and the country will be represented by Mr Vivian Crawford and Dr Janice Lindsay.

Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Lisa Hanna — who led the lobby for support of Jamaica's candidacy for membership on the Committee — described the vote as historic, important and well-deserved.

"I am elated that we won our bid for membership of the World Heritage Committee. It was a difficult lobby, but we never relented as a seat at this table has exponential benefits to our country for the future as we are positioning culture as a pillar for growth. So in that respect, we can say mission accomplished," she said.

"But the work to promote and protect our heritage continues. As a member of the World Heritage Committee, Jamaica will represent the interests of Small Island Developing States that are not very well represented — or in our case, not represented at all — on the list of World Heritage Sites."

The election to the committee was due to the consistent lobbying efforts of the Jamaican Embassy in Brussels, the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of Youth and Culture and Minister Hanna's overtures at the recent UNESCO General Conference.

Minister Hanna said "this is a historic day for our country as Jamaica has never had a property inscribed as a world heritage site despite our culture and heritage being revered by the globe".

She urged Jamaicans to keep interested as the progress continues.

Jamaica has applied for the Blue and John Crow Mountains to be inscribed on the World Heritage List and will begin preparing a dossier for Port Royal's nomination to the List. Jamaica will also be putting a case for reggae music to be inscribed on the Intangible Heritage List.

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