Building peace in the minds of men and women

Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Culture

Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Priority 4: Preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage and promoting culture for island sustainable development

 

The SAMOA Pathway outcome document calls upon the international community to support SIDS in designing and implementing their own innovative cultural policies to strengthen heritage and creativity and leverage the economic, social and natural benefits of culture. It further reaffirmed that “indigenous bio-cultural heritage recognizes the deep connections among people, culture, knowledge and the natural environment, and can meaningfully advance sustainable development”. In this context, protecting tangible cultural heritage, safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, promoting responsible sustainable tourism, boosting creative industries and transmitting traditional knowledge are crucial. This also implies adopting a holistic approach to the cultural heritage of SIDS in the specific context of the relationship of these human settlements to the land and the sea that takes into account their especially rich marine and underwater cultural heritage, which requires high levels of protection and whose potential for driving sustainable development is as yet relatively underexplored. The Action Plan aims to support SIDS in addressing these challenges.

Four priority areas in cultural heritage are particularly relevant to address sustainable development in SIDS:

Culture for sustainable development

Principle Objective

To support the development of a dynamic culture sector that harnesses the power of culture for sustainable development through the implementation of normative instruments.

Concrete Actions

  • Encourage the ratification by SIDS of all six UNESCO culture conventions and provide training and institutional capacity-building for their implementation.
  • Support SIDS in the elaboration, revision and adoption of national laws and policies reflecting the principles and provisions of the culture conventions and recommendations, and share best practices in this regard.
  • Encourage SIDS to apply for international assistance through the conventions, particularly in the case of natural disasters, and provide support to that effect.

Recent Progress

  • Concerning the implementation of the 1972 Convention, one SIDS ratified the Convention. Four SIDS Parties developed new or revised Tentative Lists, and three SIDS submitted nomination files conforming to prescribed requirements.
  • Eight SIDS applied to World Heritage Fund International Assistance.
  • One SIDS was supported in the integration of the Convention’s provisions in national laws or policies.
  • Staff capacity was reinforced in 13 SIDS World Heritage properties, focusing on sustainable tourism in two properties. Two properties in SIDS contributed to sustainable tourism development.
  • One World Heritage marine property in SIDS revised its management plan, and managers from six SIDS World Heritage marine properties exchanged management solutions and best practices.
  • Two partnerships were developed in SIDS for conservation. A survey on the upstream process was launched in early 2017 in order to develop harmonized proposals for its implementation, in particular, to address the needs of SIDS.
  • Youth from 10 Caribbean SIDS were involved in the “World Heritage Youth Project on Marine Biodiversity and Climate Change”. Several SIDS participated in the meetings of the governing bodies of the Convention.
  • Under the 2005 Convention, two SIDS ratified the Convention.
  • Five SIDS applied for funding from the International Fund for Cultural Diversity.
  • Seychelles, Mauritius and Barbados adopted national policies that promote the diversity of cultural expressions, including cultural goods, services and activities.
  • Samoa was supported in its effort to integrate the Convention into national cultural policy.
  • Cuba submitted its quadrennial report.
  • Several SIDS participated in the meetings of the governing bodies of the Convention.

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Cultural and natural heritage

Principle Objective

To enhance the capacities of SIDS to safeguard their cultural and natural heritage, including marine and underwater cultural heritage.

Concrete Actions

  • Assist SIDS in identifying, inventorying and proposing potential heritage sites to the World Heritage Tentative List and in fulfilling compliance requirements associated with World Heritage inscription including assessing and reporting.
  • Enhance cooperation in the sustainable management and conservation of World Heritage cultural, natural and mixed sites in SIDS, paying particular attention to risk management and the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • Integrate the holistic approach to cultural heritage preservation, carried by the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011), into the development policies and planning strategies.
  • Strengthen capacities for protecting, managing and inventorying marine and underwater cultural heritage taking into account SIDS specific conservation challenges, including through sharing best management practices, and promote responsible public access.
  • Support SIDS in the preservation, management and promotion of moveable heritage and museum collections and associated knowledge, promote the use of legal and practical tools to fight against the commercial exploitation, illicit removal and trafficking of land and underwater cultural heritage and encourage restitution of stolen or illicitly exported cultural objects.

Recent Progress

  • Concerning the 2001 Convention, three SIDS ratified it and two SIDS adapted their national law.
  • The Technical Advisory Body dispatched four technical mission, including one to assist Haiti in underwater cultural heritage preservation and management.
  • One assistance project was undertaken in Cuba.
  • Several SIDS participated in the meetings of the governing bodies of the Convention.

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Living heritage and cultural industries

Principle Objective

To promote living heritage, creative and cultural industries and harness their potential for sustainable development.

Concrete Actions

  • Strengthen the capacities of SIDS to safeguard and transmit their intangible cultural heritage and traditional knowledge through capacity-building and policy advice.
  • Support the development of cultural and creative industries and foster enhanced access to international markets for creative industry professionals, local artists and creators, cultural goods and services from SIDS through capacity development and policy support.

Recent Progress

  • With regard to the 2003 Convention, six SIDS were supported in the integration of the Convention’s provisions in national laws or policies.
  • Seven SIDS ratified the Convention during the reporting period.
  • Five periodic reports on the implementation of the Convention at the national level were submitted by SIDS State Parties and three were examined by the committee.
  • Human and institutional resources for intangible cultural heritage were strengthened in 13 SIDS.
  • Several SIDS participated in the meetings of the governing bodies of the Convention. 

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Sustainable tourism

Principle Objective

To encourage the development and management of culturally sensitive and responsible sustainable tourism.

Concrete Actions

  • Facilitate the development and management of sustainable tourism at heritage sites, and support the design and implementation of participatory measures harnessing the potential of SIDS cultures, cultural and natural heritage, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions to generate employment opportunities and revenues, in particular for youth.
  • Support the adoption of appropriate policies and measures to ensure that communities, groups and individuals concerned are the primary beneficiaries of tourism associated with their culture while promoting their lead role in developing and managing such tourism.

Recent Progress

  • Staff capacity was reinforced in 13 SIDS World Heritage properties, focusing on sustainable tourism in two properties.
  • Two properties in SIDS contributed to sustainable tourism development.

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