The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Jamaica, hosts The World Heritage and Climate Change Symposium, in collaboration with the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO (Participatory Program), the UNESCO Cluster Office of the Caribbean, and the Climate Change Division, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, from May 29 to 31, 2017 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.
The Symposium considers SIDS of the Caribbean region and Climate Change, and the urgent need to bring to the fore its potential negative effects on heritage in all its forms, with specific emphasis on World Heritage properties.
Climate Change has been recognized as a clear threat to the Outstanding Universal Value of some World Heritage (WH) properties. The World Heritage Committee in 2005, being concerned, noted ‘the impacts of climate change are affecting many and are likely to affect many more world heritage properties, both natural and cultural, in the years to come,’ and invited experts to undertake detailed research, resulting in various early reports on the issue.
In the Caribbean sub-region, hurricanes, prolonged periods of droughts, flooding, erosion, other weather phenomena, and an increase in oceanic and atmospheric temperatures are having a severe impact on local climate, built heritage, and a myriad of threats to biodiversity. This has resulted in the impacts of climate change being addressed in the last cycle of the WH Periodic Reporting Exercise (2013) in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Barbados Programme of Action which addresses issues facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the Latin America and Caribbean Action Plan 2014-2024, the Caribbean Action Plan for World Heritage 2015 – 2019, and the Caribbean Capacity-building Programme.
The Symposium considers SIDS of the Caribbean region and Climate Change, and the urgent need to bring to the fore its potential negative effects on heritage in all its forms, with specific emphasis on World Heritage properties. As other SIDS are impacted by Climate Change, expertise from the Asia-Pacific region will also be sought to share and compare best practices, as well as provide technical
guidance on how to safeguard against extreme impacts of climate change on heritage, particularly in having appropriate management responses specific to World Heritage in the Caribbean.
The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, in collaboration with UNESCO’s Participation Programme, the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, and the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, in recognizing the effects of climate change on the Caribbean region and its current and potential impacts on heritage, has sought to engage World Heritage site managers and technical representatives/policy makers within the Ministries responsible for Culture across the region.
The Symposium will take place over three days, under the theme, ‘Rallying for the protection of Culture and Heritage in SIDS under a sustainable 21st century climate change agenda.’ It proposes to utilize the Blue and John Crow Mountains, the Caribbean’s only mixed World Heritage property, as a case study for discussing the potential effects of climate change on both the natural and cultural values of the property.
The Symposium aims, through presentations on shared experiences at WH properties, to bring awareness to the threat of climate change among site managers and policy makers, as well as the main elements of useful management strategies to respond to climate change. Best practices from experts will be shared, culminating in the development of a manual of best practices and management strategies, to include also the need to integrate climate change strategies within overall risk preparedness planning and strategies.
It is anticipated that at the end of the Symposium, participants will have an understanding of policies needed to address the impacts of climate change on heritage, an outline of appropriate management strategies unique to WH properties in the Caribbean sub-region, and an outline of relevant and practical measures for identifying, assessing and monitoring to mitigate the impact and potential impacts of climate change. The Symposium also aims to strengthen regional and international collaborations to assist in preserving and safeguarding tangible and intangible heritage resources in the sub-region.
Direct beneficiaries will number approximately 40, to include 12 Caribbean countries with WH properties, local ministries and agencies. Participants will include two from each country, in particular WH site managers and policy makers/technical representatives in Ministries responsible for Culture.
Date and venue: May 29-31, 2017, Kingston, Jamaica
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Dominican Republic
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
 See ‘Predicting and managing the effects of Climate Change on World Heritage’ and Strategy to assist States Parties to Implement Appropriate Management Responses’ endorsed by the WH Committee at its 30th Session (Vilnius, 2006)