In the run up to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Assembly this June in Bahrain, St. Kitts and Nevis has not lost time since it was elected to this body last November to build relations with other members and heritage site applicants across the world.
On a recent study visit to Japan, the Federation’s Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, Dr. David P. Doyle, was invited by the Japanese government to visit its nomination site “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”, which awaits review and endorsement as a world heritage site at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee in Bahrain.
The visit comes at a time when St. Kitts and Nevis seeks to reinforce its relations and gain expertise from existing Committee members and seasoned experienced UNESCO states with decades of a legacy in heritage site preparations and nominations. The Federation is preparing its own nomination for review by the World Heritage Committee in 2020, in the form of the old city of Charlestown.
Experience and best practiced acquired by Ambassador Doyle in Nagasaki and that of Mr Antonio Maynard, Secretary General of the SKN National Commission for UNESCO, who was invited to South Korea last month on a similar study visit, will contribute to refining the Federation’s nomination dossier associated with Charlestown.
In Japan, Ambassador Doyle undertook site visits accompanied by officials from the Nagasaki municipal authorities, the Japanese Cultural and foreign ministries. He was received by the Governor of Nagasaki, Hon. Mr. Nakamura at his reception hosted by the Japanese Delegation, along with UNESCO Ambassadors from Brazil, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Indonesia.
Asked to offer a word of thanks to the Governor and other high-level dignitaries at the event on behalf of the visiting UNESCO Ambassadors, Dr. Doyle stated that “to the outside world, these Japanese sites represent a hidden ancestral heritage that needs to be preserved and promoted by local communities of all faiths, youth, foreign tourists, academics and for future generations”. Dr Doyle noted some tangible examples of best practice at the Japanese sites for St. Kitts and Nevis to replicate in terms of governance and management of sites.
Remarked Secretary General Mr Maynard “outreach activities undertaken by Ambassador Doyle to Japan, and my earlier visit to South Korea, contribute to building critical relationships with more experienced UNESCO heritage members to enable St. Kitts and Nevis gain experience and technical expertise on heritage nomination practices and preservation policies.”
UNESCO’s dedicated heritage institute, ICOMOS (The International Council on Monuments and Sites) – a professional association that works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places around the world – intervened in Charlestown earlier this year to provide a preliminary assessment of the potential heritage site in terms of its Outstanding Universal Value.
In further developments this week, the Hon. Shaun Richards, Minister for Education, Sports and Culture within the government of Kitts and Nevis, announced that the Federation is submitting its candidacy for a seat on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee at elections in Paris on 6 June.