Ministerial Meeting on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean

Lima, Peru, 16-17 October 2013

UNESCO and the Peruvian Ministry of Culture organized a Ministerial Meeting on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean in Lima, Peru on 16-17 October 2013. This high-level meeting, which joined Ministers of Culture, Directors of Heritage Agencies, Heads of National Commissions for UNESCO and international experts, addressed current issues regarding the protection and research of submerged heritage, but evaluated also its potentials for development, education, and tourism in the Caribbean and Latin American regions.

The Caribbean and Latin-American regions provided separate recommendations for Action Plans with the goal of creating concrete and appropriate policies to apply better safeguard strategies for underwater cultural heritage and fully valorize its potentials.

Both regions’ representatives strongly encouraged the ratification of the 2001 Convention by States that had not yet done so.

The Caribbean region decided further to set up a steering committee in order to take practical action to establish inventories and research the region’s submerged heritage, and to monitor and share experiences with regard to the implementation of the 2001 Convention. They also strongly encouraged the regional political organizations, as for example CARICOM, to ensure the region’s implementation of the commitment to the 2001 Convention. The steering committee will now also evaluate the possibility of developing a large regional underwater cultural heritage project which will link the Caribbean islands to each other, be it in form of a cultural route or a large research project. The Caribbean participants welcomed the offer made by the Bahamas to host the next Regional Meeting in 2014, which will offer the opportunity to focus on practical aspects regarding the implementation of the 2001 Convention.

The Latin American region’s representatives underlined in their Action Plan the necessity of adapting national laws, mapping underwater sites, building capacity, strengthening public education and identity, and taking action to prevent the pillaging of submerged heritage. In addition, projects such as developing cultural routes based on underwater cultural heritage, promoting access to sites, and developing marine parks were recommended. The Latin American representatives highlighted the need to organize small regional country meetings and involve enterprises as well.

Participating countries were Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Marten, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Present in their functions as experts were also the Directors of Heritage Programmes or Maritime Heritage Programmes of France, Spain and the USA and representatives of UNESCO’s Headquarters and Lima, Kingston and Havana offices.


Presentations of 16 Oct. 2013:

• Cómo desarrollar la Arqueología Subacuática en la región: Generación de capacidades locales en torno al PCS, By : Diego Carabias
• Underwater Cultural Heritage of Port Royal, By: Dorrick Gray
• La prehistoria y la historia bajo el agua en América Latina, By : Luis A. Martos
• Información general sobre la Ley del Mar, sus zonas marítimas y la protección jurídica del patrimonio cultural subacuático, By : Rafael R. Manteca
• Underwater Cultural Heritage sites for St. Maarten, By: Patricia Lourens
• El Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático Y La Convención de la UNESCO de 2001, By : Ulrike Guerin
• La Convención de la UNESCO de 2001, By : Ulrike Guerin

Presentations of 17 Oct. 2013:

• Is the destruction of underwater heritage inevitable? French archaeologists recount their experience, By: Michel L’Hour
• The Mary Rose Project, By: Christopher Dobbs
• How can the protection and preservation of underwater cultural heritage contribute to sustainable development?, By: James Delgado
• Spanish Shipwrecks in Florida, By: Della A. Scott-Ireton
• Making the Heritage Accessible, By: Himalchuli Gurung
• La acción de la UNESCO para el fortalecimiento de la investigación arqueológica subacuática y capacidades en la región, By : Tatiana Villegas

Back to top