10.07.2019 -

Technical exchange on protecting archaeological and historic-built heritage sites ongoing between Belize and Suriname

Historic Site at St George’s Caye, Belize.

A cultural delegation from Suriname met with representatives of Belize's cultural sector for a technical exchange in Belize, from 16 to 30 June 2019.

Both teams exchanged technical expertise on how archaeological and historical monuments are best preserved and managed in each of the two Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean. The exchange, which lasted two weeks, is the first phase of a bilateral project between Belize and Suriname funded by the UNESCO Cluster Office for the English and Dutch Caribbean. This bilateral exchange is designed to translate best practices from the partner country into its own heritage management.

Belize inhabits ancient Mayan archaeological sites and has a well-developed programme for the conservation of its archaeological assets. The historic city center of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage property. The Inner City is known for its wooden Dutch colonial architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Suriname cultural delegation included Policy Officer and Lead Archaeologist Irene Meulenberg and Director of the Suriname Heritage Trust and Paramaribo World Heritage Site Manager Stephen Fokké. During their stay in Belize, they visited several archaeological and historical monuments in six communities. They also visited historic cemeteries and several Mayan archaeological sites where they participated in an excavation. At the end of the technical exchange, the delegation will draft a report on their observations and results aimed at improving the conservation and management of the Mayan archaeological and historic built-heritage sites in Belize.

In the first two weeks of October 2019, a mission from Belize will then travel to Suriname to reverse the technical exchange. In addition to the observations and recommendations, both countries will develop a framework document aimed at exploring efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change on archaeological and historical sites.

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