30.12.2013 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Indigenous culture inseparable from heritage and identity of the Pacific community

The 5th Pacific World Heritage Workshop took place at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva, Fiji, from 27 – 30 November 2013, bringing about over 50 experts from 14 Pacific island countries and territories and national and regional partners.

At the Opening session, Mr Etienne Clement, new Director of the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States Parties, in his video message, congratulated Fiji for the inscription of Levuka Historical Port Town on the World Heritage List and thanked USP for hosting the Workshop. He also outlined his vision relating to his new assignment, encouraging Pacific member states to join the UNESCO Conventions in culture.

Representing the host country, Mr Kaunisel, Permanent Secretary of iTaukei Affairs said “Indigenous culture is inseparable from heritage and defines the cultural identity of the Pacific islands and the community”. 

The Workshop participants undertook a midterm review of the Pacific World Heritage Action Plan (2010-2015).  They took note of positive progress in its implementation. This included not only new World Heritage sites in the Pacific but also the development of the cultural policies in some of the Pacific SIDS.  Ms Adi Meretui Ratunabuabua, PHH manager, made a progress report on the PHH activities since its establishment.  The participants endorsed PHH’s Strategy and workplan for 2014.

The participants discussed common challenges and needs that were included in the final outcome document.  Several issues were identified, including the sustainability of PHH, capacity building for management plan development, Access and Benefits Sharing (ABS), climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, and innovative partnerships for sustainable financing for the heritage preservation and management in the Pacific SIDS. 

The participants also expressed strong support for the inclusion of culture as an enabler and driver for sustainable development in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This Workshop was held with the financial assistance under UNESCO/Australian Finds-in-Trust and Australia ICOMOS.

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