Key Outcome of the Pacific World Heritage Workshop
The 4th Pacific World Heritage Workshop was held in Apia from 5 to 9 September 2011. Hosted by the Government of Samoa, it brought together some 70 participants and experts from and outside the Pacific region.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga opened the Workshop. In his keynote speech illustrating the history of the World Heritage Programme and the Pacific, he said "The land, monuments, culture, traditions and way of life that our ancestors have left us are the living proof and testimony to our history, and to the factors that have shaped the uniqueness of our identity".
Under the chair of Mr Taule'ale'ausumai Laavasa Malua, CEO of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Workshop provided an opportunity to share issues and challenges on the World Heritage programme across the Pacific, which included, among others World Heritage periodic reporting, integrated application of international conventions, Pacific Heritage Hub project, Pacific representation at the World Heritage Committee.
The Workshop noted the growing interest in the ways in which World Heritage activities intersect with other natural and cultural conventions. In the culture sector, the participants reaffirmed the interface between tangible and intangible cultural heritage which is very clearly expressed in the Pacific where cultural heritage includes the strong oral traditions and the story of the community. As such, any discussion on cultural heritage in the Paciic involves a broad discussion on ICH safeguarding and community empowerment.
Participants emphasized the importance of cultural and natural heritage in sustaining identity and the well-being of the peoples of the Pacific. In addition, however, they noted that the heritage of the Pacific is valuable as major assets for the sustainable future of the Pacific islands states and territories. Participants argued that maximizing this benefit will require the building of new partnerships - including with the private sector and the tourism industry, and support for cultural industries and heritage-based enterprises at the local level.
Acknowledging considerable progress of the Pacific World Heritage Action Plan (2010-2015) communicated through the country reports presented at the Workshop, the Workshop also identified new regional actions to achieve remaining goals by strengthening networking and capacity building activities. The Workshop also expressed support for Palau's indication of its candidature for the World Heritage Committee.
The outcome of the Workshop including the results of the World Heritage periodic reporting exercise will be finalized as updtated Pacific World Heritage Action Plan and reported at the World Heritage Committee meeting planned for July 2012.
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