St George’s Unesco status ‘not under threat’

  • Island attraction: the historic Town of St George

    Island attraction: the historic Town of St George

The World Heritage Site status of St George is not under threat, despite a delay in the preparation of a five-year management plan required by Unesco to retain the coveted title.

A government spokeswoman said a draft of the plan was delayed because of a shortage of staff at the Department of Planning.

She explained: “The department experienced a setback with respect to not having a resource in place to manage the historic environment, but are currently in the recruiting process.”

The spokeswoman added that the next step would be to get Cabinet approval to allow the plan to be submitted for “review and feedback”.

If the character of World Heritage Sites is not maintained, Unesco, the United Nations’ education, science and culture arm, can put them on a list of threatened sites.

The spokeswoman said: “To this end, the new 2020 to 2025 Management Plan is a key tool to ensure the retention of our Unesco status.”

But she added: “Bermuda has not been placed on any list for being under threat.”

The Government launched a public consultation process to help draw up the management plan in January.

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said earlier this year that the 2020 to 2025 World Heritage Site Management draft plan would be made available to the public in the summer.

The five-year plan is needed to “ensure proper management” of the Olde Towne and its associated fortifications.

Cheryl Hayward-Chew, the chairwoman of the World Heritage Site Management Committee, made up of representatives of non-profit organisations and government departments, said: “The World Heritage Site Management Committee acts in an advisory capacity to the Department of Planning and in the case of the draft management plan, assisted through information gathering and providing stakeholder input.”

The Government said members of the public provided “valuable insights for the subsequent drafting” of the plan.

Representatives from Bermuda also attended the 2018 World Heritage UK Conference in November last year.

Charlotte Andrews, former acting heritage officer for the Department of Planning, said at the time: “The timing and theme of the World Heritage UK conference aligned with our current work.

“The issues we explored in London are informing our management plan review, which is taking a holistic look at the needs of the World Heritage Site and will involve extensive public consultation.”

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Published Oct 23, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 23, 2019 at 7:35 am)

St George’s Unesco status ‘not under threat’

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