Course participants sign declaration on historical preservation

POSTED: 04/12/11 12:10 PM

St. Maarten/Curacao – Civil Servant and author Loekie Morales, who is also president of the Beyond Writing Foundation, joined other participants in the first Caribbean heritage course in signing the Willemstad Declaration on Caribbean heritage. Morales and her colleagues were also presented certificates of participation from Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte and President of ICOMOS Gustavo Araoz.

The agreement was signed on April 1, at the end of the course, which was opened on April 21 that included 21 participants from 13 countries. The conference was planned and hosted by the University of the Netherlands Antilles, the Curaçao Monument Funds Foundation and the Department of Urban and Regional Development, Planning and Housing, with support from UNESCO’s office in Havana, Cuba.

The declaration recognizes that courses like the recently concluded one create and reinforce “much needed” professional networks, called for the modules to be offered to a broader public through the region’s universities, that the course, initiated  by the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), should continue via financial and technical means sourced by the U.N. agency and that ICOMOS and IUCN work with UNESCO and other regional and international organizations to intensify technical support and heritage education.

“Furthermore, that the Governments of the region need to give greater attention to the rich heritage of our region by reinforcing relevant legislation and policies at the national levels, enhancing regional cooperation, and ratifying the international conventions that foster international cooperation in the protection of the natural and cultural heritage; and that urgent attention needs to be given in the entire region to the integrated conservation and interrelationship of natural and cultural heritage, and in the case of the latter, to all its components, to include in particular the archaeological and the intangible,” the parties stated in their declaration.

Participants in the course now have two European credits for each module they covered. In the first week the participants covered Application of the World Heritage Convention and in the second week they covered Management of Historic Town Centers. Both modules were concluded with an exercise.

The participants also did two excursions as part of the course. The first was to Savonet plantation, now a World Heritage site, and the second was to historic districts of Pietermaai, Punda and Otrabanda, which are part of Curacao’s historic town center of Willemstad, which has been a world heritage site since 1997.


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