KINGSTON, Jamaica – As part of Jamaica’s continued push to have the Blue and John Crow Mountains designated as a World Heritage Site, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has provided over $ 13 million to date to support the venture. This is in-keeping with TEF’s primary mandate to enhance the tourism product including developing and safeguarding heritage sites and points of interest. The project is being executed under a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and its agencies, and the Ministry of Youth and Culture.
Included in the $ 13 million allocated by TEF, is the latest tranche of over $ 4.6 million, which was approved recently to facilitate a trip by a Jamaican contingent to Bonn, Germany where they will defend Jamaica’s nomination at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee Meeting, which runs from June 28 – July 8, 2015.
Success of the application will see the Blue and John Crow Mountains listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a place of special cultural of physical significance (or World Heritage Site).
The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. It names, catalogues and most importantly conserves sites which are deemed to be of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. In some instances listed sites can also obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund.
In January 2014, the TEF provided some $ 3. 4 million to facilitate the finalization of the dossier to support the nomination of the Blue and John Crow Mountains for addition to the list. In September 2014, another $5.3 million was granted to facilitate pre-evaluation visits to several Maroon sites and evaluation of the area by international advisory bodies.
In expressing pleasure at the progress of the venture Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill said “this is a very important project which is aimed at preserving one of the most scenic and environmentally diverse areas in Jamaica. The Blue and John Crow Mountains are a key component of our beautiful landscape, and no doubt will attract the growing number of travellers with a special interest in culture.”
Executive Director of the TEF, Mr. Clyde Harrison, underscored that the preservation and enhancement of heritage sites remains a key focus of the TEF. “The TEF remains committed to supporting this venture, which will ultimately benefit every Jamaican by helping to safeguard this important area. As we mark our 10th anniversary we will continue to focus on these types of programmes, that will ensure the preservation of our heritage sites for generations to come,” he said.
Sites inscribed on the World Heritage List also benefit from the expansion and implementation of a comprehensive management plan which sets out adequate monitoring mechanisms and preservation measures. To facilitate this, experts often provide technical training for the local site management team.