ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Codrington Lagoon in Barbuda could soon be ranked alongside the likes of the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef as a UNESCO World Heritage Site if a local campaign is successful.
That’s according to the Antigua & Barbuda UNESCO representative Dr Reginald Murphy, who said he is hoping to get the application process started.
“World heritage offers a whole lot of opportunities, advertising that we can’t pay for, there are posters that come out every year and sent all over the world, there are web sites, media coverage,” said Dr Murphy, adding “it gives you that extra level of respectability and credibility.”
Dr Murphy said he has already had positive discussions with all the stakeholders required to be a part of the application process including members of the Barbuda Council and the head of the national parks in Barbuda.
The World Heritage List includes 962 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage, which the UNESCO World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.
These include 745 cultural, 188 natural and 29 mixed properties in 157 countries. As of September 2012, 190 countries have ratified the World Heritage Convention.
“We are trying to increase the number of world heritage sites in the Caribbean region, there is a glaring lack of numbers and yet we have sites that are just as universally valued to mankind,” said Murphy, who serves on the local National Parks Authority.
There are around 17 recognised World Heritage Sites in the Caribbean including the Pitons in St Lucia, the Brimstone Hill Fortress in St Kitts, and the Morne Trois Pitons National Park in Dominica.
Antigua does not yet have any recognised site but the process to have the Nelson’s Dockyard area listed is already underway with the final dossier being prepared.
Dr Murphy said at the end of March this year Antigua will be hosting a major UNESCO meeting with attendance from Caribbean territories aimed at training authorities to complete the application process for world heritage status.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)