October 10, 2023 — The Organisation of Caribbean States, OECS, congratulates Martinique on Montagne Pelée and Northern Pitons’ designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. On September 16, a French delegation presented a strong case to the 45th UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which met in Saudi Arabia, for Montagne Pelée and Pitons du Carbet’s inclusion to the revered list. On Saturday, September 16, the jury concluded with the approval of Martinique’s candidacy.
Currently, there are 1,184 World Heritage sites in 166 countries across the globe, with three situated in the Caribbean Region – the Pitons Management Area in Saint Lucia, Morne Trois Pitons National Park in Dominica and the newest addition, Volcanoes and Forests of Mount Pelée and the Pitons of Northern Martinique.
The OECS Director General has long advocated for Montagne Pelée’s inclusion in the World Heritage List. Upon receiving the news, he stated:
"The OECS is extremely pleased with Montagne Pelée and Northern Pitons’ inscription to the World Heritage List. OECS Member States have a rich, diverse, and unique history that reverberates through our mountains and valleys, and therefore, are happy that Montagne Pelée and the Northern Pitons have joined the Pitons in Saint Lucia and Dominica’s Morne Trois Pitons National Park inscription under the natural category, along with the other sites around the world to share our stories.”
Two other sites in the OECS are inscribed under the cultural category - Antigua and Barbuda’s Naval Dockyard and Related Archaeological Sites and Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.
At the the recent 10th OECS Council of Ministers for Environmental Sustainability, held 12-13 July 2023 in Anguilla, OECS Member States: REAFFIRMED support to Martinique in their candidacy towards World Heritage inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list of the volcanoes and forests of Montagne Pelée and the Pitons of Northern Martinique, noting the special value towards geologic research and biodiversity conservation, and COMMITTED to … continue regional dialogue, exploration and collaboration, to the extent possible, on management and networking of the natural sites, and on scientific and economic cooperation.
According to UNESCO, the global importance of Montagnet Pelée and the Pitons du Carbet is based on the representation of volcanic elements, materials and processes. The eruption of 1902-1905 is considered a key event in the history of volcanology which had dramatic consequences for the town of Saint-Pierre, resulting in the tragic loss of lives and a heritage which is part of the culture of Martinique. Globally threatened species are found in this serial property, including the Martinique allobate (Allobates chalcopis), the common snake (Erythrolamprus cursor) and the endemic Martinique oriole (Icterus bonana).
“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972” (Source: UNESCO.org). According to the Convention, Cultural and Natural Heritage could be monuments, groups of buildings, sites (including archaeological, historical, and aesthetic sites), natural features, geological and physiological formations, and natural sites.