photo credit Antwan Edwards Red Bicycle

Bermuda invites UNESCO for Advisory Mission

March 18, 2024 Published by Alex McCoskrie

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The Government of Bermuda has invited UNESCO for an Advisory Mission to their World Heritage Site – the Historic Town of St. George’s and Related Fortifications.

UNESCO views the Town as “an authentic and one of the earliest examples of an English colonial town in the New World. Its associated fortifications graphically illustrate the development of English military engineering from the 17th to the 20th century, adapted to consider the development of artillery over this period. Some of these forts are unique as surviving examples of the first defensive works built by early European colonists, few examples of which now remain intact. The later associated forts represent an excellent example of a continuum of British coastal fortifications”. St. George’s was inscribed in 2000.

A Buffer Zone protects the Town and Forts via legislation and policies such as the Development and Planning Act 1974 and the Bermuda Plan 2018, setting complementary legal and/or customary restrictions on use and development within the surrounding area of the Town to give an added layer of protection. The Government of Bermuda understands the former Capital is in dire need of economic revitalisation and wishes to designate the area as an Economic Empowerment Zone, agree for a designated ferry during peak tourist season and other incentives to assist the Corporation in driving investment to the Town. Multiple major construction projects have begun over the last decade such as the St. Regis Development and The St. George’s Marina Project, with the goals of increasing immediate investment in the short-term while simultaneously increasing tourism investment in the long-term.

UNESCO has noticed this change in philosophy for the Island and has recently made their position known to the State Party. Acknowledging UNESCO’s renewed interest for the Olde English colonial town and former Capital, the Government of Bermuda has invited representatives of UNESCO to the Historic Town to perform an Advisory Mission for the purpose of:

  • Conducting an overall assessment of the Town of St. George’s World Heritage Property
  • Review any current or proposed developments in the area
  • Review and advise on the Planning protections and management measures currently established in legislation and those intended to be
  • Engage with decision makers and relevant stakeholders involved in the maintenance and preservation of the WHS

UNESCO’s only visit to the WHS was in 2000. It is intended for this Advisory Mission to allow the Government of Bermuda, Corporation of St. George’s and any relevant stakeholder, to directly discuss the overall direction for the Town, address any concerns UNESCO may have, and seek its opinion on the Town.

Representatives of UNESCO will arrive later in March on a 5-day visit. After the Advisory Mission concludes, UNESCO will produce a report to the State Party and the Government of Bermuda.