Capacity Building for Sustainable Tourism at World Heritage Sites in Suriname

From 19 to 20 July 2022, a two-day workshop on “Sustainable Tourism Strategy for World Heritage Properties in Suriname” was organized, bringing together representatives of government institutions, managers of World Heritage sites and representatives of the local communities to identify current challenges and opportunities. for the development of sustainable tourism in sites designated by UNESCO. The workshop was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Japanese government, through the Japanese Trust Fund under the project “SIDS Capacity Building Project: Safeguarding Heritage in the Caribbean by Developing Sustainable Tourism Strategies”.

With two World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, “Central Suriname Nature Reserve” (2000) and “Paramaribo Historic Inland City” (2002), as well as “The Jodensavane Archaeological Site: Jodensavane Settlement and Cemetery of Cassipora Creek” on the provisional list, the potential of Suriname to develop sustainable tourism strategies in the short, medium and long term to create employment opportunities and generate regular income streams for local communities, offering great prospects for sustainable protection and sustained heritage and economic, social and environmental development of the community, still remains largely untapped.

For both Suriname World Heritage Sites, the effective management of these properties, for the benefit of local communities and other stakeholders, is of paramount importance. I hope that together we can set strategic priorities and strengthen the capacities of heritage site managers, as well as the communities adjacent to UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Hon.Dinotha Vorswijk, Minister of Territorial Policies and Forest Management, Suriname

In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Anna Paolini, Representative and Director of the UNESCO Office in Jamaica, highlighted the rich cultural and natural diversity that makes Suriname home to a dazzling melting pot of cultures and a world-renowned rainforest. for its ecosystems, habitats and ecological niches of importance for global conservation.

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In culturally rich and diverse Suriname, the development of sustainable tourism strategies for heritage sites constitutes an essential investment in the future for sustained and inclusive economic growth that takes into account the principles of cultural diversity.

Dr. Anna Paolini, Representative and Director of the UNESCO Office in Jamaica

Chris Seek, UNESCO International Consultant on Sustainable Tourism, trained participants in understanding cross-sectoral and multi-level assessment of tourism in and around World Heritage sites, as well as how to establish a shared vision, drive community involvement and design a clear plan. roadmap to support the development of a sustainable tourism strategy, both at the national and destination levels, for Suriname’s World Heritage sites. During the workshop, the exercises focused on identifying existing challenges and urgent actions that need to be taken to revitalize tourism and how to strengthen the visibility and marketing of World Heritage at national and international levels.

Improved communication and cooperation between stakeholders, weak maintenance systems, nascent public-private partnerships, improved management and governance systems, renewed involvement of local communities, and increased access to resources Financial issues were identified as some of the main barriers and priorities that need to be addressed. .

As a result of the stakeholder consultations and workshop, the sustainable tourism strategy for each site will be developed.

“It is the first time that I have participated in such a fruitful workshop and I will continue working for Jodensavanne with a renewed experience, which gives me strength to continue.”

Johannes Sabajo, member of the indigenous community and Head Basja of Redi Doti

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Before the workshop, a delegation from UNESCO, the Ministry of Territorial Policies and Forest Management, the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Tourism, the Foundation of the Built Heritage of Suriname (SGES), the Foundation for the Preservation of Nature (STINASU) , the Jodensavanne Foundation, and the National Commission of Suriname for UNESCO, made visits to the two World Heritage Sites, as well as the Jodensavane Archaeological Site: Jodensavanne Settlement and Cassipora Creek Cemetery, on the tentative list. By meeting with the representatives of the local communities, the site visits were aimed at informing about the central objective of the project and fostering self-appropriation and ownership by actively involving them in the drafting and future implementation of the tourism strategy as main stakeholders and guardians of the world heritage.

© CSNR stakeholder consultation © UNESCO

Field visit in Jodensavanne © UNESCO

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