“A historic moment for Martinique, but beyond that, for the Caribbean and the whole world”: it is with these words that the president of the executive council of Martinique, Serge Letchimy, welcomed the inscription, Saturday September 16, of Mount Pelée and the peaks of northern Martinique on the UNESCO world heritage list. The decision was validated in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee.
Mount Pelée and the northern peaks cover an area of 13,980 hectares, or 12% of Martinique's territory. This inscription “represents a powerful and valuable conservation tool but it is also the expression of an ecological identity,” added Serge Letchimy.
For its part, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sees it as “a recognition of the universal value of Martinique’s natural heritage, which is distinguished by its exceptional geology and biodiversity”. This constitutes “a strong signal in favor of the preservation of biodiversity,” continued the Quai d’Orsay.
Expected increase in the number of visitors
According to the Martinique Natural Park, the World Heritage listing “could increase the number of visitors by 30 to 40%” to the island.
The eruption of Mount Pelée on May 8, 1902 caused the death of nearly 28,000 people. One hundred and twenty-one years after its explosion, the volcano, still active, remains under permanent surveillance.
With this registration, Martinique acquires its third Unesco label in two years, after that of biosphere reserve and that awarded for “good practices for safeguarding intangible heritage” concerning the round skiff, a traditional boat.