UNESCO’s Visit to Bermuda A Commitment to Heritage and Sustainable Development

“The UNESCO delegation’s recent visit represented a pivotal moment in our ongoing efforts to stimulate economic growth in the East End, while preserving our rich heritage,” said Minister of Public Works Lt. Col. the Hon. David A. Burch, OBE (Mil), ED, JP, MP, of UNESCO’s successful advisory mission last week.

UNESCO’s mission to the Town of St George, which holds World Heritage Status, was significant for Bermuda and lasted five days.

The delegation engaged with Minister Burch, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, the Hon. Vance Campbell, and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Senator, the Hon. Owen Darrell as well as various stakeholders, from local business and heritage groups.

The UNESCO mission focused on the historic Town of St. George and its related fortifications. This area, a blend of about 14 different forts, was designated a World Heritage Site in December 2000, acknowledging its outstanding universal value.

This visit marks UNESCO’s first return since its initial visit in 2000, reflecting the significant changes and development efforts made since then.

Minister Burch added, “By inviting UNESCO to assess and advise on the Town of St. George, we are demonstrating our focus on its revitalisation and the broader economic resurgence of Bermuda.”

These meetings facilitated a comprehensive dialogue on the future direction of St. George’s, addressing concerns and seeking input on development and preservation efforts.

Minister Burch further emphasised, “This mission and our collective efforts are about more than just economic incentives; it’s about nurturing a sustainable future for our historic former capital.

“Whether through the designation of Economic Empowerment Zones, the introduction of targeted incentives, or major construction projects, our goal remains the same: to ensure St. George’s thrives as a beacon of culture and history.”

UNESCO’s visit and the Government’s commitment to this cause reflect a unified approach to economic development and heritage conservation.

As the Island moves forward, the insights and recommendations from UNESCO will play a crucial role in shaping the strategic direction for St. George’s and its fortifications, ensuring they remain vibrant parts of Bermuda’s cultural landscape and economic framework.

The UNESCO report is expected to be released within eight to ten weeks and will be presented to the Cabinet and stakeholders for discussion.

Following that, the report will be presented to Parliament and the public along with an outline plan for the way forward.

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