Italian Government and UNESCO identify possibilities for partnership with Antigua’s National Park

(from l-r) are Manager of the NPA's Heritage Department Dr. Christopher Waters, Personal Assistant to Honorary Italian Consul, Ms. Camilla Holme, Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Martin, Italy's Special Envoy for the Caribbean Ambassador Gianni Piccato and Heritage Resources Officer with the National Park, Ms. Desley Gardner. (Photos courtesy National Parks Authority)
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The management of the heritage and environmental assets within Antigua and Barbuda’s national parks continue to win the admiration of friendly governments and strategic partners. 

The Italian government is showing keen interest in connecting the National Parks Authority with heritage professionals in Italy for technical advice and capacity building. 

In this connection, Italy’s Special Envoy for the Caribbean Ambassador Gianni Piccato recently returned to the National Parks after his initial visit in November 2022 in an effort to connect the NPA with heritage professionals in Italy for technical advice and capacity building. 

During his visit, he met with Parks Commissioner Ann Marie Martin along with the Manager of the Heritage Department Dr Christopher Water and Heritage Resources Officer Desley Gardner. 

One of the major opportunities being pursued is developing relationships with experts at the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Venice and Pompeii in areas like sensitive Climate Change mitigation and creative application of renewable energy. 

“Threats from Climate Change, like rising sea levels, are of major concern, and learning from other heritage sites in how they are preparing for the same issues while maintaining their UNESCO Inscription will go a long way to securing ours for the future,” noted Dr Waters. 

Park officials also got the opportunity to meet with Dr Anna Paolini, the newly appointed Director of the UNESCO Office of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica. 

She visited the NPA as part of her tour of Antigua and Barbuda to help identify potential benefits her new position would be able to bring the National Parks in the future. 

During her first visit, she experienced Antigua and Barbuda’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and was shown the stewardship of the site and the wider Nelson’s Dockyard National Park (NDNP) under the management of the NPA. 

She was impressed by the ability of the NPA to manage the Park’s diverse stakeholders to create a functioning, living and economically sustainable space while preserving the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site. 

One of the key takeaways was that the NPA and our World Heritage Site have a lot to offer the region in terms of heritage management practices and opportunities.

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