Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Fenda Akiwumi


Heritage, Natural Resources, Political Ecology, SIDS, Tourism, UNESCO


There are currently 962 geographic sites in the world that have been classified as World Heritage. World Heritage is a unique concept, privy to and defined by UNESCO-- the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization, one of the specialized agencies and autonomous organizations established within the UN-United Nations system. World Heritage is governed by an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972 (The `Convention'). The inscription of a World Heritage Site or designation of World Heritage Status is highly coveted and considered in UNESCO parlance to be of "Outstanding Value to Humanity." There are only 4 heritage property sites of English-speaking islands in the Caribbean basin, one of which is located on the island of St. Lucia called The Pitons Management Area (PMA). The PMA comprises 2902 hectares of protected marine and terrestrial property inscribed in 2004. In 2008, the island faced the threat of placement on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger (LWHD) for breaches of the Convention. The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the perceptions of World Heritage Status from three identified stakeholders: UNESCO, the St. Lucian national government and the local Soufrière township-home of the PMA. This was an exploratory attempt at gauging perceptions of local voices on World Heritage Status as it relates to the PMA and the island's classification as a small-island developing state (SIDS). Using political ecology as a theoretical framework for analyzing the role of power relationships in this case study, this research revealed that there is an overall lack of communication between the Soufrière community and the national government regarding education and sensitizing about the World Heritage program mandates and incorporating the local citizenry in the protection of their heritage. The majority of the local participants' support for World Heritage Status on the island of St. Lucia was dependent on perceptions of increased income and employment opportunities associated with World Heritage as a global construct and narrative. This research also showed concerns of UNESCO and the St. Lucian national government to be at odds with the 1972 Convention. Results indicated that the varied perceptions of the three stakeholder groups are based on the prioritized interests of each and incommensurate with the aims of protecting the PMA's heritage for posterity.

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