Sitios de Memoria



This Project was implemented during the 2006-2007 biennium, as part of the new strategy for the Slave Route Project.
The Project was launched during a meeting organized in Havana, Cuba, between May 17 and 19, 2006, with the main objective to define criteria and validate a methodology for the identification and inventory of the sites and places of memory to achieve greater homogeneity among researchers in the Latin Caribbean (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Aruba and Haiti).
Experts from several countries were invited to participate as observers, to encourage the exchange of experiences and, in the longer term, facilitate the creation of a network of projects from various regions of the world.
I. Scope of the Project
The Project is interdisciplinary, and it covers tangible and intangible values combining biodiversity, anthropological and economic approaches. Its main purpose is to establish the notion of the “Places of Memory” along the Slave Route, integrating the concepts of Cultural Diversity, Dialogue, Development and Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Thus, taking into account the wide scope of the work, this pilot project had an evolving nature and was implemented in several phases.
During the first phase, which corresponds to the current biennium 2006-2007, the most significant places of memory in the Latin Caribbean were identified.
The creation of a strong synergy between at least two major conventions has been critical for the project: the 1972 Convention on Cultural Heritage and the 2003 Convention related to Intangible Cultural Heritage. The 2001 Convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage was taken into account as well.
The 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is also an important normative framework, mostly for the diffusion and implementation of the project’s results during its final stages, through cultural industries (arts and crafts, cultural tourism, audiovisual industry).
Therefore, this first phase of the project (2006-2007) aims to include the intangible elements related to the places of memory identified, as well as the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity related to them and already proclaimed at the international level, which will be automatically included, according to the Convention, in the national inventories of Intangible Heritage.
Our objective is to limit the number of sites to be identified in each country to five places or sites, plus those already included in the World Heritage List and the Masterpieces proclaimed in 2001, 2003 and 2005.
II. Short- and Long-Term Objectives; According to the Priorities of the New Strategy for the Slave Route Project
This work shall meet certain objectives in the short term (phase 1, 2006-2007):
1. Identifying the sites and assessing their conditions of preservation, stimulating conservation and taking into account the technical conditions and the competences existing in each country.

2. Assessing the conditions for the promotion of these sites with a view to the development of cultural and/or tourist programs.

3. Promoting information and awareness of local authorities to ensure the protection of the site.

4. Establishing a network of experts/specialists in the Latin Caribbean, aimed at promoting cooperation between researchers and specialized institutions concerned (this network, in the long term, will have the possibility of establishing links with similar networks of other Latin American subregions or of other continents).

5. Promoting the inclusion of the Places of Memory of outstanding value in the Latin Caribbean countries in the World Heritage Tentative List.

6. Reinforcing the preservation of archives. We encourage experts in the Project to cooperate closely with the archives of the Latin Caribbean countries concerned (for example, the National Archives of Cuba, which last year organized an international meeting on the Slave Trade with the UNESCO Communications Sector) or with the Haitian Library of the Fathers of the Holy Spirit, in Haiti. This objective could be developed in close cooperation with the Communications Sector.

7. Reinforcing preservation of oral traditions. The UNESCO/Havana Office will publish articles about oral traditions and places of memory in its regional publication ORALIDAD.
Long-term objectives (as part of the activities for future biennia):
1. Organizing awareness campaigns (TV spots, booklets, the Education for All Week, etc.) and prepare teaching materials.

2. Organizing various activities in the places of memory that have been identified. These activities could include meetings, exhibitions, and courses, aimed at contributing to a better knowledge of the African contributions to the Latin Caribbean countries; using the places of memory as spaces for the promotion of live cultures as well as spiritual and artistic expressions.

3. Preparing the nomination dossier of the Places of Memory in the Latin Caribbean countries for their inscription in the World Heritage List.

4. Identifying new partners to support the project (other United Nations agencies, museums, archives, important agencies in countries like Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, etc.).

5. Reinforcing inter-sector and inter-agency cooperation on the topics related to the places of memory in the Latin Caribbean.
III. Criteria for Research Work
1. Identifying Tangible and Intangible Heritage through the following sources of information:

- Written documents,
- Memories/testimonies of the population,
- Known places, registered or unregistered,
- Inventories of Intangible Heritage prepared at the national level,
- Dossiers/Plan of Action of the Masterpieces.

2. Evaluation of the places and of the restoration/renovation needs, as well as possibilities for promotion based on the following criteria:

- Well-grounded opinions of researchers,
- Aspirations and opinions of the population/community,
- Projects of the National Committees,
- Support from local authorities and their programs.
IV. Methodology and Tools for Phase 1 of the Project (2006-2007)
- Timetable,
- Site Information Form,
- Text model and format,
- Scope of the documentation to be submitted,
- Technical information for the multimedia publication.

V. Outcomes of Phase 1 of the Project

- Technical information about the properties identified based on the Site Information Form,
- Multimedia publication, based on the text model and format.