The Marquesas Islands, officially candidates for registration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Marquesas Islands, through the French State, have officially submitted their candidacy for registration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Adobe Stock

The overseas territory had begun to compile its application file in 1993.

A powerful symbol for an entire territory. The Minister of Culture of French PolynesiaHeremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, filed this Tuesday, January 24 the candidacy of the archipelago of Marquises to be listed as a World Heritage SiteUnesco. A step that results from a long journey. Because this application file was initiated in 1993 by Marquesan elected officials.

The procedure is meant to be complex because the application concerns several islands and a heritage that is both natural and cultural. Above all, it is not French Polynesia which directly submitted the file to Unesco, but France, its guardian country. “I think that at the level of Unesco it will be a first: never has a file been so complicated”, declared Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu when applying for the French delegation to Unesco in Paris. The World Heritage Committee now has eighteen months to examine this dossier.

A culture and a nature to preserve

The Marquesas are one of the five archipelagos of French Polynesia and are made up of six inhabited islands known for their lush vegetation, steep cliffs, and exceptional seabed. Dances, sculpture and tattoos remain strong identity markers of Te Henua Enata (the land of men, in the Marquesan language), recognizable throughout the Polynesian triangle, as far as Hawaii in the north, New Zealand in the southwest. and Easter Island to the east.

Emmanuel Macron had been the first French president to go to the Marquesas in July 2021, in particular to support this candidacy for UNESCO World Heritage. “Our treasure is this nature and this culture”, “so I will fight alongside you so that we can classify the Marquesas with Unesco”, he said then.

It is not the first overseas territory to take such a step. In September 2021, Martinique officially obtained the title of UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Almost a year earlier, the island of flowers had also seen the Yole, a typical boat of its territory, listed as intangible cultural heritage by Unesco.

SEE ALSO – Unesco: Emmanuel Macron salutes “the spirit of French know-how”, of the baguette, from Washington

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