Macron Backs Heritage Bid Of Remote Polynesian Islands
Faizan Hashmi 2 months ago Mon 26th July 2021 | 04:46 PM
French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday backed a bid by the Marquesas Islands to gain UNESCO world heritage status
He was the only person at the gathering wearing a suit -- with everybody else clad in costumes made of leaves from the local auti plant -- as he addressed a crowd from onboard a traditional Polynesian double-hulled canoe.
"This nature and this culture is our treasure," Macron said. "This is why I will fight alongside you for the Marquesas to get the Unesco classification." The UN cultural body awards world heritage status to sites judged to be of special universal value to humanity.
Marquesa Islands authorities have been campaigning for years to get the archipelago's unique combination of "nature and culture" recognised.
Macron is on his first official trip to French Polynesia, mostly dedicated to discussing the French overseas territory's strategic role, the legacy of nuclear tests and rising seas due to global warming.
The trip is seen as a chance for Macron to highlight the extent of France's global footprint through its overseas territories, which extend from the Pacific to the Caribbean to Latin America and the Indian Ocean.
The Pacific is of particular strategic importance in the context of China's rising power.