The outstanding universal value of this property is based on the combination of exceptional cultural and natural values. Located in the centre of the Pacific, the Marquesas Islands are an archipelago of French Polynesia; one of the most isolated of any continent and a high place for the conservation of the terrestrial and marine biodiversity of the Pacific.
Sharp volcanic ridges, phonolitic needles and steep sea cliffs shape dizzying island landscapes. The cloud forests that cover the tops of these islands are particularly exceptional. The archipelago is home to one of the most diverse seabird assemblages in the South Pacific and the Marquesas Waters are a major pole of global endemism with Hawaii, Easter Island and the Red Sea. Recognized as one of the world’s last marine wilderness areas, they are home to 40 iconic marine species, rays, sharks and dolphins.
The property “Te Henua Enata – The Marquesas Islands” also bears exceptional witness to the extraordinary adaptability of a human civilization, which arrived by sea around the year 1000, developed on these island and isolated territories until contact with Europeans and the annexation of the archipelago by France in 1842. Closely linked to its natural environment and backed by many stories, myths and legends, this civilization is characterized by the spatial and symbolic occupation of the chiefdoms installed in the valleys, the development of lithic arts and the emergence of monumental domestic and ceremonial architecture.
A well-mixed of seven ensembles, “Te Henua Enata – Marquesas Islands” makes a decisive contribution to the contribution of Pacific island cultures to an exceptional natural environment.
This application was prepared with the government of French Polynesia and the community of communes of the Marquesas Islands, in close collaboration with the Ministries of Culture and Ecological Transition. It will be examined by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at its 46th session in June/July 2024.
At its next session in 2023, the World Heritage Committee will examine the French nominations for the Nîmes square house and the forests and volcanoes of Montagne Pelée and Pitons in northern Martinique.