The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast WHS has a Management Plan to guide the management of this World Heritage Site.
Officials from UNESCO and IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) undertook a mission to the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast WHS in February 2003. Subsequently, its World Heritage Committee requested the UK authorities to submit a Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre by February 2005.
This first Management Plan was commissioned and published by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, under the Department of Environment in 2005 covering 2005 – 2011. This initial Management Plan outlined key issues, 24 objectives and many actions to promote, enhance and safeguard the WHS.
Since 2005 a number of changes have affected the operation and management of the WHS. For instance, the National Trust are now sole property managers within the WHS and have opened a range of world class visitors facilities. In 2011 Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust appointed a WHS Officer to provide a secretartiate service for the Steering Group and to prepare and coordinate implementation of the new Management and Action Plan 2012- 2018. Overtime a few different people filled this role and subsequently the plan was not ready to launch until 2013.
The WHS Steering Group views the 2013-2019 Management Plan as the foundation to achieving the 30 year vision of:
“The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site will be recognised as a global leader in the sustainable management of dynamic natural sites, inspiring people to celebrate, value and enjoy a Site that offers a world class visitor experience. This Site will become a vibrant thread of the life of the Causeway Coast and Glens, benefiting local and regional communities, visitors and the environment for present and future generations.”
With the building blocks being provided by the aims and objectives developed to guide the actions of the Steering Group themselves.
It it worth noting that WHS Management Plans are not statutory documents and are not regarded as a material consideration in planning processes.
2013 also saw a UNESCO Mission visit the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast WHS. This Mission was by invitation due to concerns and issues with planning approval for a golf resort at Runkerry.