Nan Madol Sustainable Conservation Plan
In 2018, CSRM Foundation received an Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Large Grant to develop a sustainable conservation plan for Nan Madol World Heritage Site, on the island of Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Our goal is to work with local communities, stewardship organizations, research institutions, and other experts to identify activities that will conserve Nan Madol while encouraging social and economic benefits to local people. In particular, we are working closely with the FSM State Historic Preservation Office, the U.S. Embassy in the FSM, and the UNESCO World Heritage Center Asia-Pacific Unit.
Constructed between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries CE, Nan Madol is a ceremonial center built on about 100 artificial islets, just off the southeastern shore of Pohnpei, in the island’s lagoon. The site includes a variety of building types, from temples to residences to mortuary structures. These buildings, and the islets they rest on, are predominantly constructed of columnar basalt, an unusual formation that occurs naturally on Pohnpei.
The current state of conservation at Nan Madol is the result of a complex set of natural and cultural processes. Following an ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) technical evaluation in 2015, the main threats to the site were identified as vegetation overgrowth, siltation of waterways, and storm surges. Our project aims to mitigate these threats.
Over the course of the three-year project, our team will undertake a variety of studies, from inventories of Nan Madol’s tangible and intangible heritage to hydrological studies of the local coastline and waterways. The overall plan will include other, supporting plans and programs, such as a sustainable tourism plan and educational outreach and training. One of our major objectives is to stabilize Nan Madol so that it can be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
For more information about the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation Large Grant, please visit https://jo.usembassy.gov/2018-ambassadors-fund-cultural-preservation-large-grant/. For more about the World Heritage Site of Nan Madol, visit https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1503. And to see this grant in the news, go to https://share.america.gov/protecting-nan-madol-lost-city-in-pacific/.
Photo credit: Osamu Kataoka UNESCO WHC