UNESCO, Bolivia discuss status of Bolivian World Heritage sites
Monday, March 22, 2010
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With the objective of addressing issues related to the preservation of Bolivian World Heritage properties, the Head of the Latin America and Caribbean Unit of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Ms Nuria Sanz, met with the new Minister of Culture, Ms Zulma Yugar, during her recent visit to the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. The World Heritage property Tiwanaku: Spiritual and Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000 under criteria (iii) and (iv), received special attention. The Latin America and Caribbean Unit of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre expressed its deep concern for several aspects related to the conservation of the property, particularly for those related to the management system, the stability of the Akapana Pyramid, the conservation of emblematic steles and the Gate of the Sun, the state of deterioration of the museums and the conservation of their archaeological collections, the lack of planned archaeological excavations and the problems caused by the Municipality’s interventions, undertaken with no approval by the Ministry of Culture. Furthermore they discussed the urgent need to develop coordinated action for the safeguarding of the property. It was pointed out that given the World Heritage status of Tiwanaku, any project or initiative to be undertaken at the property should be acknowledged by the World Heritage Centre according to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention. The concerns of the World Heritage Centre are reflected in the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the “Project for the Preservation and Conservation of Tiwanaku and the Akapana Pyramid”, funded by the Japanese Funds-in-Trust. The three-year project includes the following actions necessary to improve the management and conservation of the property: the elaboration of the Master Plan, the conservation of the Gate of the Sun, urgent actions for the stabilization and conservation of the Akapana Pyramid, urgent interventions in the museums, and capacity building in conservation and management for the stakeholders, among other activities. In the case that no precise responses to the raised issues are given, it would be pertinent to consider a moratorium in the development of the project, until the institutional and technical conditions are met and allow continuation with the previewed activities. The Minister of Culture committed to giving immediate answers to the issues raised. During the meeting, the need to develop urgent actions for the safeguarding of the Cerro Rico Mountain in Potosi, located in the World Heritage property City of Potosi was also raised. In this context, a technical International Assistance request for the preservation of the mountain was recently approved and will be undertaken in coordination with the Bolivian Authorities. The World Heritage would like thank the Ministry of Culture for its interest in the preservation of the inscribed properties in Bolivia. The World Heritage Centre would also like to thank the Ministry of External Relations for all the efforts made to guarantee a fluent communication with the Ministry of Culture and for its interest in the Main Andean Road/ Qhapaq Ñan project.