1.         Chan Chan Archaeological Zone (Peru) (C 366)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1986

Criteria  (i)(iii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1986-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/366/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1987-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 118,700
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/366/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Urban Pressure; Lack of capacity in conservation techniques; Lack of management mechanism (including legislation); Lack of monitoring system; Lack of presentation and interpretation; Floods/Landslides/ Hurricanes.

Additional Details:

Rise of ground water level

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/366/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

The Secretariat received on 30 January 2004 a progress report from the State Party containing information on the efforts undertaken to solve the immediate drainage problems and to cope with the damages affecting the property and the structures of the Tchudi Palace. While many projects have been initiated, including a general cleaning of the site, establishment of security facilities, conservation and rehabilitation of the site museum and certain monuments, and repair of the access road, the funds needed for the drainage of water from the huachaques, the low-lying ceremonial areas, exceeds the financial capacity of the management. Site managers have elaborated a technical plan to be developed in co-operation with national and international agencies to seek a lasting solution to the rising water level. The report further stated that Draft Legislation n° 3807, which declares the site of Chan-Chan in a state of emergency and offers a solution for relocating the squatters, has been pending in Congress for the past two years.


The Secretariat received, on 22 March 2004 via the UNESCO Office in Lima, a letter from the Association of Archaeologists of Peru expressing its deep concern over the damages affecting the property during the past two years, and drawing the attention of those responsible at the national level to the serious degradation of the site due to illegal constructions and the related use of land and water on the palace grounds, as well as the use of the archaeological protected area as a field for agricultural production.


ICOMOS commends the actions taken by the State Party for the conservation and rehabilitation of the Chan Chan World Heritage property. The problem of the illegal use of much of the site for agricultural purposes could be solved by the irrigation of an alternative site to which the squatters are being relocated. The implementation of the “Master Plan for the Conservation and Management of the Chan Chan Archaeological Complex” has proceeded at pace in 2002 and 2003, and a number of important projects have been realized, in association with national and international institutions. These include the general clearing up of the site, the establishment of security facilities, the repair of the access road, and an analysis of the quality and behaviour of the aquifer beneath the property.


Monitoring of the water table revealed a progressive rise in the lower part of the site in late 2002 and early 2003, attributable to the phenomenon of El Niño in 1998-99 followed by two years of higher than average humidity. This was made worse by a reduction in the extraction of water from the aquifer resulting from changes in agricultural techniques in the Moche valley. This led to greater humidity in the lower parts of the site and consequently an increase in salt contamination of the mud-brick structures and the growth of vegetation such as reeds and water lilies in the low-lying huachaques. Efforts are being made through the Chavimochic Special Project to reduce this negative impact on the archaeological site by using the excess water for irrigation projects elsewhere in the region and by improving the overall drainage of the whole valley, since the problems of the Chan Chan site can only be tackled as part of a larger project covering the entire landscape. On the site itself work has been carried out to restore affected areas by removing salt-impregnated sections and installing pumps to drain the flooded huachaques.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM


Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15A.30

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Noting the information on the state of conservation provided by the State Party,

2. Urges the State Party to finalize the legislative procedure for Draft Legislation n° 3807 and to inform the Committee of the appropriate measures taken to relocate the squatters;

3. Invites the State Party, once again, to consider requesting International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund to identify appropriate remedial measures;

4. Requests the State Party to submit a progress report on the measures being applied to reduce the impact of the rising water levels in the aquifer of the property by 1 February 2005, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session in 2005;

5. Decides to retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-04/28.COM/15A Rev),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: