1.         Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (Peru) (C/N 274)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1983

Criteria  (i)(iii)(vii)(ix)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1986-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 166,625
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Tourism Pressure; Lack of management mechanism (including legislation); Lack of institution co-ordination;Landslides

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

At its 27th session, the World Heritage Committee expressed, once again, its serious concerns about the management and planning arrangements of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu-Picchu and urged the State Party to take the necessary measures for the implementation of the 1999 and 2002 UNESCO-ICOMOS-IUCN Reactive Monitoring missions, as well as to submit a progress report. The Secretariat received a progress report from the State Party on 30 January 2004.


The report on the state of conservation consisted of a guiding document, which addressed the 38 points raised by former Reactive Monitoring missions. This guiding document referred to 17 additional information documents, which specified some of the questions raised by the missions. These documents addressed Committee decision WHC-03/27.COM/7B.30 in the following way:


a)  Timeframe for the revision of the Master Plan: A one-page document stating that the updating of the Master Plan was begun in January 2004 and will be completed in June 2004. The Secretariat notes that this timeframe is very ambitious, taking into account the lengthy procedures and that no information so far has been received about the set up of a comprehensive consultation process involving all relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, in a meeting report of the Management Unit (UGM) dated 9 December 2003, the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC) suggested that international assistance be requested under the World Heritage Fund to assist in the finalization of the Master Plan. To date, the Secretariat has not received any such request.


b)  Organization and functions regulations of the Management Unit (UGM): By resolution N° 001-2003-UGM-CD of 20 October 2003 a regulation of the Organization and Functions of the UGM was approved, as published by the Official Diary “El Peruano” in its edition of 23 January 2004. The Secretariat took note of the effort in formulating the regulations according to Committee decision WHC-03/27.COM/7B.30. However, on 9 December 2004 the Members of the Executive Committee of UGM convened to transfer the management and coordination of the UGM to the Regional Government of Cuzco and to ask this government to elaborate a proposal. The proposal should include the modification of the distribution of revenues of ticket sales from the Inca Trail. No further information has been received on this issue.


c)  Evaluation of transport options: This item has not been addressed in the progress report.


d)  Studies related to the carrying capacity of the Citadel and Camino Inca: The guiding document referred to a document of 1998 on the carrying capacity of the Machu-Picchu Sanctuary, which was neither received by the Secretariat nor consulted by the previous UNESCO-ICOMOS-IUCN missions. The execution of a study on "Operative Standards of Tourism Agencies and Guidelines for the Certification of the Inca Trail" has been postponed for financial reasons. Other related activities remain at the proposal stage. Despite a number of articles in the news media on limitations imposed on accessibility to the property, no national action has been implemented on this matter.


e)  Development of a Public Use Plan: The process of actualization of the Master Plan includes this component, but the Master Plan is still under revision and pending approval. However, a first action has been formalized, being a training course for tourist guides for the Inca Trail from 22 November to 4 December 2003.


f)  Implementation of the urban planning and control measures for Aguas Calientes: The Ministry of External Commerce and Tourism is implementing infrastructure works in the framework of the Urban Plan, with cooperation from the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (INRENA) and the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC). By Local Law N° 802-2003-INC/DC of 23 June 2003, the Urban Plan for Aguas Calientes was approved by the Provincial Government of Urubamba. A new delimitation of the Urban Limit of the Centre of Aguas Calientes has been foreseen.


g)  Implementation of geological studies and the development of a study on the impacts of buses on landslides: The State Party has set up a multidisciplinary Advisory Body on this issue. Recent activities have been undertaken by Kyoto University (Japan), Florence and Turin Universities (Italy), and Charles University (Czech Republic) to set up a registration system. Data checking for the risk of landslides that could affect the Citadel is pending verification. A preliminary conclusion drawn by Kyoto University stated that landslides, which have occurred in the past at the Citadel, are still possible in the World Heritage property. Further investigations are needed to assess landslide risks.


h)  Development in co-operation with UNESCO of a feasibility study to establish a permanent international institution for the protection of the property: The Peruvian Government firmly expressed its willingness to request UNESCO to study setting up an international institution for scientific, technical and financial support to help the Management Unit (UGM) and related institutions in the integrated conservation of Machu-Picchu.


The Secretariat commends the Peruvian Authorities for their efforts in providing for all the information. However, the reports lack detail and supporting evidence on a number of points and do not reply explicitly to the recommendations made by the previous UNESCO-ICOMOS-IUCN missions. A large number of activities have been planned for implementation in 2004, while the six months scenario for revision and finalization of the Master Plan does raise questions relating to feasibility.


ICOMOS reviewed the information documents and provided the following comments. The study submitted on the carrying capacity in July 2003 provided information only on the Inca Trail, showing how the use of the Inca Trail caused social, cultural and ecological damages. The Proposal for the Actualization of the rules for use of the Inca road network updated the regulation for the Camino Inca, but since the documents are undated, it is not known if this has already entered into force. The terms of reference to develop standards for travel agencies and guidelines for the Inca Trail and Citadel commercialization are only at the stage of a proposal. The results of its application are unknown. Concerning issues of urban planning, ICOMOS based its work on the same document as in 2000. The State Party did not provide any additional information and, inexplicably, the new law 12-2002-MPU seemed to recommend the development of a new Plan. Concerning the Management Unit (UGM), the State Party updated the by-laws of the UGM, but thesecontinue to be a proposal without focusing on the main problems concerning the responsibilities and autonomy of the UGM to take decisions and to implement plans. The proposal for the revision of the Master Plan for Machu Picchu suggested a workshop for the review of the Plan, and so far the terms of reference to elaborate the Plan of Public Use only constitute a general guideline to elaborate the Plan.


Finally, as requested by the Committee at its 27th session, ICOMOS observes that many proposals are still awaiting implementation, and that the main problems at the World Heritage property continue to stem from a lack of proper management. It concludes, however, that the actual situation of the Historic Sanctuary does not meet the criteria for inscription on the World Heritage List in Danger.


IUCN reviewed the progress report and noted that comprehensive and detailed information on the revision of the Master Plan for Machu Picchu was provided. However, its implementation should be accompanied by detailed yearly operational plans, supported by adequate budget provisions that can provide day-to-day guidance for management of the site. No information has been provided on the implementation of the recommendations of the 1999 Reactive Monitoring mission in relation to the assessment of the carrying capacity of the Historic Sanctuary as a whole, as well as for the Citadel. The Master Plan proposed a zoning for the site based on its environmental, historical and urban features and values. Key management and planning regulations are clearly identified and proposed for each zone. However, there is no information on the enforcement mechanisms and resources that would be in place for the implementation of these regulations.


Finally, as requested by the Committee at its 27th session, IUCN observes that although urgent measures concerning the management of the site have to be taken soon, the outstanding universal value in relation to its natural values is not significantly threatened.


A UNESCO mission to the site took place on 23 October 2003. A considerable number of actions were planned for implementation in 2003, as confirmed by the State Party during the 27th session of the Committee, such as the revision of the Master Plan, the evaluation of the access to the Sanctuary and the implementation of the Urban Ordinance Plan for the village of Aguas Calientes. During the visit, the Secretariat observed that concrete progress had been made only in the management of the Inca Trail and in works undertaken at the Citadel (new itineraries for visits, excavations and landscaping operations). These positive developments, however, were overshadowed by the grave situation ofAguas Calientes, which is a squatter settlement alongside the railroad tracks, with uncontrolled construction activities, and the starting point to visit Machu Picchu. The mission met with the Deputy Mayor of Aguas Calientes and the representatives of civil society associations, who explained that there is no authority in place. The following day, representatives began a hunger strike at the doors of Machu-Picchu to demand among others provisions for water, electricity and transportation, as the minimum for better living conditions.


Further to this, the World Heritage Centre mission attended a meeting at The World Bank in Washington DC on 18 March 2004 to discuss among others the Vilcanota Valley Rehabilitation Programme. The objective of this project is to develop the capacity of the Peruvian Government to ensure the socio-economic and environmental sustainability of the historical, ecological and cultural resources of the Vilcanota Valley (where Machu Picchu is located) through several actions: investments in tourism management capacity, urban infrastructure development, strategic planning and municipal capacity. The Vilcanota Valley Rehabilitation Programme considers the inputs of technical resources and funds needed to carry out an array of identified projects, which could remedy the current lack of proper preservation of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. The project foresees a resettlement plan for 60 families of Aguas Calientes and consultation with displaced families on acceptable alternatives. The project includes measures to safeguard the cultural property involving tangible and intangible aspects of the Andean Culture. It was agreed that the World Bank and the World Heritage Centre would jointly collaborate with the Government of Peru in the implementation of this project to verify that none of the actions in progress would be incompatible with the conservation of the values for which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List.


The Secretariat was informed on 12 April 2004 by The World Bank of their intention to reorient some of the priorities of the project, in light of the damages caused by the mudslides of 10 April 2004. At the time of preparation of this state of conservation report, no official information had been received from the State Party on details of the disaster. News media reported that the first mudslide washed away seven homes and killed at least six people, with five more reported missing in Aguas Calientes. A second mudslide closed the railroad leaving some 400 tourists stranded.


The Secretariat notes that the sad events of 10 April 2004 underscore the vulnerability of the property, which has no operational plan for emergencies, nor has there been a research study to mitigate the effects of natural disasters. In May 2002, the Chairperson of the Committee addressed a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urging the Government to take measures for the implementation of the 1999 and 2002 mission recommendations.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies


Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15B.38

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Taking note of the documents transmitted by the State Party in July 2003 and January 2004, as well as ICOMOS and IUCN comments on these documents,

2. Expressing its condolences to the Government of Peru for the tragic loss of life and damage caused in the recent mudslides at the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu,

3. Notes with great concern that the revised Master Plan, which should include a detailed Management Plan for the property, has not yet entered into force and recommends the State Party to give the highest priority to finalizing this by December 2004;

4. Urges the State Party to immediately undertake a study on risk-preparedness and prevention in case of natural disaster for the core and buffer zones of the property;

5. Encourages the State Party to reinforce the support of the international universities in reaching an exact understanding of the slope conditions and deformation of the ground surface of the Citadel and the other areas of the Historical Sanctuary by geophysical explorations and landslide studies;

6. Notes further with great concern that no studies have been undertaken on alternative transportation or on the carrying capacity of the property;

7. Acknowledging that efforts have been made to address specific issues such as the creation of a Management Unit, the management of the Inca Trail and the works undertaken at the Citadel,

8. Noting, also, that some of the most relevant issues remain unaddressed, and that some of the foreseen actions have been at the stage of proposals over the past 5 years, while the state of conservation and management of the property have not improved significantly as compared to the situation referred to in the mission reports of 1999 and 2002,

9. Requests the World Heritage Centre, working jointly with the Government of Peru and the World Bank, to set up a programme and action plan for scientific, technical and financial support to assist and guide the Management Unit and related institutions in the integrated conservation of the property and to facilitate implementation of the 1999 and 2002 UNESCO-ICOMOS-IUCN recommendations;

10. Decides to examine the state of conservation of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and to discuss the measures to be taken at its 29th session in 2005.