State of Conservation (SOC)
City of Potosí
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
Total amount granted: USD 10,000 for a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS technical mission in 2005 financed by the Spanish Funds-in-Trust for World Heritage.
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 53,785USD
|2010||Technical assistance for the preservation of the Cerro Rico of ...||26,285 USD|
|1994||Restoration of mural paintings in the Church of La Merced, Potosi||15,000 USD|
|1992||Conservation of the Kari-Kari Lagoons||0 USD|
|1991||Mission to advise on the measures to be taken for the restoration ...||5,000 USD|
|1988||Advise the authorities on the elaboration of a technical ...||7,500 USD|
November 2005 and February 2011: World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS technical mission. December 2013 and January 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.
|2014||Reactive Monitoring Mission to the City of Potosí, Plurinational State of Bolivia (C420) - 11-14 December 2013 / ...|
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Potential degradation of the historic site by continued and uncontrolled mining operations in the Cerro Rico Mountain;
Instability and risk of collapse of the Cerro Rico;
Deficiencies in conservation: special attention required for the restoration and upgrading of structures with residential use and the archaeological industrial heritage;
Inefficient enforcement of protective legislation;
Environmental impacts on the hydraulic complex which in turn affects historic fabric and local population
Current conservation issues
A World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission visited the property in December 2013 and January 2014. Subsequently, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report in February 2014. The reports are available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/420/documents. Progress is presented, as follows:
- Article 6 of Supreme Decree 27787 of October 2004 was not modified and the moratorium on all explorations between altitudes 4400-4700 m of Cerro Rico was not enforced. Mining operators continue to work with licenses granted by the Mining Corporation of Bolivia (COMIBOL);
- Contract arrangements with Bolivian company Q&Q were made to stabilize on-going sinking at the summit of Cerro Rico through pumping reinforced and lightweight concrete inside the crater; project was expected to conclude in November 2013. However, because of new collapses in February 2013 and the seasonal rains, stabilization works were halted in December 2013. COMIBOL reports that the continued mineral extracting below and throughout the high risk area of the top of Cerro Rico are a structural hazard and can compromise the overall investments of the stabilization project. Alternatives for the stabilization of the peak, with more flexible materials such as the gradual filling with material processed and rejected by the mining companies, are being explored. This would have the added benefit of involving mining cooperatives and companies and promote their responsibility on the overall stabilization project. The Geotechnical Survey was concluded in August 2012 and contains technical recommendations for the stabilization of Cerro Rico.
- The access road to the peak is only being used for supervision of mining activities and for material transportation. The potential to provide tourist access to the summit through this road, upon finalizing the stabilization project, is being explored.
- A relocation process for miners working above 4400 m to other mining areas is foreseen. Inspections of working mines was undertaken in early 2014 and measures are planned regarding new concessions.
- A draft law called Exploitation and Preservation of Cerro Rico Law was prepared and is to be reviewed by May 2014, although no timeframe adoption was noted.
- An architectural heritage unit within the Municipal Government has been created and funded to carry out restoration of landmark buildings and develop the Master Plan for the Ribera de los Ingenios Mineros. The mission noted that implementation of the Master Plan for the rehabilitation of historic areas of Potosi has not been sustained since the Spanish support ended in 2009.
- Information on boundary clarifications was received but additional technical details and clarifications have been requested to the State Party.
Analysis and Conclusion
The work carried out by the State Party to stabilize collapses at the summit of Cerro Rico should be noted. However, the complexities of problems caused by the continued mining over the altitude 4400m, and the lack of analysis of potential effects from the implemented interventions, have surpassed the initial project. No timeframe is foreseen for resuming or finalizing the stabilization project of Cerro Rico, and there is no formal process in place for the relocation of miners to effectively enforce a moratorium. The Inter-institutional Committee and the Emergency Committee played an important role in facing the current emergency of Cerro Rico, but their policy framework does not cover all the components of the inscribed property and therefore cannot ensure the entire protection of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).
No information was included in relation to the integrated management system for the property; the findings of the mission that the management and monitoring of each component rests at various management levels, leading to lack of coherence and articulation in decision-making are underscored. Halting stabilization works illustrates these conditions, as technical solutions were not thoroughly analyzed and balanced against other needed measures, such as the enforcement of the moratorium and the relocation of miners. As noted, results achieved can be jeopardized due to lack of continuity of interventions and because core issues remain unaddressed. Lack of integrated decision-making is also reflected by the potential relocation of mining operations, which would include the potential exploitation of new mines in the Kari Kari area, managed by environmental authorities, not by COMIBOL. This is one of the few areas that still retain all original features and a safe ecological environment; if no comprehensive analysis is undertaken, the potential relocation would affect the integrity of this component and therefore the OUV of the property.
The current risk of collapse of the summit of Cerro Rico is critical and poses significant security concerns for on-going mining operations. The work of the miners of Potosí is deeply immersed in an ancestral cosmogony with the Cerro Rico and these associated values must be taken into consideration when exploring relocation options. The relocation to the Kari Kari area should not be considered as a potential alternative given its significance and development strategies are needed to prevent new urban settlements from being built between its access and the historic mine fabrics area. It is also recommended that a participatory and comprehensive management plan, that considers all the features of the property, is formulated taking into account the recommendations from the reactivate monitoring mission.
Given the above considerations, there are significant threats to the OUV of the property, and it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee consider inscribing the City of Potosi on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Draft Decision: 38 COM 7B.38
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.91, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
3. Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party in the stabilization of the summit of Cerro Rico and regrets that Article 6 of Supreme Decree 27787 of October 2004 was not modified and the moratorium on all explorations between altitudes 4400 m and 4700 m of Cerro Rico was not enforced;
4. Notes with concern that stabilization interventions have been halted and urges the State Party to evaluate the preliminary results obtained, to define a revised strategy and timeframe for completion of the project, and to submit to the World Heritage Centre a timeframe considering all the measures undertaken for the effective relocation of miners working above the 4400 m altitude of Cerro Rico;
5. Notes the result of the reactive monitoring mission to the property and endorses its recommendations and encourages the State Party to implement them;
6. Also encourages the State Party to reinforce the Inter-institutional Committee and the Emergency Committee to expand their policy framework beyond issues pertaining to Cerro Rico to address all the components of property;Requests the State Party to finalize the boundary clarification within the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to achieve a final proposal of buffer zones and invites it to submit, according to paragraphs 163-165 of the Operational Guidelines, a minor boundary modification to allow for a clear understanding for the protection of the visually sensitive areas around the property;
7. Also notes with concern that conservation interventions have not been sustained and that no effective management system is currently in place, and also urges the State Party to develop an integrated and participatory Management Plan that includes all attributes of the property to ensure its Outstanding Universal Value is sustained;Considers that the State Party has not complied with all the requests expressed by the Committee in Decision 37 COM 7B.91, and that therefore the property is in danger in conformity with Chapter IV.B of the Operational Guidelines and decides to inscribe City of Potosi (Plurinational State of Bolivia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
8. Also requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, to develop a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and a set of corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.
City of Potosí
- Management systems/ management plan
- Surface water pollution
- Other Threats:
Instability and risk of collapse of the Cerro Rico; Deficiencies in conservation: special attention required for the restoration and upgrading of structures with residential use and the archaeological industrial heritage
Inscription on the Danger List
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).