The joint UNESCO/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission in 28 November 2004 assessed the impact of the building of a supermarket in the vicinity of the property. The mission highlighted the need for a management plan. The property was examined during the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee (Quebec City, 2008), where the State Party was requested to: set up an intersectorial working group to analyse the archaeological, environmental and social impacts related to uncontrolled urban development; to collaborate in the management of the archaeological site and its surroundings and finally; to submit the finalised management plan.
In late 2008, several communications were received from a variety of groups, concerning a lighting project “Resplandor Teotihuacano” that would allow for nocturnal visits and light and sound spectacle at the site. The World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to provide official information on the matter in January 2009.
The State Party submitted the state of conservation reported in Spanish in February 2009. The report contained information on the development of the management plan and a summary of activities implemented at the site between 2007-2008. It does not contain substantive information concerning the current status of the property, the intersectorial working group related to the impacts of uncontrolled development, and thus does not respond to all the issues raised by the World Heritage Committee Decision made at its 32nd session (Quebec, 2008).
On the issue of the lighting project, the State Party report provided information, but it was not sufficient to evaluate the situation clearly.
a) Development projects
The State Party reports that progress the lighting project has been stopped, due to several requests and complains from several organizations, and that interventions have been carried out to restore the minimal damage that was caused on the prehispanic structures. apparently on areas that had been reconstructed in earlier times, by the anchoring system used.
On 19 March the World Heritage Centre received additional information on the Resplandor Teotihuacano project from the scientific, technical and administrative community of the Ethnical and Anthropological Direction of the INAH. They stressed the fact that the original project was approved by the Archaeological council of INAH without taking into account the 13 500 perforations for the electric project or the daily need to remove and build a heavy stair structure among others.
After a multidisciplinary field evaluation, new technical specifications have been developed for the lighting system which will be applied once the restoration process finishes. An external technical evaluation group, composed by professionals external to INAH, has been formed to review future interventions on that matter and to render a technical and academic opinion about the project. In a third report received by the Word Heritage Centre on 25 March 2009, the Director of INAH stated that no definitive decision would be taken in the following six months until the appropriate studies are carried out.
b) Management plan
The progress report on the management plan shows how certain sections have been completed and how others have yet to be fully developed. After a hiatus in 2007, the State Party began the planning process again in 2008 and expects to continue activities through 2009. No information regarding the inclusion of other programmes (touristic and municipal) has been detailed.
The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS note that the lighting project has been stopped and that there will not be any further developments until impact studies are being carried out. However there is no clear timeframe for this process to take place.
Regarding the management plan the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS are concerned that no documentation has been submitted to date on the approach implemented or the contents of the plan, so the quality or comprehensiveness of proposals cannot be assessed at this point.
As the process begun in 2003, many of the existing conditions at that time would probably need to be revised to be responsive to the current status. Additionally, other planning initiatives have occurred during this long time lapse so this would need to be integrated into the holistic proposal for the site, as requested in Decision 32 COM 7B.123. The lack of a management plan has allowed for situations like the lighting project to arise, where decisions were made lightly regarding the potential impacts on the site and without using the opportunity of such a project to enhance the understanding and valorisation of the property in accordance with a comprehensive interpretation scheme. Interventions and proposals continue to be made at the site without a clear vision and without integrating major stakeholders and other interest groups in the decision-making process for such a symbolic property. The latest incident has yet again generated social conflict and confrontations between the national authorities and the local governments and communities. The Regional Programme for Tourism Development has yet to clarify specific projects and their potential impact, both positive and negative, on the World Heritage property.