1.         Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco (Mexico) (C 412)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)(v)

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/412/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 5,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/412/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

November 2002: ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Demolition of historical buildings in the protected area of the Historical Centre;

b) Urgent implementation of the management plan in Xochimilco.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/412/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

On 25 February 2008, the World Heritage Centre received a report from the State Party concerning the property of Xochimilco.


Management System


The State Party reported that the “Agreement for the implementation of the World Heritage Management System” between the Tláhuac, Milpa Alta and Xochimilco delegations was signed on 11 December 2007 in order to formalize the implementation of the management plan. A letter sent by the National Institute of Archaeology and History (INAH) to the World Heritage Centre in November 2007 indicated that the INAH would have proposed that the Comisión Interdependencial be the Management Unit in charge of the implementation of the management plan. The Commission expressed its commitment to facilitate the work and operation process; however, it does not assume the responsibility of acting as the management unit.


Concerning the increased collaboration with research institutions within the framework of the implementation of the studies undertaken by Mexican universities, two activities were also mentioned by the State Party: (1) Study for the Rehabilitation of the Chinampas, in collaboration with the National University of Mexico and (2) the Register of the Xochimilco Chinampas, with the Public Register Direction of INAH.


Demolition of historic buildings and ensembles in the core zone

Following information received with reference to the demolition of 14 historical buildings in the core zone of the property, the World Heritage Centre expressed its concern for this very sensitive situation. Consequently, the State Party submitted additional information explaining that the demolitions were part of the “Programme for the Reorganization of the Popular Commerce” (ambulant commerce) launched on 6 March 2007 within the zone A (core protected area). Its aim was to provide street sellers with new market places in the historical centre in order to avoid overcrowding of public spaces.

The State Party also explained that, as part of the programme, the Federal District Government of Mexico City had decided to expropriate the inhabitants of 14 historical buildings in 2007 as a first step. Following this decision, the buildings were demolished. INAH did not authorize the demolition of five historical buildings. Although the authorization was denied, the demolition of these five buildings and others was carried through.

According to INAH, other demolitions were denounced. Negotiations between the Mexico City government and other institutions are currently under way. However, there is no clear indication of how the situation will be dealt with.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS are concerned that the documentation shows that it is the intent of the Mexico City government to continue with this programme, which would severely compromise the integrity of the historic centre. No link is demonstrated between the different levels of government and the decisions being made to manage the economic and social conditions with the conservation of historic buildings. 

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


Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.124

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.128, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the intention of the State Party to propose the Comisión Interdependencial as the responsible institution for the implementation of the management plan for Xochimilco;

4. Invites the State Party to organize, as soon as possible, a coordination meeting with the Comisión Interdependencial and the UNESCO Mexico Office to reflect on the feasibility of this commission to become the Management Unit of the property;

5. Deeply regrets the demolition of historical buildings in the property of the Historical Centre of Mexico;

6. Takes note of the declaration of the State Party concerning the absence of risk from further demolition;

7. Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009;

8. Expresses its satisfaction regarding the invitation by the State Party for a World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS joint Reactive Monitoring mission to assess the impacts of these actions on the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property and to work with the different levels of authority to clarify the administrative and technical procedures for further interventions at the Historical Centre of Mexico ;

9. Requests moreoverthe State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, an updated state of conservation report and the results of the coordination meeting mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 8B.1

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/8B,

2. Decides not to approve the proposed name change to the Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco as proposed by the Mexican authorities.