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World Heritage Convention

Decision 26 BUR XII.56-62
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (Peru)

XII.56    The Bureau was informed that the State Party had submitted, on 6 December 2001, a detailed report stating that almost all the recommendations of the 1999 mission had been followed, including a plan for the village of Aguas Calientes, detailed studies on the carrying capacity of, and the means of access to the Sanctuary and its components, the limitation of visitor facilities in the area surrounding the Ciudadela, and the desirability of extending the site. However, from other reports received through the UNESCO Lima Office, gradual deterioration seems to continue.

XII.57    In addition, a “Landslide Risk Mitigation Symposium” took place from 21 to 26 January 2002, at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute of the Kyoto University (Japan) whereby an agreement was reached between the Institute and the Peruvian experts on the process to be followed to continue the research on the Machu Picchu landslide risks.

XII.58    The site has been of serious concern to the World Heritage Committee since 1996.  The management arrangements and planning mechanisms for the preservation of the Sanctuary, a proposed cable car from Aguas Calientes to the Ciudadela and a hotel extension, as well as damage to the Intihuantana sundial have been the main motives for this concern.

XII.59    Three monitoring missions have been undertaken to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, in 1997, 1999 and 2002, to assess the management and planning of the site. The most recent mission was to assess the implementation of the recommendations of the 1999 mission and, in response to damage caused to the Intihuatana sundial, to look into the policy for the commercial use of the site. The mission was undertaken from 25 February to 1 March 2002 and found that only a few of the recommendations of the 1999 mission had been fully implemented:

  • Planning and management arrangements for the Sanctuary have improved only marginally and remain inadequate as many stakeholders continue to act in their own self-interest. The strategies of the Master Plan have not been translated into clear planning and action, although an improvement is to be noted in the Operational Plan for the year 2002.
  • The Machu Picchu Programme, funded under a debt-swap arrangement with Finland, has provided sound information on, and analysis of, many of the critical problems confronting the Sanctuary. However, this information has been used only rarely as the basis for concrete decisions and action.
  • Access to the Sanctuary and to the Ciudadela remains as it has been for many years and the contract for the study and eventual construction of the proposed cable car has been cancelled.
  • A study on carrying capacity of the Camino Inca has been completed and a regulation for the use of the Inca Trail has been introduced, which is probably the most important progress that has been made in the Sanctuary.
  • Terms of reference for development of a Public Use Plan for the Sanctuary are currently being developed in preparation for out-sourcing of this critical work. The Public Use Plan will be pivotal in terms of determining carrying capacities, alternatives for access, and the safety of Aguas Calientes for visitor use. These are critical factors that should be used as the basis for planning visitor services and facilities.
  • While urban development and natural disaster mitigation plans have been developed for the village of Aguas Calientes, they have not been implemented nor have their recommendations been followed.
  • Scientific and financial support for management of the Sanctuary remains a critical issue for which the Machu Picchu Programme has provided interim solutions, but the Programme will terminate this year. Urgent consideration should be given to the establishment of a permanent, independent, and international institution to provide scientific support to the management of the Sanctuary. There is also a need to immediately establish, as indicated in the Master Plan, a Trust Fund for Machu Picchu, to facilitate the collection, transparent management, and distribution of revenues in accordance with the priorities and strategies outlined in the Master Plan.
  • The damage caused to the Intihuantana sundial during filming of a beer commercial has demonstrated that current regulation of commercial use of the site is inadequate. Efforts are underway to augment both regulation and supervision of such activities in the future. Studies have been undertaken that indicate restoration of the damage to be feasible, but little can be done until the legal and administrative processes against the party causing the damage have been resolved. In the meantime, it would be useful to establish a technical commission to study the reports, and make a firm recommendation regarding the restoration.

XII.60    The extensive mission report, to be distributed during the next Committee session, concludes by formulating a series of 38 specific recommendations.  On the basis of the findings of the mission and after a brief debate, the Bureau noted the report of the 2002 UNESCO-IUCN-ICOMOS mission and its recommendations. While recognising that progress has been made in certain aspects, particularly the management of the Camino Inca, it expressed its very serious concern about the continued inadequacy of the management and planning arrangements for the Sanctuary. The Bureau requested the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee to write a letter to the highest level competent authorities to invite the Peruvian Government to address these issues as a matter of urgency.

XII.61    The Bureau, furthermore, invited the Government of Peru to consider the report and recommendations of the mission of 2002 and to submit an intermediary response by 15 September 2002, and a full report on the implementation of the recommendations of the missions of 1999 and 2002 by 1 February 2003 for consideration of the Bureau in April 2003.

XII.62    The Bureau requested the Secretariat in co-operation and consultation with the Advisory Bodies concerned, to maintain close communications with and advise the Government of Peru on the implementation of the recommendations of the mission.

Decision Code
26 BUR XII.56-62
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2002 Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
Context of Decision