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Maya Site of Copan

Honduras
Factors affecting the property in 2006*
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

The construction foreseen for an airport in the archaeological area of Rio Amarillo, 17 km from the core zone of the World Heritage property.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2006
Requests approved: 11 (from 1979-1999)
Total amount approved : 226,513 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

After transmitting to the State Party the Committee’s Decision 29 COM 7B.90, the World Heritage Centre repeatedly asked for information on the status of the Environmental Impact Assessment report in relation to the building of an airport in the valley of Río Amarillo. In November 2005, the National Institute of Anthropology and History informed the World Heritage Centre that the Secretariat for Human Resources and the Environment intended to subject the above-mentioned report to further study. Through non official channels, the World Heritage Centre has been informed that the process has been halted due to a court injunction. Moreover, the World Heritage Committee, by its Decision 29 COM 7B.90, has requested the State Party to elaborate a Public Use Study, as a precondition for the construction of the new airport at Rio Amarillo. However, only a preliminary draft of this study has so far been received from the State Party. This draft does not address the concerns expressed by the Committee regarding the impact of the airport on the archaeological site of Copan.

Towards the end of January 2006, the State Party sent to the World Heritage Centre the State of Conservation report of the site, requested by the Committee. This report gives an account of the progress made on the preparation of the management plan.

With respect to the management plan for the site, the World Heritage Centre noted the lack of a participatory methodology in its elaboration, although this was one of the conditions stipulated in the framework of the agreements with the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. Such a participatory approach was particularly necessary in relation to the issues concerning the Copan Ruins Community, Sociedad de Buenos Componedores (Society of Good Repairers), and the communities adjacent to the Río Amarillo area. Moreover, the management plan does not cover the entire Copan Valley, which is protected by national legislation on a special basis.

The World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to provide clear and accurate cartography, showing the official limits of the registered site. Unfortunately, no information has been received on the matter nor on the possible purchase of lands in order to link the Las Sepulturas area with the main Copan site.

Finally, the Getty Conservation Institute has completed the Copan Hieroglyphic Stairway conservation plan. However, the monitoring programme is continuing and the monitoring equipment is still in place. In addition, the State Party reported on the state of conservation of underground stuccoes throughout the site, which is considered to be fair. This particular report was prepared in cooperation with the Mexican INAH.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2006
30 COM 7B.95
State of Conservation (Maya Site of Copan)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.90, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Also recalling the recommendations of the previous monitoring missions of 1999, 2003 and 2005,

4. Urges the State Party not to proceed with the construction of the planned airport at Rio Amarillo Valley. The two ICOMOS missions of 2003 and 2005 based on visits to the sites and the environmental impact studies done by the Government of Honduras, as well as by independent organizations, have shown the negative impact that the construction of this airport will have on the cultural resources, the traditional social networks, the beliefs and values of the indigenous people, and the landscape. The State Party is encouraged to consult closely with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies on the appropriate steps to be taken;

5. Requests the State Party submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2007, the terms of reference for conducting a Public Use Study for the management of the future Rio Amarillo Archaeological Park to complement the already existent management plan;

6. Further requests the State Party to continue monitoring the state of conservation of the Copan Hieroglyphic Stairway, based on the programme developed by the Getty Conservation Institute;

7. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in the implementation of the above recommendations, for the examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.

Draft Decision: 30 COM 7B.95

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.90, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Requests the State Party to ensure the full involvement of all the stakeholders in the development of the management plan and that the latter cover the entire area of the Copan Valley;

4. Urges the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre detailed information on the status of the Environmental Impact Study for the project of the construction of an airport within the Río Amarillo Valley, by 30 August 2006, and in any case before any irreversible decision is taken regarding the construction of the airport, and to consult closely with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies on the appropriate steps to be taken;

5. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 30 August 2006, the terms of reference for conducting a Public Use Study;

6. Further requests the State Party to continue monitoring the state of conservation of the Copan Hieroglyphic Stairway, based on the programme developed by the Getty Conservation Institute;

7. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in the implementation of the above recommendations, for the examination of the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.

Report year: 2006
Honduras
Date of Inscription: 1980
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 30COM (2006)
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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