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City of Potosí

Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Mining
  • 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

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
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014

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: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 4 (from 1988-2010)
Total amount approved : 53,785 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

November 2005 and February 2011: World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS technical mission. December 2013 and January 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

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 https://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 by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

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.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.38
City of Potosi (Plurinational State of Bolivia) (C 420)

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.
38 COM 8C.1
Update of the List of World Heritage in Danger (inscribed sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (WHC-14/38.COM/7B, WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add and WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add.Corr) and the proposals for inscription of properties on the World Heritage List (WHC-14/38.COM/8B and WHC-14/38.COM/8B.Add),
  2. Decides to inscribe the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 38 COM 8B.4)
  • Plurinational State of Bolivia, City of Potosi (Decision 38 COM 7B.38)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 38 COM 7B.95)
38 COM 8E
Adoption of Retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:
  • China: Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area;
  • Japan: Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu; Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara; Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama; The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome);
  • Sri Lanka: Sinharaja Forest;
  • Vietnam: Hoi An Ancient Town; Complex of Hué Monuments;

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA:

    • Albania: Butrint;
    • Armenia: Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley;
    • Austria: Semmering Railway; Wachau Cultural Landscape;
    • Azerbaijan: Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower;
    • Belarus / Estonia / Finland / Latvia / Lithuania / Moldova / Norway / Russian Federation / Sweden / Ukraine: Struve Geodetic Arc;
    • Belgium: Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels); Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons); Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai; Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex;
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar;
    • Cyprus: Paphos;
    • Denmark: Ilulissat Icefjord;
    • Finland: Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki; Fortress of Suomenlinna; Old Rauma; Petäjävesi Old Church; Verla Groundwood and Board Mill;
    • Georgia: Historical Monuments of Mtskheta; Upper Svaneti;
    • Germany / Poland: Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski;
    • Germany: Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch; Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau; Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl; Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg; Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz; Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg; Monastic Island of Reichenau; Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin; Pilgrimage Church of Wies; St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim; Völklingen Ironworks; Wartburg Castle; Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square; Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen;
    • Holy See / Italy: Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura;
    • Holy See: Vatican City;
    • Iceland: Þingvellir National Park;
    • Italy: Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua; Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta; Historic Centre of Florence; Historic Centre of Naples;
    • Lithuania / Russian Federation: Curonian Spit;
    • Lithuania: Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė);
    • Malta: City of Valletta; Hal Saflieni Hypogeum; Megalithic Temples of Malta;
    • Mongolia / Russian Federation: Uvs Nuur Basin;
    • Montenegro: Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor;
    • Netherlands: Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao;
    • Norway: Vegaøyan -- The Vega Archipelago; West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord;
    • Poland: Centennial Hall in Wrocław; Historic Centre of Warsaw;
    • Portugal: Historic Centre of Évora; Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture; Monastery of Alcobaça; Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon;
    • Russian Federation: Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye; Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl; Kizhi Pogost;
    • Slovakia: Bardejov Town Conservation Reserve; Vlkolínec;
    • Slovenia: Škocjan Caves;
    • Spain: Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida; Burgos Cathedral; Historic Centre of Cordoba; Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid; Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias; Mudejar Architecture of Aragon; Old City of Salamanca; Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches; Old Town of Cáceres; Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct; Poblet Monastery; Route of Santiago de Compostela; Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe; San Cristóbal de La Laguna; Santiago de Compostela (Old Town); Works of Antoni Gaudí;
    • Turkey: Archaeological Site of Troy; City of Safranbolu; Hattusha: the Hittite Capital; Xanthos-Letoon;
    • Ukraine: Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra;
    • United Kingdom: Gough and Inaccessible Islands; Henderson Island; Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda;
    • United States of America: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site; Chaco Culture; Independence Hall; Mesa Verde National Park; Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Statue of Liberty;

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEANS:

    • Argentina: Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks; Los Glaciares; Península Valdés;
    • Belize: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System;
    • Bolivia: City of Potosí;
    • Brazil: Brasilia; Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia; Historic Centre of São Luís; Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina; Historic Centre of the Town of Goiás; Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda; Historic Town of Ouro Preto; Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas;
    • Colombia: Los Katíos National Park;
    • Costa Rica / Panama: Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park;
    • Cuba: Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba; San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba; Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos; Viñales Valley;
    • Dominican Republic: Colonial City of Santo Domingo;
    • Guatemala: Tikal National Park;
    • Panama: Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection; Fortifications on the Caribbean Side, Portobelo and San Lorenzo;
    • Suriname: Central Suriname Nature Reserve; Historic Inner City of Paramaribo;

    4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;
    5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

    • World Heritage properties in the Arab States;
    • World Heritage properties in Africa;
    • World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;
    • World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
    • World Heritage properties in Europe and North America;

    6.  Takes note that the World Heritage Centre is in the process of harmonising all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and, as appropriate, reflects name changes of World Heritage properties throughout the text of the Statements as requested by the Committee at its 37th session, and requests the World Heritage Centre to also update the size of the property and/or its buffer zone, as appropriate, following subsequent Decisions of the World Heritage Committee concerning Minor Boundary Modifications.
    7.  Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload the two language versions on its website.

    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.

    Report year: 2014
    Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
    Date of Inscription: 1987
    Category: Cultural
    Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
    Danger List (dates): 2014-present
    Documents examined by the Committee
    SOC Report by the State Party
    Report (2014) .pdf
    arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
    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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