1.         Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (Peru) (C/N 274)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1983

Criteria  (i)(iii)(vii)(ix)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1986-2001)
Total amount approved: USD 166,625
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 15,000 for the social participation workshop requested by the World Heritage Committee (Decision 30 COM 7B.35). 

Previous monitoring missions

October 1997: IUCN/ICOMOS mission; October 1999: World Heritage Centre/IUCN/ICOMOS mission; February-March 2002: World Heritage Centre/IUCN/ICOMOS mission; October 2003: World Heritage Centre visit; April 2005: World Heritage Centre mission; April, 2007: World Heritage Centre/IUCN/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; January 2009: World Heritage Centre/IUCN/ICOMOS reinforced monitoring mission; February 2010: World Heritage Centre technical emergency mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Delays in reviewing the Master Plan and developing detailed yearly operational plans, and inadequate budgetary support for effective implementation;

b) No evaluation of transport options, related geological studies, or the impact of bus traffic on increasing the risk of landslides;

c) Lack of impact studies related to the carrying capacity of the Citadel and Inca Trail;

d) Delays in the development and implementation of a public use plan;

e) Delays in implementing urban planning and control measures for Machu Picchu Village, the main point of entry to the property, which has impacted on the visual values of the property;

f) Lack of effective management of the property;

g) Lack of risk management plans related to natural disasters;

h) Inadequate governance arrangements including lack of adequate coordination of activities between different institutions and stakeholders involved in site management;

i) Uncontrolled visitor access to the western part of the Sanctuary, related to the construction of the Carrilluchayoc Bridge.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The State Party’ state of conservation report was received by the World Heritage Centre on 14 February 2011, and an official letter sent by the Ministry of Environment was sent on 18 March 2011 with additional information.


a) Governance and management arrangements for the property

The State Party reports that management efficiency at the property was hindered in 2010 due to the state of emergency in the Cuzco region, coupled with political processes for district, provincial and regional offices. It considers that with a clear political situation for the next four years, the implementation of the 2011 Annual Operational Plan will be achieved.

The State Party also reports on the current proposal to restructure the Management Unit with a revised high-level hierarchical structure to allow greater efficiency in decision-making consistent with the responsibilities of all levels of the Peruvian Government (local, regional and national). The Board of Directors would be comprised of the Ministers of Culture, Environment and Tourism and the President of the Regional Government of Cuzco. The technical committee would be constituted by the Vice ministers of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, Natural Protected Areas, the Regional Manager from the Government of Cuzco for Natural Resources and for Tourism, the Director of Culture in Cuzco from the Ministry of Culture, and both site managers from culture and nature. The draft amendment of the Supreme Decree to modify the composition of the Management Unit is being discussed. Additional information submitted indicates that the Regional Government of Cuzco has already expressed concern about how the Management Unit will be composed and will be submitting comments for consideration.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the information provided about the re-structuring of the management unit. They consider that although having a high level Board of Directors can potentially enforce the political commitment to the conservation of the property, there are still gaps that have yet to be addressed in decision-making processes at the local level. Governance mechanisms have yet to be identified for the broad participation of the municipalities involved so that the current cycle in which decisions are perceived as impositions at the local level is overcome. They also express concern about the sustainability of the arrangements beyond the current stable political context.

As for the request regarding the implementation of workshops for conflict resolution, the State Party reports that the Machu Picchu District Municipality and the rural organizations of the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary signed a memorandum to create a technical committee to review existing problems in the district. No further information is provided on the function of the technical committee or how the results from discussions will be integrated for implementation.

b) Implementation of a management effectiveness assessment and agreement of a three-year plan to address the improvement of its effectiveness

The Management Unit has prepared the terms of reference to update the Management Plan, as requested by the World Heritage Committee in 2007.The State Party stated that the Management Plan will be revised only when the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) will be officially approved.

c) Harmonization of existing legal frameworks and regulatory measures and definition of strategies for efficient implementation

No information was provided by the State Party on this issue.

d) Development of the Statement of OUV and Desired State of Conservation, through a participatory workshop

The retrospective Statement of OUV was received by the World Heritage Centre on 21 June 2009 and sent to the Advisory Bodies for review. The Desired state of conservation was not submitted as requested in light of the concerns that have been highlighted in previous decisions by the World Heritage Committee.

e) Emergency Action Plan for risk reduction and disaster recovery

In response to the events which occurred at the property in January 2011, the Ministry of Culture, the National Service for Protected Areas of Peru (SERNANP) and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) formed a working group for risk reduction, including the participation of the National Meteorological and Hydrology Service of Peru, the Ministry of Transport and Communication, Peru Rail, the National Citizen’s Protection Institute, and the Cuzco Regional Chamber of Tourism. The working group will gather and monitor data from the nine permanent weather stations installed in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu since 2010 and the three hydrological stations in the Vilcanota River to monitor climatic and hydrological conditions in the Sanctuary. This action aims to identify and take preventive measures when increased rainfall and flooding of the Vilcanota River could endanger the population and visitors to the property. The evaluation gave the opportunity to update the Action Plan for Disaster Mitigation in Machu Picchu Village, which is currently in the process of implementation.

As part of the risk reduction plan, MINCETUR and the government body responsible for tourism in Peru (COPESCO) signed an agreement with the Machu Picchu Municipal District on 28 December, 2010 for the implementation of an early warning system and an emergency plan for Machu Picchu Village. This continues to be in a planning phase.

An additional cooperation agreement has also been signed between SERNANP and the National Meteorology and Hydrology Institute (SENAMHI) for the operation and automatic exchange of climate and hydrological information within the Sanctuary to prevent natural disasters. This will include climate information to develop projects to prevent forest fires and the risks of landslides.

Despite the heavy impact of the torrential rains and lack of sufficient preventive measures in place, the State Party’s evaluation of the natural disasters in the region classified the geodynamic processes as low risk. However, the submitted Technical Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Report of the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, developed in 2010 by SERNANP, identified several areas in imminent risk or with high vulnerability to natural phenomena. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider this revised assessment constitutes an essential tool to further develop a comprehensive risk management plan and encourage the implementation of its recommendations.

f) Definition of public use regulations

As indicated in previous Annual Reports, SERNANP and the Ministry of Culture are monitoring the western access using records of visitors through the checkpoint. Annual visitor figures to the Sanctuary in 2010 reflected an increase, which is significant in regard to the carrying capacity of the site considering that the access to the property was closed for two months as a result of the 2010 torrential rains.

Concerning the property’s public use plan, on 11 March 2010 the Regional Government of Cuzco publicly announced the hiring of a consultant to prepare the Plan through Public Tender #005-2009/GR/Cuzco (the Public Use Plan for the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu) and the Selection Process for Small Claims Adjudication #018-2010/GR/Cuzco, pursuant to national regulations for the access to the site. The Plan will only develop at this point the component pertaining to the Tourist and Recreation Use at a cost of USD 130,000.

A second component of this Public Use plan, the study for the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) and limits of carrying capacity for the Inca Trail Network and the Citadel, has been developed and was included in the report. It was finished in December 2010 and is currently being evaluated by official governing bodies for approval and implementation. The report did not analyze any of the issues related to the Western Access of the property. It identifies several factors affecting tourism use including unplanned and unregulated practices, the uncontrolled growth of human settlements (particularly along the Inca trail) and waste management among others. The report does not provide a strategic response to identified issues; recommendations are very limited and too generalised to allow for clear action. No indication is provided as to how the results will inform the Tourist and Recreation use plan or how they will be articulated with the Management Plan.

No information has been provided on the process for the development and timeframe of the other components of the Public Use Plan that include Education, Capacity building and communication as well as social participation and institutional relationships.

g) Western access to the Sanctuary

Due to the events of January 2010, by Ministerial Resolution #057-2010-MTC/02 the Ministry of Transport and Communications temporarily reclassified the Santa Maria – Santa Teresa – Hydropower Plant Road as part of the National Road Network, and on 16 September 2010, the Chief of Staff enacted Law #29584 declaring the construction of the Machu Picchu – Santa Teresa Road a public necessity and of immediate national interest. The Law will have to be approved by a Presidential Decree. Parts of these roads are within the buffer zone and in immediate proximity to the property and access to the Citadel.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies express their concern about the proposed construction of a major national road, to provide a second entrance to the Sanctuary which will support arterial transport links with the National Road Network. Although the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies acknowledge that currently, the railway provides the only access to the Sanctuary, and since the illegal construction of the Carrilluchayoc Bridge, tourists and locals have no choice but to walk on the train tracks in a hazardous situation from Santa Teresa to the Sanctuary. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies would welcome proposals for a safer alternative pedestrian access for visitors but consider that the current official proposals will impact adversely on the property and its setting. 

h) Analysis of land tenure status and mapping of current uses to identify adequate measures to maintain the OUV and integrity of the property

In order to strengthen the protection of the natural and cultural heritage of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, both the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Culture have appointed a State Prosecutor for crime prevention. The State Party reports that legal proceedings are currently underway in the Mixed Court of Urubamba to sanction illegal constructions in Machu Picchu Town, as well as other infractions including deforestation, fires, and trespassing in the Sanctuary.

By Supreme Resolution #121-2010-JUS, 21 June 2010, the Mayor of the Machu Picchu Municipal District proposed an Urban Land Registry Plan for Machu Picchu Village to the Ministry of Environment to begin implementation in 2011. No cadastral information on the property and buffer zone has been submitted. Land tenure is essential for a strategic response to sustain the OUV and integrity of the property, including the identification of potential safe access points and routes for visitation.

i) Visit of the Director General of UNESCO to the Sanctuary

On the occasion of the official visit of UNESCO Director-General to Peru (20 to 25 February 2011); the Director-General visited the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. She discussed the concerns of the World Heritage Committee regarding the inadequate accessibility, the enormous damages incurred last year and the urgent need to implement the Emergency Plan. At a meeting held between the President of the Republic, the Minister of Environment, the Minister of Culture, and the regional authority of Cuzco, the Director-General reported that UNESCO, in cooperation with the National Authorities, is committed to finding a solution for the access to the Sanctuary, to identify a proper system of visitor management at the Citadel and ensuring the implementation of the Emergency Plan of the site.

The Minister of the Environment sent a letter to the Director of the World Heritage Centre on 22 March 2011, requesting, in accordance to Decision 34 COM 7B.42, the application of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism for the property. The letter confirmed the agreement of the Peruvian Authorities to establish an international support panel to provide technical advice and support to the National Authorities, to address governance, resource and finance issues, effective stakeholder involvement, and to seek the necessary support for the full implementation of the 2009 Action Plan.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies remain deeply concerned about the lack of adequate regulatory and conservation measures to maintain the OUV of the property and the extremely slow process of planning and implementing the necessary measures to address long-term concerns and provide the appropriate solutions. They consider that the threats to the property have increased since 1999 and that, despite the requests of the World Heritage Committee, issues such as governance, access and safety measures remain to be effectively addressed. This lack of adequate governance and planning has been demonstrated by the recent approval given for the construction of a new national road. This has been approved against previous recommendations of the Committee, and without any environmental and heritage impact assessments being considered. The construction of a substantial national road, will impact adversely on the property and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities such as the risk of landslides, and insecure and uncontrolled visitors access. Over the last ten years the World Heritage Committee has requested urgent actions to control and regulate access to the Sanctuary. This new road unfortunately will be counterproductive and will have the opposite effect. The project illustrates the lack of an overall management system for the property, and appears to demonstrate a priority to maximize visitor numbers rather than optimize conservation.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that, in the absence of confirmation from the State Party that the construction of the national road will be halted, and until an alternative access solution has been identified, the World Heritage Committee consider the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.38

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.42, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Takes note of the submission of the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, under revision by the Advisory Bodies;

4. Also takes note of the indication by the State Party on actions taken to address threats to the property including the Western access, public use, governance and management arrangements, uncontrolled development at the Machu Picchu village and other threats identified in the 2009 Emergency Action Plan;

5. Welcomes the support of the State Party for the establishment of an international support panel to provide technical advice on the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan and requests the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to support the State Party in the identification of appropriate expertise and Terms of Reference, as well as in the organization of the first meeting of the panel;

6. Also requests that the State Party submit to the World Heritage Centre, for evaluation, the initial plans related to the possible construction of the Santa Teresa road, to ensure that the World Heritage Centre takes an active part in the feasibility studies for the final project;

7. Considers that the State Party has made progress with the requests expressed by the World Heritage Committee in Decision 34 COM 7B.42, and further requests the State Party to address unresolved issues that could constitute a danger to the attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, with particular attention to:

a) Updating of the management plan to define provisions to strategically address unregulated access to the site, public use and urban planning, especially in the Western access,

b) Definition of strategies to address the Western access to the property and identify alternatives to the proposed Santa Teresa Road,

c) Risk reduction and disaster recovery plans, including a clear and precise course of action,

d) Harmonization of legislative frameworks and enforcement of regulatory measures,

e) Inventory of land ownership of the property and enforcement of regulatory measures,

f) Strengthening of decision-making processes and governance at the property;

8. Welcomes the invitation of the State Party to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to carry out a mission to evaluate the degree of conservation of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu;

9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the steps taken to implement the above-mentioned recommendations and in particular the results of the first meeting of the international panel, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.