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Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche

Mexico
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Governance
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Governance (need to strengthen the coordinating mechanism)
  • Legal framework (need to assure that the buffer zone is configured in a way designed to protect the property)
  • Management systems/ management plan (lack of an integrated Protection and Management Plan)
  • Weak monitoring system for the Cultural and Natural values
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 10 December 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1061/documents/ and reports the following:

  • While the State Party is considering the Committee’s recommendations regarding the property’s delimitation and protection, the legal protection of the entire property and its buffer zone is guaranteed by the legal instruments in force;
  • The Specific Project, undertaken within the framework of the General Bases for Collaboration between the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), had as its main objectives to develop the Management Plan for the property, integrating the policies of both institutions, and to define zoning within the property and its buffer zone;
  • In this framework, a management workshop was held in October 2019 between CONANP, INAH and stakeholders to conclude the preparation of the Management Plan, which is annexed to the State Party report;
  • The Management Plan defines three zones within the property: the Restricted Use Zone, the Preservation Zone and the Cultural and Natural Interpretation Zone. The part of the buffer zone immediately surrounding the property is divided into zones for traditional use, sustainable use of ecosystems and the South fringe buffer zone. Permitted and non-permitted activities are listed for each type of zone;
  • 38 archaeological sites have been identified within the property. Of these, 17 are within the Restricted Use Zone where no human activity is allowed, and 21 are within the Preservation Zone where very little activity is allowed. The Cultural and Natural Interpretation Zone refers to the Calakmul Archaeological Zone, the Piedra Rota area and the zone that includes El Zacatal, Dos Aguadas and Oxpemul sites, all of which are open to the public and accessible from the Museum Centre of Culture and Conservation by a dirt road or path;
  • Further actions implemented in 2018-2019 include: the species at risk programme; monitoring of “aguadas”; training on using SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool); programmes for forest fire management, conservation for sustainable development, and the protection and restoration of ecosystems and species at risk; education and dissemination activities; an evaluation of the functioning of the Advisory Council of the property, and conservation and intervention in archaeological structures.

At the request of the World Heritage Centre, the State Party submitted on 15 June 2020 substantive documentation on the so-called Tren Maya Project, a railway on the Yucatán peninsula that intends to offer a new rail transport service, spanning almost 1.500 kilometres, connecting the major cities and touristic areas of the Yucatan peninsula. It seeks to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the south and southeast of the country, in addition to connecting the main cities and tourist circuits. The Tren Maya Project aims also towards inclusive tourism to benefit communities.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The preparation of an integrated Management Plan developed through a consultative process between CONANP, INAH and other stakeholders constitutes an important advance in the coordinated and integrated management of the mixed property. It is recommended that, while welcoming this important development, the Committee also reiterate its request, expressed in its Decision 38 COM 8B.16, that the State Party provide adequate financial resources for the effective implementation of the Management Plan.

It is further noted that the State Party has been considering the Committee’s requests related to the boundaries and legal provisions of the property and its buffer zone and that, while such considerations are being undertaken, the protection of the property is already sufficiently ensured by the existing provisions. In this regard, the zoning of the property and its buffer zone proposed in the new Management Plan is noted. Notwithstanding that the zoning of the property is clearly outlined and explained, it remains unclear how the proposed zoning of the buffer zone, which includes the zone of sustainable use of ecosystems covering a wide range of activities, can provide an additional layer of protection to the property as a functional buffer zone. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the established zoning both within the property and its buffer zone in addressing the Committee’s requests.

The State Party should be commended for the numerous projects and programmes implemented during the 2018-2019 period relevant to addressing the conservation and management of the property. However, particular attention is required to safeguard the state of conservation of the excavated tunnels of the Calakmul site that concern sub-structures and exposed stucco and wall paintings. It is considered that, in principle, these should not be open to the public and that specific conservation diagnosis and intervention is required that may include the re-burial of these tunnels.

In this context, it is considered critical to strengthen procedures that allow the systematic documentation and continuous monitoring of each individual structure in the area to identify conservation issues and impacts of external factors. A conservation form that includes information on the history of excavations, photographs, illustrations, temperature readings, and humidity levels, amongst others, should be kept at the site.

ICOMOS undertook an extensive technical review of the documentation submitted by the State Party in June 2020, which focused mainly on the issues related to cultural properties in the area potentially affected by the Tren Maya project. It issued a series of recommendations to the State Party and concluded that, considering the potential impact on six World Heritage properties and six properties inscribed on the Tentative List of Mexico, appropriate impact studies should be carried out before any implementation of the project. It is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party, as per Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to provide further and updated details about the development of this project and its trajectory to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies. It is essential that the State Party undertake as a matter of priority both Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), including a specific assessment of potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and of all other World Heritage properties concerned (Sian Ka’an (N), Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque (C), Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza (C), Pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal (C), Historic Fortified Town of Campeche (C), Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forest of Calakmul (C/N)).

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.78
Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche (Mexico) (C/N 1061bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 8B.16 and 42 COM 7B.63, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for the extensive conservation and management programme that was implemented during the 2018-2019 period and includes actions that are essential to the preservation of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  4. Welcomes the finalization of a new integrated Management Plan for the property and its buffer zone and reiterates its request to the State Party to provide adequate financial resources for its effective implementation;
  5. Takes note of the zoning of the property and its buffer zone proposed in the new Management Plan and requests the State Party to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the established zoning in addressing its previous requests and to submit the results of such assessment to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Acknowledges the State Party’s assurances that the Committee’s recommendations regarding the delimitation of the property and its buffer zone to include additional and relevant cultural sites are being considered, and also requests the State Party to keep it informed of any further action in this regard;
  7. Recommends the State Party to strengthen documentation and monitoring procedures for all structures, and particularly the excavated tunnels for which it is recommended to develop specific conservation plans;
  8. Further requests the State Party to consider the recommendations made in the July 2020 ICOMOS technical review and to submit to the World Heritage Centre updated detailed information about the Tren Maya project and its trajectory, and to ensure that all potential impacts of the project on the OUV of this and other properties in the broader region are adequately assessed through appropriate Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), as per Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and strongly requests to submit them for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as they are available, before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse;
  9. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, including a specific assessment of the effectiveness of the established zoning both within the property and its buffer zone in addressing previous Committee requests, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.78

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 38 COM 8B.16 and 42 COM 7B.63, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014) and 42nd (Manama, 2018) sessions respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for the extensive conservation and management programme that was implemented during the 2018-2019 period and includes actions that are essential to the preservation of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  4. Welcomes the finalization of a new integrated Management Plan for the property and its buffer zone and reiterates its request to the State Party to provide adequate financial resources for its effective implementation;
  5. Takes note of the zoning of the property and its buffer zone proposed in the new Management Plan and requests the State Party to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the established zoning in addressing its previous requests and to submit the results of such assessment to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies;
  6. Acknowledges the State Party’s assurances that the Committee’s recommendations regarding the delimitation of the property and its buffer zone to include additional and relevant cultural sites are being considered, and also requests the State Party to keep it informed of any further action in this regard;
  7. Recommends the State Party to strengthen documentation and monitoring procedures for all structures, and particularly the excavated tunnels for which it is recommended to develop specific conservation plans;
  8. Further requests the State Party to consider the recommendations made in the July 2020 ICOMOS technical review and to submit to the World Heritage Centre updated detailed information about the Tren Maya project and its trajectory, and to ensure that all potential impacts of the project on the OUV of this and other properties in the broader region are adequately assessed through appropriate Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), as per Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and strongly requests to submit them for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as they are available, before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse;
  9. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, including a specific assessment of the effectiveness of the established zoning both within the property and its buffer zone in addressing previous Committee requests, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session in 2023.
Report year: 2021
Mexico
Date of Inscription: 2002
Category: Mixed
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(ix)(x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2019) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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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