1.         Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche (Mexico) (C/N 1061bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2002

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(ix)(x)

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/1061/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1061/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1061/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2023

On 17 March 2023, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1061/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

In October 2021, the State Party submitted a HIA on the potential impact of the Tren Maya project on cultural and mixed World Heritage properties along with a follow-up report on the same in May 2022, both were prepared by INAH.

On 17 August 2022, the State Party submitted a report on the Tren Maya infrastructure project and its relationship to natural and mixed World Heritage properties in the Yucatan peninsula’. On 30 November 2022, the World Heritage Centre sent a technical review of the report undertaken by IUCN to the State Party, noting the need to provide the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for the project as soon as it becomes available. At the time of writing, the EIA of the Tren Maya project has not been submitted.

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

The State Party should be commended for its substantive response and for the actions it has undertaken with regards to the management and conservation of the property.

The possible extension of protected areas to the north-east, west and north of the property is noted. The State Party should ensure that any extension of protected areas outside the property is carried out with full and effective participation of all relevant stakeholders and rightsholders and contributes to the protection of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), including archaeological resources that are located outside of the property but that are intimitely related to it as well as enhancing its ecological integrity as the the centre of connectivity in the Selva Maya. The State Party should be requested to keep the Committee informed of further actions in this regard especially to respond to past Committee requests to improve the configuration of the buffer zone and to consider including additional and relevant cultural sites, which follows a full consultative process with all relevant stakeholders and rightsholders.

The State Party should be commended on the extensive research and documentation through LiDAR imagery as well as the monitoring and conservation programme in the tunnels and frieze of Substructure IIC.

Concerning the Tren Maya project, the Advisory Bodies provided extensive advice through technical reviews in July 2020, December 2021 and July 2022 in which they stressed the need for collaborative action by INAH and CONANP for the assessment of its potential impact of the project on this and other World Heritage properties. The HIAs undertaken by INAH along with the research, documentation and conservation actions it is implementing along the trajectory of the Tren Maya are noted. However, the State Party has yet to submit an integrated assessment of impacts of the project to the OUV of the property as a whole. It is therefore recommended that the State Party urgently undertake an EIA including assessment of impacts on natural and cultural values and in particular the OUV and submit it to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, in line with the Committee’s decision (44 COM 7B.78).

In the technical review of July 2022, it was noted with great concern that, so far, no specific mitigation proposals have been proposed for some of the serious multi-dimensional threats that have been identified and that clarity is lacking on how their likely impact is measured. Taking into account the potential scale of impact of the Tren Maya, including the direct impacts of construction and operation of the train but also increased visitation and associated tourism infrastructure development facilitated by the project, and acknowledging that a number of World Heritage properties are located along the route, it is essential that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is conducted in order to guide the development of the project in a coherent manner consistent with the conservation of OUV of the different properties. The assessment should include specific considerations of potential impacts of the project to the OUV of all World Heritage properties located along the proposed route of the railway, in line with the new Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessment in a World Heritage Context.

The review also highlighted the need for better and integrated maps on the location of the railway, the stations, and the related infrastructure, in order to be able to appreciate the spatial relationship between the planned constructions, the property and its buffer zone. The State Party should be urged to establish appropriate coordination mechanisms among all institutions involved in the Tren Maya project, in particular between INAH and CONANP for an integrated approach for the protection of the cultural and natural attributes.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 7B.99

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7B.78 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Commends the State Party for the extensive programme of actions the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) has undertaken for the implementation of the management plan and conservation of the cultural resources of the property, such as the tunnels and frieze of Substructure IIC, among others;
  4. Notes the initiative of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) to increase the federal protected areas to the north-east, the west and the north of the property and biosphere reserve and urges the State Party to consider previous recommendations from the Committee to include additional and relevant cultural sites within the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, ensuring these processes follow a transparent consultative process with full and effective participation of all relevant stakeholders and rightsholders;
  5. Commends the State Party for the research and documentation focusing on the monumental complex that has been undertaken through LiDAR imagery and requests the State Party to continue to strengthen documentation and monitoring procedures and keep the World Heritage Centre informed of further actions in this regard;
  6. Also requests the State Party to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to assess the strategic alignment and cumulative impacts of the Tren Maya project on the World Heritage properties located along the proposed route of the railway, and include an assessment of alternative options, in line with the principles of the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context;
  7. Noting with appreciation the research and documentation programme of INAH in the framework of the Tren Maya project, urges the State Party to continue the consultative process with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for the project and to take into account the recommendations in the technical reviews and requests furthermore the State Party to urgently undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before proceeding with the project to assess the potential impacts on the OUV of the property, informed by the SEA, and undertaken in line with the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, and to submit the EIA to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, alongside other relevant documentation as soon as they become available;
  8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2024, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session.