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Maya Site of Copan

Honduras
Factors affecting the property in 2009*
  • Air transport infrastructure
  • High impact research / monitoring activities
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration of construction materials due to natural decay phenomena

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) The foreseen construction of an airport in the vicinity of the World Heritage property;

b) Deterioration of construction materials due to natural decay phenomena;

c) Risk of structural failure of archaeological buildings resulting from the excavated tunnels for archaeological purposes;

d) Deterioration derived from uncontrolled visitation and potential to exceed carrying capacity at specific time periods.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2009
Requests approved: 11 (from 1979-1999)
Total amount approved : 226,513 USD
Missions to the property until 2009**

1999: monitoring mission; 2003: UNESCO/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; 2005: ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

In 2006, the State Party informed the World Heritage Committee that it had stopped the construction of an airport in the Rio Amarillo area. In 2007, the State Party informed the World Heritage Committee about the construction of an alternate airport at the old air strip in the village of Concepción

The State Party state of conservation report, which responds succinctly to Decision 32 COM 7B.122, was received by the World Heritage Centre on 30 January 2009.

 

a) Interest in building an alternate airport to access the Maya Site of Copan

A final decision on the construction of an alternate airport at the old air strip in the village of Concepción is still pending. The report indicates that the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History (IHAH) received 28 January 2009 a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment including an archaeological and cultural impact study. It was also indicated that the IHAH is reviewing the document and will make an official statement soon.

Although the State Party indicated that the construction of the airport in Rio Amarillo had been abandoned, this site is still mentioned in the management plan of Rio Amarillo.

b) Finalization of the management plan for the property

It is stated in the report that the management plan for the Maya Site of Copan was finalized in 2005,. The report sent by the State Party explains that the management plan was published, but it was not specified if it was officially approved and put into action. The State Party indicates that the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History (IHAH) is implementing the management plan through the organization of committees responsible for different activities prescribed in the Management programs but no details are provided on the programmes currently being implemented.

c) Extension and limits of the property and its buffer zone

No precise information on the proposed limits for the property has been sent. The report indicates that negotiations between landowners and the State Party continue, but no information on legal processes has been included nor has a timeframe been defined for clearly defining the existing property, potential buffer zone and extension of the property.

d) Other conservation issues

No graphic or technical information concerning the consolidation of tunnels to be continued this year, nor on the ongoing restoration of the Nuñez Chinchilla Group and neither was there any information on the renovation of the Centro Regional de Investigaciones Arqueológicas which was finished in March 2008. There is also no indication of how these interventions correlate to the management plan or other actions being implemented under that framework as mentioned previously by the State Party.

Rio Amarillo site: In the light of a proposal for the development of an airport and a road for this area, located 17km from the property, an overall impact assessment was carried out. A “Management plan” for this area was received in 2009.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the Copan management plan is being implemented and the Rio Amarillo Plan has been completed. However it remains unclear as to how these plans relate to each other. However no indication of how the restoration and renovation projects relate to the management plan. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies remain concerned about a number of conservation issues due to the lack of detailed technical information, including on deterioration of construction materials due to natural decay phenomena and deterioration from uncontrolled visitation and potential to exceed carrying capacity at specific time periods.

 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2009
33 COM 7B.137
Maya Site of Copan (Honduras) (C 129)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.122, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes progress by the State Party in implementing the decisions of the World Heritage Committee and invites the State Party to submit further details on the implementation of the management plan and conservation interventions at the property;

4. Urges the State Party to officially submit the limits of the World Heritage property and its potential buffer zone, in light of the requirements of the retrospective inventory;

5. Requests the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies on the definitive decision on the location for the construction of the airport and related tourism management issues;

6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

Draft Decision: 33 COM 7B.137

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.122, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes progress by the State Party in implementing the decisions of the World Heritage Committee and invites the State Party to submit further details on the implementation of the management plan and conservation interventions at the property;

4. Urges the State Party to officially submit the limits of the World Heritage property and its potential buffer zone, in light of the requirements of the retrospective inventory;

5. Requests the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies on the definitive decision on the location for the construction of the airport and related tourism management issues;

6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011. 

Report year: 2009
Honduras
Date of Inscription: 1980
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 33COM (2009)
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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