Mission to Potosí, Bolivia for eventual removal from List of World Heritage in Danger
In the framework of the implementation of Decision 40 COM 7A.1 adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session (Istanbul, 2016), a Technical Advisory Mission was conducted by UNESCO World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS International, in support of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, from the 8 to the 11 May 2017.
The World Heritage Committee inscribed the City of Potosí on the World Heritage List in 1987 for its historical value as an outstanding example of major silver mine activities in modern times, and its association with the economic change brought about in the 16th century by the flood of Spanish currency resulting from the massive import of precious metals in Seville.
The current property includes not only the old industrial facilities of Cerro Rico, and the intricate system of aqueducts and artificial lakes that waters it, but also the colonial quarter with the Casa de la Moneda, the church of San Lorenzo, several noble mansions and the barrios mitayos.
Since 2014, due to the situation of vulnerability and risk of collapse of Cerro Rico’s summit and the need to strengthen the conservation and management systems of the property, the World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe it on the List of World Heritage in Danger and requested the elaboration of the Desired State of Conservation together with a calendar of implementation of the necessary corrective measures to remove the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The members of the mission held a series of technical meetings and participative working sessions with representatives of the ministries concerned, the national and regional government, the Municipality of Potosí and the mining cooperatives, COMIBOL, FIDECOMIN, among others.
The mission also visited City of Potosí to verify the progress made in the stabilization of Cerro Rico, the current status of the Kari Kari lagoons, the ongoing conservation and restoration works in the Historical Centre, Ribera de los Ingenios, the barrios mitayos and other components of the inscribed property.
As a result, a document entitled Desired State of Conservation for the removal of City of Potosi from the List of World Heritage in Danger was prepared, with the respective corrective measures and a timetable for its implementation in a period of 5 to 7 years. The document will be submitted for adoption by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session which will be held in July 2017 in Kraków, Poland.
More information on the state of conservation of City of Potosí: whc.unesco.org/en/soc/3330
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
- Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.44, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
- Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party in view of the establishment of a Supra Organic Management Body to ensure an effective and integral management mechanism for the property and its components and urges the State Party to finalize
- Notes with concern the standstill of stabilization works at the summit of Cerro Rico and also urges the State Party to take all the necessary measures to proceed with the stabilization works;
- Further urges the State Party to finalize the process to adopt a new legislation to address the issue of the relocation of miners and enforcing the moratorium for all explorations between altitudes 4,400m and 4,700m;
- Regrets that the State Party was not able to develop a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) nor the Integral Management Plan in the framework of the International Assistance granted by the World Heritage Fund;
- Reiterates its requests to the State Party to develop as a matter of urgency, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a proposal for the DSOCR and a set of corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
- Requests the State Party to establish a clear management structure for the property, with appropriate articulation between the various bodies and committees, to urgently proceed with the elaboration of an Integrated Management Plan, and to include in this process the elaboration of land use regulation for the property and its surrounding areas in order to define a buffer zone to protect the visually sensitive areas around the property;
- Notes with appreciation the approval of the Law for the Preservation of the Historic Zone of City of Potosí and also requests the State Party to develop an integral conservation strategy before implementing any major restoration works at the property;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, 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 41st session in 2017;
- Decides to retain City of Potosí (Bolivia (Plurinational State of)) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.91, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
- 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;
- 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;
- Notes the result of the reactive monitoring mission to the property and endorses its recommendations and encourages the State Party to implement them;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.