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Rising fears about conservation of Machu Picchu site prompt UN mission

Rising fears about conservation of Machu Picchu site prompt UN mission

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is sending a mission next week to the Incan archaeological ruin of Machu Picchu in Peru amid mounting concern about the conservation of the World Heritage Site as tourist numbers increase and urban development encroaches.

Starting Monday, the UNESCO mission will spend eight days visiting Machu Picchu and holding talks with Peruvian Government officials, local community representatives and others to discuss the implementation of the master plan for the site.

Mission members will hold workshops with representatives of civil society and local, regional and national institutions to promote the greater participation of local communities in the management of Machu Picchu, which was inscribed as a mixed natural and cultural site on the World Heritage List in 1983.

They will also focus on “the uncontrolled urban development” of Aguas Calientes, a town at the foot of Machu Picchu, the impact of a new bridge to the site and plans to develop tourist infrastructure within the protected area, UNESCO said in a press release issued today from its headquarters in Paris.

Machu Picchu has become prone to mudslides and fires in recent years, and UNESCO said the mission would monitor the effect on flora and fauna and assess the site’s risk preparedness plan.