Irina Bokova visits a site of the Qhapaq Ñan and signs biosphere reserve cooperation agreement in Argentina
On 2 December 2010, the third day of UNESCO Director-General’s official visit to Argentina, Irina Bokova travelled to the north-west of the country to see the beginning of the Qhapaq Ñan, otherwise known as the Main Andean Road, a cross-boundary cultural site currently on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List of nominations.
The Qhapac Ñan was the backbone of the Inca Empire’s political and economic power. The network of roads – over 23,000 km in length – connected various production, administrative and ceremonial centres, constructed over a span of more than 2,000 years of pre-Inca Andean culture.
The Director-General went to the archaeological site of Santa Rosa de Tastil, situated in the beginning of the Qhapaq Ñan, in the Argentinean Province of Salta. Discovered in 1903, the ruins of ancient Tastil, called the pucará (fortress), contain 440 dwellings, which were home to an indigenous population of about 2200 during the 14th and 15th centuries.
The Director-General met with the Governor of the Argentinean Province of Salta, Juan Manuel Urtubey, and the Governor of the Jujuy Province, Walter Barrionuevo. Following the meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to carry out common initiatives through UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) – namely to enhance collaboration in “Las Yungas Biosphere Reserve” as a learning platform for sustainable development.
In her address, Irina Bokova recalled the vital importance of the biosphere reserves for local communities and their positive impact on sustainable development. The Director-General also met with Representatives from the local indigenous communities, who expressed their appreciation for her commitment to actions in favour of the environment.
Throughout the day, the Director-General was accompanied by Argentinean authorities and Senator Daniel Filmus.
Starting on 3 December, Irina Bokova will participate in the 20th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Governments to be held in Mar del Plata, where the Governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will sign a political commitment expressing their support for a joint inscription of Qhapac Ñan on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.