THE QHAPAQ ÑAN PROJECT: A CRITICAL SIGHT
M. Alejandra Korstanje1 & Jorgelina García Azcárate2
RESUMEN (in Spanish):
El Proyecto Qhapaq-Ñan promueve la integración de los valores culturales compartidos entre seis países: Argentina,
Chile, Bolivia, Perú, Ecuador y Colombia, que preparan la candidatura del Camino Principal Andino, “Qhapaq-Ñan”,
para que sea declarado "Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad" por UNESCO.
Si bien, el proyecto busca asociar a las comunidades de la región, las cuales serán las beneficiarias directas de la puesta
en valor de los bienes, hasta ahora la participación en el mismo de las comunidades indígenas y otras comunidades
locales asociadas al mismo han sido nulas. Desde la perspectiva de trabajo del WAC y desde otras experiencias de
participación comunitaria, advertimos que esta dinámica debe ser llevada adelante conjuntamente con las comunidades
y no en pasos sucesivos donde se les dé intervención cuando el proyecto ya tenga forma.
THE QHAPAQ ÑAN PROJECT:
In Third World countries, doing “Archaeologies outside the borders” is not very common. In most cases an
archaeologist starts working in his/her own country and dies working in the same one. Most of us, work even in the
same region most of our lives. Some are trained and complete degrees abroad but until recent days only a very small
number do research abroad. Among other reasons, this pattern is mostly the result of funding being provided by
national government agencies that encourage national projects.
Therefore, until now there are very few researchers who have actually “crossed the border”. While it is not uncommon
to share research projects with foreign scholars who carry on their work in the Third Word countries, the opposite
situation is rare. Yet, academic globalization has started to open opportunities through improved communication
avenues, thereby promoting the involvement of local archaeologists who face questions that cross current national
borders. This is the case of the Qhapaq Ñani or “Camino Principal Andino” project, where both authors are currently
involved in different roles.
It is important to point out however that even though both of us are archaeologists working in this international project,
we are not involved as “foreign” professionals that will make decisions in a country other than ours, or even in a
different provinceii where we usually work. We are both local archaeologist, working locally in an international
WHAT IS THE QHAPAQ ÑAN PROJECT ABOUT?
The Qhapaq Ñan was the main Andean road during the time of the Inkas, who were able to integrate and develop a
widespread Andean road system it taking advantage of the road network built both previous and contemporary cultures.
An estimated 6,000 km long. This main route linked a coordinated network of roads and infrastructure constructed over
more than 2,000 years of pre-Inka Andean culture. The whole network of roads, over 23,000 km in all, connected
several production, administration and ceremonial centers.”Great part of the system was built over more ancient roads.
It presented a series of architectural structures, each of which had different and specific functions. Bridges and pulley
bridges used over rivers were built to save the continuity of trails along rugged geography of the Andes. Besides the
road s, the transportation system was compose d of other important architectural elements such as “tampus”(lodging
places with storage facilities), “kanchas” (rectangular spaces surrounded by walls enclosing several structures),
“kallankas” (large rectangular buildings within the kanchas, probably used as rest areas), storage facilities
(warehouses) and other minor architecture elements but not of less importance, such as “apachetas”, “chaskiwasis”,
sacred sites, control places for people and products and other evidences such as landmarks, boundary marks and
“huancas”(Tejiendo los lazos de un legado:117)
The Qhapaq Ñan project was born in 2001 as an initiative of the Peru government to propose the Inka Road System as
a World Heritage site in the UNESCO´s list. The project thus has the particularity of having been generated by a
government agency and constituted at the same time a government cultural policy to be followed by other countries
with common ancient road heritage. Of course, since governors have the option to initiate any programme to promote
and protect the cultural heritage, this is a good start, but by current standards and definitions of heritage they have to
1 Instituto de Arqueología y Museo. Fac. de Ciencias Naturales e IML, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. CONICET. Argentina.
2 Dirección de Patrimonio Histórico y Antropológico. Secretaría de Cultura de la Provincia de Tucumán. Instituto de Arqueología y
Museo. Fac. de Ciencias Naturales e IML, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
promote real participation, assessment, acceptance and interest from the local + indigenous population. The form in
which this participation takes place is the current challenge we are going to discuss in this article.
The initiative to promote the Multilateral Postulation of the Qhapaq Ñan (or “Andean Main Road”) as a cultural
itinerary arose in 2002. It was formalized in a joint declaration between the governments of Peru, Chile, Argentina,
Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. In the document named “Pre-Hispanic Andean roads and the routes of Tawantisuyu”,
they summarized the importance of promoting the Inka Road as part of the Cultural Humanity heritage in recognition
of its natural and cultural significance and associated tangible and intangible inheritance. All the participating countries
show evidence of ancient roads and Andean culture. However, in this document the patrimony is considered beyond its
historical-anthropological meaning and its material existence in Andean geography. Heritage is also seen an
exceptional opportunity for the integration and sharing of cultural values and regional development among these six
On 2003, at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, the Permanent Delegates of the Andean countries unanimously
consent requested the World Heritage Centre to take charge of the overall coordination of the project and to assist them
in the procedure for placing heritage property on the list. This was the first time the World Heritage Center’s Latin
America and Caribbean unit had to design an inclusion procedure for a site common to six States Parties.
For the last two years, UNESCOS’s World Heritage Centre had been assisting these countries in a pioneering project:
drafting of a single nomination for the inclusion of Qhapaq Ñan in the World Heritage List, which entailed an
original and innovative regional cooperation process.
(from: http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=281&id_group=19&s=home , highlighted in the original)
Several international and national technical meetings were organized so as to allow of different social agents. These
meetings were held in Lima (April 2003); Cuzco (October 2003); La Paz (April 2004) and Buenos Aires.
Networks started to be organized at these international meetings. For example, participants agreed that the proposal
would be made by two countries to make the postulation process more expeditious: Argentina and Chile; Peru and
Bolivia; Colombia and Ecuador. Among other common strategies, it was suggested that each country would enlist the
Qhapaq Ñan in their respective national indicative lists, etc.
The importance of this initiative as a state policy became apparent at the MERCOSUR meeting of Ouro Preto,
December 2004, when the presidents of the state parties (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) and associated
states (Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela), signed a document containing the following article:
27. They [the presidents] support the Andean Cultural Itinerary/Qhapaq Ñan, which involves four countries of
the block, since it constitutes an integration project that has a high impact on the regional development given the
fact that culture mediates as an articulation axisiii.
The document also states that the Interamerican Development Bank (BID in Spanish acronym) is already investing in
this project, at least in Peru, as: “TC0209054 : Action Plan Development Qhapaq Ñan (Principal Andean Way)”,
currently in initial phase, connected to tourism and technical implementation. (See:
The international aspect of this project were complemented and followed by national policies, therefore simultaneous
national meetings were held at the participating countries. In Argentina, for example, these meetings were organized
along with technical teams (consisting only of archaeologists) and governmental representatives of the seven involved
provinces: Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán, Catamarca, La Rioja, San Juan and Mendoza. The Secretary of Culture of the
Presidency of the Nation led the organization. At this governmental national level they signed the Resolution Nº
1979/04 in which the Program “Andean Cultural Itinerary” was created as the legal frame for the development and
operations of the Project Qhapaq Ñan. At this stage, the international project became national state policy.
At these national meetings, provincial representatives asked technical teams to select the sections of the Inka road
which needed to be preserved and were valuable for the project. The requested information included details of the
related Inka facilities and their geographic location, register data, governmental resolutions that had declared them
historical monuments –when available- and the constitution of the local and Indigenous communities related to the
chosen sections of the road. Actors of different organisms from national government agencies and universities
participated at these meetings. The idea was to first identify the tracks that the archaeologists considered had to be
preserved due to the universal values settled by UNESCO, and later to initiate conversations with the communities
(Indigenous or not) involved in these sections and sites. The ultimate goal was to incorporate the intangible patrimony
of the entire region and that the management plans for the sites would be jointly organized with these communities.
However, a few points indicated that the national agenda was being promoted over local goals and interests.
An example of this clash became apparent during a consulting in which the authors of this paper participated. The
province of Tucumán team proposed the following tracks and sites to be incorporated in the general Argentinean
1. “La Ciudacita” (within the main jurisdiction of Los Alisos National Park with no local or Indigenous
2. “Los Cardones” and “El Remate” (within the main jurisdiction of the Indigenous Community of Amaicha of
3. “Quilmes” and “El Pichao” (within the main jurisdiction of the Indigenous Community of Quilmes).
This decision was made taking into consideration local interests, traditions and ideas about past and heritage. Since
Tucumán only participated with a single site with unambiguous Inka characteristics (“La Ciudacita”), it was pertinent
(and the Project allowed so) to include the current social dimensions of two Indigenous communities directly bound to
that past (Amaicha and Quilmes). Both communities have long histories of settlement in the area that is crossed by
Tucumán’s portion of the ancient main Inka road and they inhabit a space that includes a series of archaeological sites
connected with this past. By making this decision, Tucumán’s team supported the idea that interaction with the
communities would begin as soon as the archaeologist start working in the area. Since there is a substantial record of
the places and areas through which the ancient main road passed, it was relatively simple to know in advance which
communities would be involved. At least in the case of Indigenous communities, which tend to be more engaged with
the pre-Hispanic past and heritage, this cooperation should have started with the selection of the tracks and sites of
common accord. However, the general opinion of the organizers was that technical work should lead the process.
Therefore we opted to draw on our experience and the knowledge gathered through our ongoing interaction with
indigenous communities to select those sites we felt might have liked to be included. This led us to choose sites that
did not fully match UNESCO’s standards, but coincided with our own understanding of the historical moment in which
the Inkas arrived to northwestern Argentina –at a very late time regarding the long-term history of the region. The
following statement shows, for example, the view and position of the Tucumán team of archaeologists regarding this
“Brief note regarding our position as Archaeologists on the Qhapac Ñan Project:
The archaeological team of Tucumán has participated in the Qhapac Ñan meetings, debating the methodology
chosen by the National Culture Secretary for the inclusion of the tracks and sites of each province. We want to
sate in this document the reasons that motivated us to collaborate in it, in spite of the multiple professional and
social inconveniences that it can create.
In the first place, not all projects organized from the high spheres of the government have possibilities of being
successful when they involve local values that must be respected (see Belli and Slavutzky 2005, Haber2005,
Endere 2005). In this particular case, considering they involve six countries with different legislations, cultures,
languages and heritage attitudes the possibilities of succeeding might be less. In any case, we consider that if the
project is carried out seriously and following the enunciated objectives accurately, its expansion as an
advantageous form for the protection of the cultural patrimony and the development of the associated
communities is possible.
Although we think that participation of the communities should have occurred parallel to our contribution, the
technical directives distributed from the Nation were that should be the first ones to evaluate and choose the sites
and tracks of the road that best fits in the UNESCO´s standards for the nomination.
However, although here we presented the sites and tracks of the ancient road that according to us and from a
technical-academic point of view would be important to be included in the project, we want to stress that these
only must be incorporated if the Indigenous or rural communities associated agree that this will bring them
benefits and not new destructions or disputes. We have set this position in many national meetings pointing that
in case any community, by any reason, would not want to participate, then the sites included in their territory
should be excluded from the project.
At the end of this report we raise some considerations about how we considered that the relationships with the
mentioned communities in the next segment of inter-institutional work might be done.
Should anyone would be interested in having us expand this information, you should contact those
signing below: Alejandra Korstanje, Carlos Angiorama, Alvaro Martel and Osvaldo Díaz (Korstanje et al 2006:
THE POSTULATION OF THE INKA ROAD TO THE UNESCO LIST OF WORLD HUMAN HERITAGE SITES
The objectives of the project are:
• Promote the local and regional sustainable development of the communities associated with the Andean Main Road
in Argentina through their empowerment.
• Obtain the nomination of the Qhapaq Ñan as Cultural Landscape in the World Heritage list of UNESCO.
• Encourage research and promotion and conservation plan for the Andean main road.
• Persuade the active participation of numerous social actors, such as the involved Andean communities; authorities at
various levels, as well as representatives of nongovernmental organizations and the private sector.
The Qhapaq Ñan or Andean Main Road, taken as heritage, fulfils all and each one of the established criteria of
universal value for cultural goods. According to the UNESCO’s Convention Concerning the Protection of the World
Cultural and Natural Heritage, these requirements are:
1. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
2. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world,
on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
3. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or
which has disappeared.
4. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which
illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
5. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of
a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable
under the impact of irreversible change;
6. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and
literary works of outstanding universal significance.
But Qhapaq Ñan offers new challenges: it is the first project that would be presented to the UNESCO’s list involving
an infrastructure of humanity that spans over more than 23.000 km. and more than 2000 years of culture while
involving a large number of communities through the coordinating efforts of six countries.
This is the reason why in this occasion we pursuit the discussion of some crucial aspects for the development of a
participative cross-border archaeology and heritage management. In light of the results achieved by similar projects of
smaller magnitude, we cannot help but wonder how the necessary practices and strategies to foster the participation of
truly indigenous and local communities will be implemented. This is clearly the first and main goal of the project, but
the methods and strategies to achieve it remain unclear. The large scale of the project may certainly conspire against
including indigenous and local communities in every decision step, with the undesirable yet likely result of such
participation being more nominal than constitutive. Thus we may ask, how can archaeologists contribute to widen the
basis for Andean heritage’s significance and esteem, without letting private or external operators be the principal
beneficiaries of this project?
One of the most outstanding problems identified in our experience with the Qhapaq Ñan project is the
misunderstanding among different organizations involved. On one hand, the teams of archaeologists—who selected the
archaeological sites that would integrate the project—and, on the other, national and provincial organisms in charge of
linking the project with other areas of government and public practice: tourism, environment, education, social
development. Although not all of the members of those organisms were present in all the different meetings, according
to national organization directives, the members of the indigenous communities have not been asked to participate
The richness of this Program, we insist, is that it offers the invaluable chance of taking decisions that include a truly
diverse cultural web, considering the international opinion and even more, that of the people from each country.
Consequently it’s challenge is to plan it throughout the different dimensions involved (communities, researchers,
authorities, public, etc.). So, the strategy must include the participation of all the national and provincial organisms and
particularly the communities associated to the ancient main road.
Traditional conceptions of some cultural policy organisms often promote decisions to be taken at the upper levels, and
these can be valid to certain extent since they respond to a consensual international aesthetic and system of values.
However, from our perspective, this decision-making process must respond to the communities’ requirements in order
to achieve a truly consensual form. Both international and the Argentinean National government objectives seem to
give precedence to communal and regional development. But how is it possible to even get to the point of planning
such strategies, when the principal actors are excluded from the initial scene? How can we incorporate their ideas,
feelings and initiatives once the project has reached its final form?
The Quebradaiv de Humahuaca (Jujuy, Argentina) as a World Heritage cultural itinerary is an interesting case, which
shows the difficulties of these processes. Unlike Qhapaq Nan, this was originally a project requested by the local
communities of the Quebrada, and it was later incorporated as a state policy. For a while, this seemed to be an
exemplary case for heritage conservation. Yet a few years ago, the building of a high voltage electro duct in the
Quebrada prompted different indigenous and local communities to initiate a boycott to what then seemed an
unquestionable government decision. This boycott consisted of night incursions to the places where the towers were
going to be set, moving landmarks and strictly measured points, among other things (Champa, com.pers. 2005).
Later on, pamphlets and announcements started to circulate petitioning the government to consider the reasons why the
population did not want those electrical towers in the Quebrada. Among the many issues raised, some of which were
environmental, there was the somehow astonishing consideration that if the towers were to be constructed, the
Quebrada would never have the chance to be included in the UNESCO´s list of World Cultural Heritage.
The government decided to change the route of the electrical duct and started the work on the project for UNESCO’s
files. But once again, the decisions taken were not appropriate.
In spite of the likely good nature of the original intentions, the government did not succeed in making it a real project
with local participation of the communities involved. The results were like in many others sites included in UNESCO’s
list all over the world: the appropriation of the project by private capitals attracted by the extremely raised price
market of lands, instead of the actual protection of the sites. Worst of all, none of these changes caused the
development of the living and labor conditions of local communities.
Unfortunately, failing in one of the goals may lead to the failure of the project in general, therefore something that was
created for people’s well-being (as UNESCOS’s list) becomes discredited, as local people tend to feel that such
projects merely pay lip service to their needs. In this way, neither heritage is preserved and protected, nor people’s
lives improve as a result of the regional development brought about by such projects.
We think that our experience could be capitalized to improve the aspects that we consider key in these kinds of
programs, namely local participation as opposed to merely “local agreement” (Meskel 2005).
We think an interesting point in this discussion could also be the lack of interaction or intersection among some
institutions with similar purposes. WAC (World Archaeological Congress) enhanced our views on local communities
and indigenous rights and participation on the management of heritage. But are WAC and UNESCO really working
side by side to spread this view in cultural policy makers, taking into account the many different local views of the
Browsing the huge and somehow complicated UNESCO´s webpage we find the amazing richness of the various kinds
of projects in which this organism (or “we”, if UNESCO is really international) is involved. Yet we could not help but
wonder to what extent these projects, designed in bureaucratic offices by highly trained people, have been planned with
local people’s needs in mind, within local people’s aims and expectations. It is unclear whether UNESCO really tries to
identify such aims and expectations by interacting with local people directly, or whether this is left in the hands of
Given the still high prestige of UNESCO as an organization of the presently discredited
United Nations, these questions could look impractical. But as it is said in Spanish “de buenas intenciones esta lleno el
camino al infierno.”v How can UNESCO make their heritage projects (since the Heritage World List IS an UNESCO
project itself, even when each country proposes the sites) available to local people if they are not really acting locally?
In this sense, WAC understanding of public heritage policies seems much more democratic and also more effective.
Their experiences do not merely on the discourse to give participation to broader groups, but they do the work, as a
core action, together with the different local groups accepting they have the control of their patrimony. The difference
is that they are not just asking for local opinion, but are working in the truly understanding of both opinions (local
people and technicians) in an equally hierarchized cooperative way.
Let’s quote, for example some WAC ideals:
“(…) Archaeology can no longer afford –or even consider reasonable - a belief that archaeologists are the primary
stewards of the past and somehow the only ones who have access to the “truth” about the past. Many archaeologists
have come to realize that all past is collaboratively constructed –it is a community “invention”. Communities also
maintain their own pasts, which are as adaptative as any element in their ideology” (Zimmerman 2006: 86). (…) “In
many ways, the discussions in WAC were not just about indigenous people’s rights to their legacy they claimed as
their own, but were actually more about the rights of any stakeholders to these pasts” (Zimmerman 2006: 91).
We agree that nobody can “throw the first stone” about these colonizing ideas and practices. Most of the actors’
decisions currently involved in heritage were born as a part of colonialist and authoritarian government practices: the
governments of independent republics, national parks administrations, international organizations, archaeologists and
archaeological associations. As it has already been largely debated, these institutions were all born in the same spirit of
having the truth and neglecting or underestimating indigenous knowledge. Things seem to be slowly changing, not in
the least as a consequence of a indigenous peoples having more access to promote the wider acceptance of different
views of the past, and of the management of the past itself. What has become clear for all of us in government and
academic bodies in recent years is that we have to broaden and deepen our involvement with indigenous actors and
their worldviews in order to have concrete results beyond our good intentions or “goals”. Good intentions are never
Modern states, in Latin America in particular, have nowadays a unique chance to prevent the further denial of
indigenous peoples’ identity, culture, language and their ways of life (including their lands) by implementing real
policies of inclusion and participation, instead of merely demanding them to reconstitute themselves as natives,
performing an Andean indigenous stereotype “for export.” This is not the same as saying that such a performance may
be less real than other cultural identity performances, as people adapt and manage their cultural pool of resources in
creative ways all the time. Yet we argue against the demands placed on communities to re-shape themselves as suitable
citizens of an apparently new “multiculturalism” with the promise of reconstructing their economies, which finally
only gives them breadcrumbs of profitable enterprises that are only cover-ups for new ways of real estate advance on
The participation must be equal, with control of the communities on their resources and with double training
workshops that would include actors of both sides in order to achieve a better understanding.
BUT, HOW TO GET A REAL COMMUNICATION AND PARTICIPATION OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN
SUCH A LARGE PROJECT?
We said the participation of local communities and Indigenous groups may transform the project into a problem, when
it should be a strength point if well performed.
Maybe before going on we should first make a consideration about Indigenous groups in northwestern Argentina.
While people forming current Indigenous communities are doubtlessly predecessor and inheritor, in more or less
intensity, of ancient Indigenous groups and culture, the former of the Spanish Colony but, mostly, the Independent
Republic policies led them to refuse for centuries to be part of that Indigenous collective, since Indians were considered
“lazy”, “brainless”, “drunk”, and all kinds of negative and discriminative labels. Most of them lost their original names,
their traditions, and most importantly, their languages and their land. This high decomposition of the Indigenous social
tissue started to be mended—at least in written national law—only in the 1994 Constitution, where the 75th article
recognizes the “precedence of the Indigenous groups” and give them the legal frame to reclaim their rights on their
lands in a collective way. Since then, they are able to organize them in “Indigenous Communities” with legal rights,
and some new opportunities have arisen as a result of this new status.
Therefore, much reconceptualization and resignification of identities came after 1994, and many of our current
Indigenous groups are only recently organized as such. This generates among them conflicts, misunderstandings,
power struggles and situations that are not common, for example, to archaeologists of other countries of Latin America,
who are used to working with Indigenous peoples that have a long tradition and have been organized as such for a long
Although archaeologists were not initiators of the project they were invited to work in it, it is still our responsibility to
make sure that all activities programmed towards the nomination are considered and done with full respect to
indigenous and local communities. Our own professional standards as defined by AAPRAvi also require this respect,
and for this reason we cannot limit our intervention to technical advising and then assume we have no other
responsibilities on how the project develops (see WAC codes of ethics, for example).
In Argentina there are some successful programs that we can take into consideration from this participatory point of
view. They are mostly related to organizations that work in economic areas, as it is the case of the Farming Social
Programmevii depending on the National Secretary of Agriculture, Cattle, Fishing and Feedingviii. Their purpose is to
improve the quality of life of small producers and peasants increasing their income and promoting their organized
participation. These programs aspire to elaborate the projects with the producers, as opposed in quality to those
others, which work for the people in a charitable or paternalistic way.
Other successful experiences have demonstrated its capacity to arrive to the proposed objectives when participation of
its members is done in solidarity, as the case of the programs for construction of communitarian houses.
We have to consider also that current approaches to local Indigenous or peasant communities consist on a “face to
face” communication in arguments made with local people. These encounters might be to tell them about what
archaeologist’s work consist; of to involve the school teachers and students in an archaeological educative project, or
either to make more participative Indigenous archaeologies. Depending on the spirit of the professionals involved, the
biggest efforts were made in doing meetings with different, but always small enough communities (Chambers 1977,
This custom-established system has proved to be unsuccessful in recent larger heritage management projects.
Indigenous communities in Latin America are requesting a different kind of participation. Let’s call it real
participation based on the control of the heritage. Therefore, new communication tools are needed when projects
involve larger active native populations like in the case of Qhapaq Ñan. Since the early 70’s the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) developed “Massive Audiovisual Pedagogy”, a video based multi-media methodology for the
sharing of knowledge and skills (Calvelo 1994, 1995, FAO 1989). This communication strategy is aimed at “listening
to peasants”, in the first place: After a period of participatory research to select the contents, communicators design
and produce a communication tool suited to share knowledge with people (most of the times formally uneducated
people). The production of this kind of material and the massive dissemination by workshops allow the facilitators to
place themselves between the scientific and peasant universes making cross-cultural communication possible. This also
broadens the participation limits, extending the problems not only to the leaders but to a larger population, process that
enhances the discussion, participation, production and results, avoiding local conflicts. This participatory approach
shows its full potential when one or more of these conditions are present:
a) Massive population
b) Extreme cultural differences, including native languages
d) Complex contents
A peasant proverb resumes the pedagogic strategy: "What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I know."
(Korstanje et al 1999)
This methodology registers significant precedents in the national and international situation for the last forty years. At
the international level experiences have been made in countries of diverse socio economical conditions as Mexico,
Honduras, Dominican, Cuba, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Chile (FAO 1987a, 1987b). In Asia the experiences
were made in China, Korea and India. In Africa (Mali) a denominated organism CESPA exists, dedicated to the
communication for the development. These experiences have been developed with FAO support, which has
documentation on all these experiences. Perhaps at the UNESCO level it happens just like in Third World countries:
the organisms are disarticulated and they do not learn or know their bureau neighbours experiences.
The particular aspect of this cross-border archaeological and heritage project that includes the participation of six
nations and a large but still unidentified number of different communities present new challenges to us from the point
of view of the actual participation.
Although it is welcome and interesting that the initiative is coming from the governments, the participation must be
ampler in the decision making level. The election of the sites does not have to respond only to technical criteria, but to
local traditions and interests. Achieving consensus requires time and money, but it also saves time, money, and
problems and dignifies the involved people. This is a criterion not always shared by government agencies. But essential
in any conservation programme.
How do we perceive these difficulties? The actions undertaken between the different sectors are directed to common
objectives, in this case to propose the Andean Main Road for its nomination. Nevertheless we have not yet been able to
implement an effective dialogue among all the involved participants. This results in efforts to be duplicated and in
proposed goals not getting in place. We are lacking the whole vision of the project in where each component should be
closely articulated with the following one. While we have a segmented perception of the totality and each organization
faces the project alone, its fragility will be a threat.
We consider the urgent to reorient the general approach, to an holistic perspective (Savory 1999) in which all the
participants can celebrate and maintain their participation in the long breath.
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i This is the quechua name for the main road Inka system
ii In Argentina, a “province” is the larger political unity within the country, in a federal system.
iii 27. Apoyan el Itinerario Cultural Andino / Qhapaq Ñan, que involucra cuatro países del bloque, por tratarse de proyecto de
integración que supone un alto impacto sobre el desarrollo regional, teniendo la cultura como eje articulador
iv “Quebrada” means narrow valley
v Of good intentions the way to hell is full.
vi Asociación de Arqueólogos Profesionales de Argentina.
vii Programa Social Agropecuario (PSA)
viii Secretaria de Agricultura, Ganadería, Pesca y Alimentación de la Nación.