The 1972 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage establishes that certain places on Earth with an “outstanding universal value” belong to the common heritage of humanity. In other words, they have extraordinary cultural or natural importance that transcends borders and, as such, their wealth is a heritage that must be protected for future generations. The Convention is an effective tool that enables local communities to address contemporary challenges related to climate change, urban sprawl, mass tourism and natural disasters. Currently, Peru has 12 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List: Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (1983), Cusco City (1983), Chavín Archaeological Site (1985), Huascarán National Park (1985), Chan Archaeological Zone Chan (1986), Manu National Park (1987), Historic Center of Lima (1988. 1991), National Park of the Abiseo River (1990, 1992), Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa (1994), Historic Center of the City de Arequipa (2000), Sacred City of Caral – Supe (2009), Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System (2014).
Intangible cultural heritage or “living heritage” refers to the practices, expressions, knowledge or techniques transmitted by communities from generation to generation, it provides communities with a feeling of identity and continuity: it favors creativity and social welfare, it contributes to the management of the natural and social environment and generates economic income. UNESCO provides its support in this field to the Member States by promoting international cooperation for safeguarding and establishing institutional and professional frameworks favorable to the sustainable preservation of this living heritage. To date, Peru has 11 manifestations inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: The textile art of Taquile (2008), The oral heritage and cultural manifestations of the Zápara people (2008), Safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage of the Aymara communities in Bolivia, Chile and Peru (2009), Danza de las Tijeras (2010), La huaconada, ritual dance of Mito (2010), The pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Lord of Qoyllurit’i (2011), Eshuva, prayers sung by the Harakmbut people (2011), Knowledge, techniques and rituals linked to the annual renovation of the Q’eswachaka bridge (2013), The festival of the Virgen de la Candelaria in Puno (2014), The wititi dance of the Colca valley ( 2015), Traditional System of Water Judges of Corongo (2017), El ‘Hatajo de Negritos’ and ‘Las Pallitas’, dances from the south of the central coast of Peru (2019).