In the summer of 2002, the Getty Conservation Institute and the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y el Arte (Concultura) of El Salvador completed the management plan for the World Heritage Site of Joya de Cerén, a pre-Hispanic Maya farming community buried by volcanic eruption about 1,400 years ago.

In July 2002, the GCI and Concultura presented the plan to the vice president of El Salvador and to the mayor of San Juan Opico, the municipality in which the site is located. Also attending the ceremony were members of the local community and representatives from Salvadoran national agencies.

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The management plan is the result of a four-year collaboration of the GCI and Concultura to adapt a methodology developed by the Institute to a specific plan for Joya de Cerén (see Conservation, vol. 16, no. 1). Created using a values-driven process, which included the participation of a wide range of interest groups, the plan's approach is intended as a model for the management of other sites in the region.

In addressing the specific needs and potential of the site, the plan considers four major programs: investigation, conservation, landscape (both the site's physical aspect and its surroundings), and human development (community impact, education, and tourism). The resulting document is an integrated and sustainable conservation management plan that approaches the site's condition in relation to its natural and social context. It integrates all future activities at the site and constitutes a framework for reconciling private and institutional interests—thereby ensuring conservation of the values and significance of the site, as well as optimizing the appropriate use of all human and financial resources.

The Institute will continue working on the conservation strategy for Joya de Cerén, including defining parameters for its protective shelters.