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Decision : 32 COM 8B.102
Examination of Nominations - Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear (CAMBODIA)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add2,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 8B.24, which recognized 'that the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear is of great international significance and has Outstanding Universal Value on the basis of criteria (i), (iii) and (iv), and agreed in principle that it should be inscribed on the World Heritage List',

3. Having noted the progress made by the State Party of Cambodia towards the development of a Management Plan for the property, as requested by the Committee by its Decision 31 COM 8B.24 in Christchurch, New Zealand,

4. Expressing gratitude to the governments of Belgium, the United States of America, France, and India for providing support for the work of experts to assist in this effort, and to the governments of China and Japan, as well as ICCROM, for providing valuable expert input to this process

5. Recognizing that the Joint Communiqué signed on 18 June 2008 by the representatives of the Governments of Cambodia and Thailand, as well as by UNESCO, including its draft which was erroneously referred to as having been signed on 22 and 23 May 2008 in the document WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add.2, must be disregarded, following the decision of the Government of Thailand to suspend the effect of the Joint Communiqué, pursuant to the Thai Administrative Court's interim injunction on this issue,

6. Noting that the State Party of Cambodia submitted to the World Heritage Centre the revised graphic plan of the property (RGPP) included in WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add2 (hereinafter called " RGPP") indicating a revised perimeter of the area proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List,

7. Decides, on an exceptional basis, to accept, in view of the multilateral process leading to the elaboration of the supplementary report submitted in May 2008 by the State Party of Cambodia at the request of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the information submitted by the State Party beyond the deadline established in the paragraph 148 of the Operational Guidelines;

8. Recognizes that Thailand has repeatedly expressed a desire to participate in a joint nomination of the Temple of Preah Vihear and its surrounding areas;

9. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;

10. Considers further that archaeological research is underway which could result in new significant discoveries that might enable consideration of a possible new transboundary nomination, that would require the consent of both Cambodia and Thailand;

11. Encourages Cambodia to collaborate with Thailand for safeguarding the value of the property, in view of the fact that peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear, and agrees that it would be desirable in the future to reflect its full values and landscape setting through a possible additional inscription to the World Heritage List that could capture criteria (iii) and (iv), which had been recognized by the Committee in its Decision 31 COM 8B.24.

12. Inscribes the Temple of Preah Vihear, Cambodia, on the World Heritage List under criterion (i);

13. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The Temple of Preah Vihear, a unique architectural complex of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases on an 800 metre long axis, is an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture, in terms of plan, decoration and relationship to the spectacular landscape environment.

Criterion (i): Preah Vihear is an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture. It is very 'pure' both in plan and in the detail of its decoration.

Authenticity, in terms of the way the buildings and their materials express well the values of the property, has been established. The attributes of the property comprise the temple complex; the integrity of the property has to a degree been compromised by the absence of part of the promontory from the perimeter of the property. The protective measures for the Temple, in terms of legal protection are adequate; the progress made in defining the parameters of the Management Plan needs to be consolidated into an approved, full Management Plan;

14. Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards;

15. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, the following documents:

  • a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the RGPP;

  • b) updated Nomination dossier to reflect the changes made to the perimeter of the property

  • c) confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP;

  • d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan;

16. Further requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Centre by February 2010, for submission to the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010 a full Management Plan for the inscribed property, including a finalized map.

 Decisions Report
Context of Decision
Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Cambodia
Year: 2008
Decision Code: 32 COM 8B.102