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Decision : CONF 203 VII.16
SOC: Angkor (Cambodia)

VII.16 Angkor (Cambodia)

The Director of UNESCO's Division of Cultural Heritage, reported on progress made in the safeguarding of the site of Angkor which was inscribed on the World Heritage List and simultaneously on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1992. He recalled that international assistance for Angkor is coordinated by an International Co-ordinating Committee cochaired by the Ambassadors of Japan and France in Phnom Penh, with a Secretariat provided by UNESCO. The International Coordinating Committee for Angkor meets periodically to set priorities and monitor the conservation work on the site as well as to mobilize the necessary funds. He commented that through the international efforts to safeguard Angkor, the site is now the largest conservation workshop in the world.

Among the 1998 priorities decided upon by the International Coordinating Committee and supported by the Cambodian Minister of State and the Minister for Culture, were hydrological studies of the moats of Angkor financed under Emergency Assistance approved by the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in June 1998. The Director reported that the operational projects being financed by UNESCO funds-in-trust and managed by the different international teams progress normally. Phase II of the restoration project for the Pre Rup Temple, financed by the Government of Italy through its UNESCO funds-in-trust, will commence in November 1998. A digital imagery department is also being set up at the photographic laboratory at the Angkor Conservation Office, with international assistance through UNESCO.

In additional, he reported that a bilaterally-financed project to restore the Preah Ko Temple will recommence in November 1998.

Commenting on the Secretariat's report, the Delegate of Japan announced that the "First Phase of Safeguarding Angkor" activities will be concluded in the spring of 1999 and financed by the Japanese Government with a US$ 10 million contribution to UNESCO funds-in-trust. A "Second Phase" will commence in June 1999 with an additional commitment of Japan to contribute a further US$ 10 million over the course of the next six years, also through UNESCO funds-in-trust. The Delegate of Japan requested closer co-ordination between the Centre and the Cultural Heritage Division, in the implementation of international assistance activities at Angkor.

The Rapporteur, speaking in his capacity as the Delegate of Hungary, requested that the documentation of activities undertaken with international assistance which is routinely prepared for the Angkor International Co-ordinating Committee be made available to the Committee. He commented that documentation of this type - especially topographic data - is also important for periodic reporting.

The Delegate of France commented that the assistance to Angkor is internationally-co-ordinated assistance, contributed to by many donor countries, including France, and that this important fact should not be overlooked by the Committee.

The Delegate of the Republic of Korea commented that in spite of the considerable resources which are being committed by the international community to Angkor, this will not have the desired effect in safeguarding the site unless the Government of Cambodia and the international community increase their diligence in preventing the theft and traffic in cultural property from Angkor. He also inquired as to the guarantees of transparency and effective use of the considerable funds contributed to Angkor.

Italy supported the need for vigilance in preventing illicit traffic in cultural property, recalling the provisions of the UNIDROIT Convention in this respect.

Thailand explained the successful measures that have been taken to cut down on illicit cross-border trafficking in cultural property from Cambodia to Thailand.

The Director of the Division of Cultural Heritage explained UNESCO's support for action to combat illicit traffic in cultural property from Cambodia. He also clarified that funds-in-trust with UNESCO are subject to both internal and external audits.

The Rapporteur, speaking in his capacity as the Delegate of Hungary, also commented that the UNIDROIT Convention was starting to work in the market states as well as in the source states, pointing specifically to the return of suspected stolen works of art by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Committee noted the report of the Secretariat concerning Angkor and commended the continued efforts of the International Co-ordinating Committee in mobilizing international support for Angkor. The Committee expressed appreciation for the progress made in the implementation of the various restoration and training projects. The Committee requested the State Party and the Secretariat to continue its work in promoting measures to prevent the illicit traffic of cultural properties and to keep the Committee informed on developments in this regard.

The Committee decided to retain Angkor on the List of World Heritage in Danger.


 Decisions Report
Context of Decision
Themes: Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
States Parties: Cambodia
Properties: Angkor
Year: 1998
Decision Code: CONF 203 VII.16