The State Party submitted a state of conservation report to the World Heritage Centre, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 27th session.
The Government of France organized, with the assistance of the Division of Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, the Second Intergovernmental Conference on the Safeguarding and Development of Angkor (Paris, France, 14-15 November 2003). The main objectives of this conference were: (a) to assess the past decade’s actions mainly dedicated to emergency safeguarding of the site; and (b) to launch a new decade of international assistance focused on sustainable development, in conformity with the priority of the Government of Cambodia.
The Technical Session of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and the Development of Angkor (ICC/Angkor), held in Siem Reap on 9 and 10 February 2004, reflected both safeguarding and sustainable development concerns, and gathered together new partners, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank. This ICC Session also involved for the first time the APSARA Authority (Autorité pour la Préservation du site et l’Aménagement de la Région d’Angkor) in the organization of the meeting.
The State Party submitted a report to the Secretariat in January 2004. The report recapitulates the five conditions defined in 1992 as prerequisites for the property to be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
From a World Heritage property in Danger, the site of Angkor has evolved into a World Heritage property in development. This has been recognised in the great efforts and corrective measures taken by the national authorities, especially since the establishment of the APSARA Authority in 1995, and in addressing the following challenges:
a) De-mining, on-site looting, and vandalism:
The de-mining of the site has now been completed. The measures adopted by the Government of Cambodia to halt on-site looting and theft of cultural heritage have resulted in a drastic decrease of theft and smuggling of cultural artefacts from within the World Heritage property. The pressure of illegal trafficking of cultural artefacts is now gradually shifting to archaeological sites outside of Angkor.
b) State of conservation:
Although the monuments and temples are in various states of conservation, the overall state of conservation of Angkor as a while has dramatically improved in the last 12 years. A dozen international teams are currently working on conservation and restoration projects on-site, in close collaboration with the APSARA Authority.
c) Administrative and legislative arrangements:
Cambodia benefits from an adequate legislation in terms of heritage management and protection, which is not however implemented to its full extent at the site-level. Since 1999, the APSARA Authority has acquired a greater financial sustainability and autonomy. The APSARA budget for 2002 totalled US$4,021,745.81, mainly from entrance fees to the Angkor Archaeological Park.
d) Training of personnel:
Training of the staff responsible for the different aspects of the management of Angkor (maintenance, restoration, administrative and financial management, tourism, etc.) is a major component in the success of APSARA over the years. The graduates of the Faculties of Archaeology and Architecture of the Royal University of Fine Arts have regularly been hired to assist in the preservation of the property.
A project entitled “Training of APSARA cultural mediators”, conceived by UNESCO and APSARA in close co-operation with the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, to face rapid social changes and to benefit from the tourist industry, was successfully organized in September 2003. This capacity-building project, financed by the UNESCO Japan Funds-in-Trust Agreement, is an integrated component of the global strategy for the strengthening of Cambodian cultural institutions.
e) Tourism Development:
During the Second Intergovernmental Conference on the Safeguarding and Development of Angkor, the parties involved insisted on the need for concerted tourism development and management of the Angkor Archaeological Park. A series of projects have been presented, ranging from the respect of authenticity in new constructions to the development of tourist circuits and the regulation of visitor flows on and off-site.