State of Conservation (SOC)
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee
Obligations resulting from the inclusion of the site in the World Heritage List
Following the expert mission for the preparation of the decrees of application necessary for the implementation of the law on the protection of cultural heritage, it appeared indispensable to ensure the training of jurists within the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. A training programme was proposed to the Cambodian authorities during the plenary session of the I.C.C.
The plenary session of the International Co-ordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (I.C.C), for which UNESCO ensures the Secretariat, was postponed until 19 May 1998. A quadripartite meeting was held in Phnom Penh on 27 March 1998. During this session, the activities of the APSARA (Authority for the Protection of the Site and the Development of the Angkor Region) were evaluated, the conclusions of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts mandated to diagnose the restoration work achieved and in progress were presented, and new proposals for intervention on the site were analysed. APSARA is satisfied with the Khmer version -- that is added to the French and English versions of the APSARA/UNESCO Report "Angkor: Past, Present, and Future" based on studies carried out in the frame of the ZEMP project (Zoning and Environmental Management Plan).
The remaining emergency assistance for the Temple of Pr‚ Rup that had been approved under the World Heritage Fund was used for the maintenance of the monument and the monitoring of its structural deformations by a team comprising two Cambodian architects. This team was trained to interpret the readings of the deformations recorded by the monitoring system set up on the Temple by an Italian team.
A request for emergency assistance for the western moats of Angkor Vat that had collapsed following the torrential rains of the monsoon was submitted by the Cambodian authorities.
In spite of political problems, the operational projects in progress financed through UNESCO funds-in-trust and carried out by the different international teams, are progressing normally. The Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient is working on restoration projects at the Temple of Bapuon and the north steps of the Terrace of the Elephants; the JSA (Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding Angkor) is working on the study and restoration of the Prasat Suor Prat and the north "libraries" of the Temples of Bayon and Angkor Vat, as well as on the elaboration of a master plan for the Bayon. Phase 2 of the restoration project of the Temple of Pr‚ Rup and the last phase of work on the Temple of Preah Ko is being prepared. A department of digital images is being set up within the photographic laboratory of the Conservation of Angkor. The training project at the Royal University of Fine Arts of Phnom Penh will end, for the academic year 1997/98, in June 1998.
At the bilateral level, the World Monuments Fund (USA) continues its action for the Temple of Preah Khan, and the University of Sophia (Japan) for the Temple of Banteay Kdei and on the Angkor Vat roadway. A conservation project for the Apsaras of Angkor Vat is being carried out by the Facchochschule of Cologne (Germany), and a restoration project for the East Door of the Royal Palace is presently being implemented by an Indonesian Government team. The JICA (Japan International Co-operation Agency) has invested in a study of the water resources of the region of Siem Reap and the preparation of a topographical map of the Archaeological Park of Angkor.
UNESCO and the I.C.C. remain extremely vigilant with regard to this issue, and efforts undertaken to fight the illicit traffic of cultural property have produced concrete results: four cases of restitution were registered in 1997, and several procedures and requests for restitution are currently being processed. In addition, the heritage police has intervened in several cases of repression of works of art in the region of Siem Reap. The procedure for ratifying the Unidroit Convention, signed by Cambodia on 24 June 1995, is underway.
Promotion and publications
The exhibition entitled " Mémoires d"Angkor " organised by UNESCO and the Delegation of the Kingdom of Cambodia to UNESCO, was shown at the Departmental Museum of the Abbey of Saint Riquier (France) from 7 March to 26 May 1998. Numerous conferences were held at the time around this exhibition. A study on the structural behaviour of the Khmer Temples was published by UNESCO in April 1998; and a publication on the epigraphy of the Khmer World will appear in 1998.
Action RequiredThe Bureau expresses its appreciation for the continued efforts of UNESCO in mobilizing international cooperation for the protection, preservation and presentation of the site of Angkor, especially through the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of Angkor. The Bureau, however, requests UNESCO to continue its work in the strengthening of training activities for national capacity-building, especially in measures prohibiting and preventing the illicit traffic of cultural property. In this regard, and alarmed by press reports on the alleged pillage of cultural property from sites of national importance, the Bureau requests the State Party to submit a report to the twenty-second session of the Committee summarizing the steps taken in the preparation of a national inventory of cultural properties and on legal and regulatory measures adopted by the Government in the protection of cultural property in Angkor and in other sites figuring on the Tentative List.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 113,595USD
|1998||Hydrological and topographical studies for the Moats of Angkor ...||28,595 USD|
|1994||Consolidation of the Pre Rupt monument in Angkor||50,000 USD|
|1993||Financial contribution for the installation of an alarm system at ...||20,000 USD|
|1992||Mission to prepare a Tentative List and a nomination dossier for ...||15,000 USD|
September 1997: legal expert mission
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Inadequate protective legislation;
- Inadequately staffed national protection agency;
- No permanent boundaries established and defined buffer zones;
- Need for monitoring and coordination of the international conservation effort
Current conservation issues
1. Obligations following the inscription of the site on the World Heritage List.
Following the expert mission to prepare the legal instruments indispensable for the application of the law for the protection of cultural heritage, it became evident that there was a need to train jurists within the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. The training programme proposed by the Cambodian authorities during the plenary session of the International Co-ordination Committee (C.I.C.) is under preparation. The technical session of the International Co-ordination Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Area of Angkor (C.I.C.), for which UNESCO provides the Secretariat, will meet in December 1998.
2. Emergency assistance
The hydrogeological studies of the moats of Angkor financed under Emergency Assistance approved by the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in June 1998, are underway.
3. Operational projects
The operational projects being financed by UNESCO funds-in-trusts 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. This one-year project is to consolidate the three south-east towers as well as to carry out a structural study of the five upper towers. At the Photographic Laboratory for the Conservation of Angkor, a Digital Imagery Department is being set up. This is linked with a training project on digital techniques for young national photographers. The training project in the Faculties of Architecture and Archeaology at the Royal University of Fine Arts at Phnom Penh, financed by the Japanese under UNESCO funds-in-trust, continues for the 1998-1999 academic year.
With regard to bilateral activities, the last phase of intervention on the Preah Ko Temple, with financing from the German Government, will recommence in November 1998.
4. Illicit traffic
In addition to the ongoing work in the legal domain, UNESCO and the C.I.C. remain vigilant with regard to this subject. Concerning the initiatives undertaken for the preparation of a national inventory of cultural properties , the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is working on the clearing and surveillance of the sites of Prei Kuk and Beng Mealea. UNESCO, for its part, provides support to the archaeological cartographic project undertaken by the ‘Ecole Française d’Extreme Orient’.
Analysis and Conclusion
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The Bureau expressed its appreciation for the report of the Secretariat and for the continued efforts of UNESCO in mobilising international co-operation for the protection, preservation and presentation of the site of Angkor, especially through the International Co-ordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of Angkor.
The Bureau, however, requested UNESCO to continue its work in the strengthening of training activities for local and national capacity-building, especially in measures prohibiting and preventing the illicit traffic of cultural property. In this regard, and alarmed by press reports on the alleged pillage of cultural property from sites of national importance, the Bureau requested the State Party to submit a report to the twenty-second session of the Committee. This report should summarise the steps taken in the preparation of a national inventory of cultural properties and on legal and regulatory measures adopted by the Government in the protection of cultural property in Angkor and in other sites on the Tentative List.
The Bureau underlined the serious need to address illicit traffic of cultural property, not only at a national level but also at an international level. To this end, the Bureau encouraged UNESCO Member States to ratify existing legal instruments for preventing illicit traffic of cultural properties, such as the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970 and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects 1995.
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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.
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Dominica (Technical Co-operation for the Morne Trois Pitons National Park inscription ceremony and Regional Conference on the World Heritage Convention)
The Bureau approved US$ 30,000 for the organization of this regional conference.
United Republic of Tanzania (Technical Co-operation for a Natural Heritage Workshop for “Kilimanjaro Stakeholders”)
The Bureau approved US$ 30,000, subject to the Tanzanian authorities providing information concerning other organizations contributing to the activity and confirming the exact dates of the Workshop.
Bulgaria (Technical Co-operation for the purchase of dehumidifying equipment for the Boyana Church)
The Bureau approved up to US$ 25,000 for this request on the condition that the UNESCO Purchasing Unit assist the State Party in purchasing the necessary equipment.
Colombia (Technical Co-operation for the conservation of the National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro)
The Bureau approved US$ 30,000 for the structural conservation of the burial chambers at this site.
Syrian Arab Republic (Technical Co-operation for the restoration and conservation of the Roman Baths in the south of the Ancient City of Bosra)
The Bureau approved US$ 30,000 for the restoration and conservation of the Roman Baths within the Ancient City of Bosra.
Turkey (Technical Co-operation for the “House of Fatih Inhabitants” within the Historic Centre of Istanbul)
The Bureau postponed the approval of this request for US$ 30,000 to its twenty-second extraordinary session.
The Bureau requested that maps clearly indicating the core and buffer zone of the Historic Centre of Istanbul as well as further detailed budget breakdown information be submitted to the Bureau for its examination.
Cambodia (Emergency Assistance for the restoration of the steps of the West Moat of Angkor Wat)
In view of the fact that the Emergency Assistance Reserve of the World Heritage Fund for 1998 was exhausted at the time this request was submitted, the Bureau approved US$ 28,595 under the Technical Co-operation budget for carrying out the hydrological and topographical studies.
The Bureau recommended that the State Party requests further funding under the 1999 World Heritage Fund budget after the completion of these studies.
Sri Lanka (Emergency Assistance for the Sacred City of Kandy)
In view of the fact that the Emergency Assistance Reserve of the World Heritage Fund for 1998 was exhausted at the time this request was considered, the Bureau approved US$ 25,000 out of the Technical Co-operation budget, to carry out the initial emergency measures for Dalada Maligawa, including a provision for an ICOMOS or ICCROM expert mission.
The Bureau recommended the State Party to request further funding under the 1999 World Heritage Fund budget.
The Committee may wish to adopt the following:
“The Committee notes the report of the Secretariat concerning Angkor and commends the continued efforts of the International Co-ordinating Committee in mobilizing international support for Angkor. The Committee expresses appreciation for the progress made in the implementation of the various restoration and training projects. The Committee requestes 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.”
- Human resources
- Illegal activities
- Legal framework
- Management systems/ management plan
- Other Threats:
Urgent problems of conservation
Inscription on the Danger List
Threats to the Site:
Given the unique situation in Cambodia, which, in accordance with the Paris Accords, has been placed under the temporary administration of the United Nations since July 1991, and in order to deal with the urgent problems of conservation quickly and effectively, the Committee has inscribed the site of Angkor on the List of World Heritage in Danger, and has requested, on the recommendation of ICOMOS, that the authorities concerned take the necessary steps to meet the following conditions:
a) enact adequate protective legislation;
b) establish an adequately staffed national protection agency;
c) establish permanent boundaries based on the UNDP project;
d) define meaningful buffer zones;
e) establish monitoring and coordination of the international conservation effort.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).