State of Conservation (SOC)
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee
Summary of previous deliberations:
Twenty-third session of the Committee – paragraph number – X.15
Twenty-third ordinary session of the Bureau – paragraph number – IV.12
New information: The technical session of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and the Development of the Historic Area of Angkor (CIC), for which UNESCO ensures the Secretariat, was held on 18 and 19 December 1999.1. Action Plan and Implementation of APSARA Activities
- In the framework of the specific management project of Angkor Vat, pilot project initiated on 1 July 1999 to establish the Conservation of Angkor Vat, numerous measures have been implemented: increased protection of the temple through the recruitment of about twenty guards who ensure the cleanliness of the temple as well as respect for the surroundings (to avoid interference with religious practices, commercial activities are forbidden inside the monument); an educational activity was carried out in the form of a dozen explanatory panels of the bas-reliefs and four leaflets destined for Khmers and foreign visitors. APSARA participated technically and financially in the restoration project of the access road west of Angkor Vat, implemented jointly with Sophia University (Japan).
- APSARA participated financially in finalizing the restoration of the Eastern Gate of the Royal Palace of Angkor Thom, headed by the Indonesian team ITASA, and seconded three archaeologists to this work site.
- The “Institutional Support to the APSARA Authority” programme of the Assistance and Cooperation Fund, implemented and financed by the French Government, is undergoing approval. This programme concerns four principal actions: measures for heritage protection, the regular maintenance of the monuments, fight against looting and illicit traffic of cultural heritage, and training.
- With regard to tourism development, APSARA works, in the framework of the above-mentioned agreement, for the establishment of a control of the modes of occupation of the site, as well as for the establishment of an observatory of the public whose first task will be to carry out a survey entitled “Know Your Public”.
3. Illicit traffic: The CIC was informed that the request for the restriction of exportation to the United States of Cambodian cultural heritage, prepared at the behest of the Cambodian authorities by the Division of Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, was approved by the American authorities in December 1999. For the protection of the Angkor site, APSARA provides financial support to the Special Heritage Police Commissariat and organises with the latter information and public awareness campaigns for inhabitants of the Park. In the framework of the afore-mentioned agreement the French Government also foresees the provision of major assistance in the reorganisation and functioning of the Heritage Police. In the frame of the Interministerial Committee, composed of APSARA and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and responsible for taking the necessary measures to ensure the protection of the Banteay Chmar Temple, victim of large-scale looting in November 1998, objects seized by the Thai authorities in January 1999, were returned by the latter to the Royal Government of Cambodia on 3 April last.
4. International Centre for Scientific and Technical Documentation of Angkor (CID): The CID, which has now become the reference documentation centre and the memory of the international safeguarding and development programme of the site of Angkor, has benefited from numerous purchases, donations of works and transfer of all technical reports retained until now by UNESCO at Phnom Penh. A data bank of bibliographic information is being elaborated using a programme developed by UNESCO for CDS/ISIS libraries. Since May 2000, a member of the APSARA staff is designated to work full time with the UNESCO expert.
The next session of the CIC will be held on 20 June 2000 in Phnom Penh.
French and English copies of the 1999 Activity Report prepared by the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (CIC) have been transmitted to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee.
Action RequiredAfter having examined the report on the state of conservation of the site, the Bureau congratulated the Royal Government of Cambodia for the significant progress made in the field of training to ensure the conservation work and regular maintenance of the monuments and encourages it to continue in its efforts. In the framework of the Conservation of Angkor Vat Project, the Bureau invites APSARA to follow up on the progress of the work undertaken for the massive central porch and the collapsed tiers of the western moat of the Temple. It also invites APSARA and UNESCO to strengthen the development of activities and collections of the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Documentation for Angkor, which should eventually regroup all the documentation produced by the safeguarding and development projects on the site. Finally, the Bureau wishes to obtain additional information on tourism development of the site and the development of the infrastructure in this respect. The Bureau recommends that the Committee retains the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
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
The plenary session of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and the Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (CIC), for which UNESCO ensures the Secretariat met on 20 June 2000.
1. APSARA activities: In accordance with the impetus given by the co-Chair of the CIC, its permanent Secretariat and the UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh have undertaken several initiatives to ensure total transparency in the management of the income at the Angkor site. The subject was discussed during the plenary session of the CIC in the presence of the representative of the Prime Minister of the Royal Government. The Government made the decision to increase by US$ 500,000, the grant allocated to APSARA and to revise in the near future the clauses of the contract of the private company, license holders for the entrance fees of the Angkor site.
At the request of the President Director General of APSARA, a list of suitable members to form an ad hoc Committee to follow the matter of the transfer of the Siem Reap/Angkor airport was proposed to the Cambodian authorities by UNESCO.
The “Institutional Support to the ASPARA Authority” Programme, implemented and financed by France has begun. It comprises four activities: heritage protection measures; regular maintenance of monuments; combat against looting and illicit traffic of cultural property, and training.
2. Training: The first technical training cycle for conservation specialists of sites and monuments, organized by APSARA with the financial support of Japan and carried out in close cooperation with ICCROM, SPAFA and UNESCO, was completed with excellent results. Twenty qualified young archaeologists, architects and engineers participated in this intensive training exercise. During the last CIC, it was decided to continue this experience. Funding is being sought for the 2000/01 and 2001/02 sessions. Furthermore, in agreement with the CIC, an extensive four-year training programme for Khmer architects and technicians has been launched by the French Government.
3. Illicit traffic: The CIC was informed that, last June, the Prime Minister of Thailand jointly signed with his Cambodian counterpart, a special agreement concerning the joint combat by the two Kingdoms against the looting of Khmer temples, the objects being transited by way of the Thai frontiers. This agreement is the result of UNESCO intervention with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to assist in the application of the Heritage Law and to prepare legal and technical files for the return of the stolen objects.
4. International Centre for Scientific and Technical Documentation of Angkor (CID): The CID has enriched its data thanks to the transfer of all the technical reports retained until now by UNESCO Phnom Penh. A bibliographic data bank is being set up with the CDS/ISIS programme. With the support of Japan and in accordance with the APSARA, the UNESCO expert and the ASPARA staff member will continue to work full-time on this programme in 2001 at the CID.
The next technical session of the CID will be held in Siem Reap on 14 and 15 December. It will be preceded by the fifth international symposium on Bayon, organized by the Japanese Governmental Team for the Safeguarding of Angkor, in cooperation with the APSARA and UNESCO (11-12 December). The ad hoc group of international experts on cultural tourism in the region will be held on 11 to 13 December 2000 in Siem Reap, and is organized by the World Tourism Organization with UNESCO participation.
Analysis and Conclusion
Link to the decision
After the presentation on the state of conservation of the site, the Delegate of Hungary requested that the Activity Reports and additional information relating to the infrastructural work undertaken in the vicinity of Angkor, such as the National Road 6 implemented by The World Bank, the hotel complex and the extension of the airport of Siem Reap be made available. The Delegate of Greece supported this request and expressed her concern regarding the continuing illicit traffic of Khmers cultural heritage.
The Director of the World Heritage Centre informed the Bureau that the plenary session of the International Co-ordinating Committee for Angkor had recently completed their work at Phnom Penh and that the 1999 Activity Report was presented to H.E. the King of Cambodia on 27 June 2000. He added that the provisional version of this document was available to the members of the Bureau.
The Bureau took note of the deep concerns expressed by its members concerning the looting and illicit traffic of Khmer cultural property and recalled the recommendations taken by the Committee at its twenty-first (1997) and twenty-second (1998) sessions for the State Party to record and document the cultural properties in Angkor and in other sites on Cambodia's tentative list, and to enhance international co-operation to address this persisting problem. The Bureau also recalled the request made by the Committee to the State Party, and to UNESCO and the International Co-ordination Committee (ICC) presided by Japan and France, to monitor from the planning phase, all large-scale infrastructural projects for tourism development (rehabilitation of the National Road 6, extension of the Siem Reap airport, creation of a hotel complex) to ensure that they do not undermine the world heritage values of this exceptional site. In this regard, the Bureau requested UNESCO and the ICC to remind the State Party of paragraph 56 of the Operational Guidelines, and to inform the donor governments and institutions of Article 6 of the Convention.
The Bureau requested that the 1999 Activity Report of the International Co-ordination Committee for Angkor be submitted to ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN for review. It also noted that, to facilitate the monitoring of the infrastructure, a map showing the risks and rehabilitation of the National Road 6 was under preparation by The World Bank.
The Bureau also requested the State Party that in accordance with the afore-mentioned recommendations, a detailed report on the measures undertaken to combat illicit trafic and on the state of progress of major infrastructural and tourism development projects be submitted for examination by the twenty-fourth session of the World Heritage Committee. The Bureau recommended that the Committee retains this property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Link to the decision
VIII.17 Angkor (Cambodia)
The Secretariat recalled that this site, inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the time of its inscription in 1992, is the largest cultural site in Southeast Asia. It extends over an area of some 400 km2 and includes no less than 100 monuments and hundreds of archaeological features. The socio-economic needs of the inhabitants require integration of conservation and development considerations. Although the armed conflict in the region of Angkor, which prompted its in-danger listing is now over, looting, illicit excavation and traffic in cultural objects and the continued need for large-scale international assistance, have kept this site on the Danger List. It was recalled that the Committee expressed concern at its twenty-third session in 1999, and the Bureau at its twenty-fourth session, regarding the airport extension plan, rapid development of tourism facilities, and uncoordinated public and private works that may undermine the integrity of the site. Responding to the Committee's request for APSARA, the site management authority, and the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC) to coordinate all conservation and development projects in the region and strengthen national capacity through training, the State Party, through the UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh, provided the information contained in WHC-2000/CONF.204/9 for the attention of the twenty-fourth session of the Committee.
The Delegate of Hungary stated that despite past requests by the Bureau and the Committee for the report of the ICC meetings, these had not been made available. Furthermore, he drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that the report on all on-going and planned projects for conservation, as well as on infrastructure had not been received. He urged the Committee and the advisory bodies to demonstrate more commitment for the safeguarding of this outstanding site. The Secretariat, at the invitation of the Chair, responded that the case of Angkor has been examined by the Bureau and Committee, at every single session since 1992, or no less than 20 times. All requests for international assistance submitted by the State Party have been supported, in addition to multi-year projects being financed through the Culture Sector of UNESCO in the largest operational programme being undertaken by the Organization. As for the advisory bodies, the Committee was informed that ICOMOS participated in the ICC meeting, and both IUCN and ICCROM have had operational presence, including a highly successful well-appreciated training programme (Tanee) recently implemented by ICCROM.
The Committee, after having examined the report on the state of conservation of the site, congratulated the Royal Government of Cambodia for the significant progress made in the field of training thus ensuring the control and maintenance of the monuments and encouraged it to continue in its efforts. The Committee invited the APSARA and UNESCO to strengthen development activities for the collection of documents for the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Documentation of Angkor, which should aim at securing all documentation produced during the safeguarding and development projects of the site. It also encouraged further efforts to develop partnerships with international teams at the site.
Furthermore, the Committee requested additional information on the monitoring of work undertaken on the entrance porch of the central monument and the collapsed tiers of the western moat of the Angkor Vat Temple. The Committee reiterated its earlier request for information concerning tourism development at the site and the development of infrastructure in this respect, with particular reference to the question of the extension of the Siem Reap/Angkor airport. Finally, the Committee decided to retain this property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
“The Committee, after having examined the report on the state of conservation of the site, congratulates the Royal Government of Cambodia for the significant progress made in the field of training thus ensuring the control and maintenance of the monuments and encourages it to continue in its efforts. The Committee invites the APSARA and UNESCO to strengthen development activities for the collection of documents for the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Documentation of Angkor, which should aim at securing all documentation produced during the safeguarding and development projects of the site. It also encourages further efforts to develop partnerships with international teams at the site.
Furthermore, the Committee wishes to obtain additional information on the monitoring of work undertaken on the entrance porch of the central monument and the collapsed tiers of the western moat of the Angkor Vat Temple. It also wishes to be informed about tourism development at the site and the development of infrastructure in this respect, with particular reference to the question of the transfer of the Siem Reap/Angkor airport.”
The Committee could maintain this property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
- 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”).