The State Party submitted a comprehensive “Rapport sur Angkor”, dated January 2010 to address the Committee’s requests and reporting progress as follows:
a) Clarify, including through new legislation if necessary, the rules regarding property rights, ownership and building codes applicable to zones 1 and 2
In a section entitled Management and Occupation of Land, the State Party report notes that sub-decree 50 ANK/ BK expressly created a Department of Environmental Planning of Territory and of Management of the Habitat of the Park of Angkor, charged with analysis, evaluation, monitoring and action related to the situation of the World Heritage inscription, in consideration of the population resident on the site. The report notes actions taken for juridical protection (including a series of decrees, laws and governmental decisions from 1994-2004), territorial protection (including a project to establish community learning centre, projects for community development (encouraging villagers to develop their lands for their use rather than for sale), territorial protection measures to reduce pressures on the Park (including adoption of a Siem Reap Master Plan, severe application of relevant laws, establishing new settlements outside zones 1 and 2, heritage protection awareness building etc.), social protection measures (including efforts to increase public awareness concerning the importance of conservation, and communications links with the A.N.A. and local communities.
b) Enforce existing laws regarding illegal occupation, unauthorized construction and development and park-land appropriation/alienation
The State Party report notes that the sub-decree 50 ANK/ BK has expressly created a Department of Order and Co-operation to deal with such issues. The report documents the efforts of the new Department and its predecessor agency to control, limit and reverse illegal activities. The report quantifies the problem, documenting many hundreds of illegal acts stopped in both 2008 and 2009, including removal of illegal kiosks, removal of sand, etc. The report also notes the importance of balancing control activities with education activities to fully address the scale of illegal activities present on site.
c) Strengthen the capacities of the “Agence pour la protection et la sauvegarde d’Angkor” (APSARA) to enable effective land use planning and management, including by providing it with the necessary resources
The State Party report highlights the importance of “Anukret” (sub-decree) 50 ANK/BK of May 2008 which brought new modalities to the organisation and functioning of the Directorate General of APSARA [the Agence pour la protection et la Sauvegarde d’Angkor]. The report also documents the augmented numbers of staff (professional, operational, security and maintenance) presently employed by APSARA – close to 1600 people, and provides an organisational chart showing their disposition.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the report provides an insightful and integrated overview of the social, economic and cultural complexity of the site, and attempts to position conservation efforts and their effectiveness in that larger context. The report emphasizes the improvements for site management brought about by sub-decree 50 ANK/ BK and its re-ordering of institutional arrangements for care of the property. As well, in an effort to acknowledge challenges and shortcomings, the report emphasizes at several points that the characteristics of the site (large size – 401 square kilometres, rural population of 100,000 people whose aspirations to upgrade their living conditions place them in continuous direct conflict with many of the conservation objectives of the Park) make rapid achievement of the conservation objectives underlined by the Committee quite difficult.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note as well that the State Party has strengthened its institutional framework to enable effective land use planning and management and begun to enforce controls and reverse encroachments within the property. They also note that the project for the development of a heritage management framework for the property has finally been launched, with support from Australia and Cambodia and consider that it would be important that this process takes into account the above issues.