SOC: Angkor (Cambodia)
A new Government had been constituted and was actively pursuing cooperation with their partners of the international community towards national reconstruction and development. The UNESCO Secretariat has made every effort to assist the new government in meeting the commitments which the Head of State, His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, had made at the time of inscription of Angkor on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
On the first recommendation set out by the Committee at the time of inscription: enactment of adequate protective legislation, the following had been achieved:
1. the new Cambodian Constitution has specific articles (Articles 69, 70, 71) making the protection of national cultural heritage a duty of the State, and declaring designated national and World Heritage sites to be combatfree zones;
2. the cultural property protection laws, prepared with the technical assistance of UNESCO which were adopted as Decisions of the Supreme National Council of Cambodia on 10 February 1993, were expected to be presented to the National Assembly in the near future for review and official legislation;
3. in November 1993 the Ministry of Environment issued the "Decree on the Creation and Designation of Protected Areas", thereby establishing a national system of protected areas. This Decree was expected to be presented to the National Assembly for consideration and eventual enactment as law. UNESCO and the IUCN Representatives in Cambodia were assisting the authorities concerned in refining the text to take into consideration the protection of cultural landscapes which are particularly relevant in the context of large cultural sites in Cambodia, such as Angkor.
As regards the second recommendation of the Committee, namely the establishment of a national protection agency, the new government had officially informed UNESCO that the NHPAC Statutes, as adopted by the Supreme National Council of Cambodia (SNC) on 10 February 1993, would be amended to reflect the new situation of Cambodia and to serve as the basis of establishing an adequate national protection agency.
Under the chairmanship of the Minister of State in charge of Cultural Affairs, the Royal Government of Cambodia had provisionally established an inter-ministerial Supreme Council of National Culture to resolve day-to-day matters and to define the mandate and authority of the appropriate national protection agency to be established.
As regards the third and fourth recommendations of the Committee, namely the establishment of permanent boundaries and of meaninqful buffer zones, as the report to the June Bureau session indicated, UNESCO and the Cambodian authorities have been executing a project entitled the ZEMP "Zoning and Environmental Management Plan" financed by UNDP, the Government of Sweden and others.
The ZEMP project team, composed of 25 international experts and Cambodian counterparts, completed the draft plan in September which was being reviewed by the new government.
A review of ZEMP was held in Phnom Penh at the end of November and attended by the project team, Ministers and donors.
Mr Bouchenaki also informed the Committee of the recent establishment of an Intergovernmental Committee for the safeguarding and development of Angkor as decided by the Tokyo Conference (12 and 13 October 1993). The primary purpose of this Phnom Penh-based Intergovernmental Committee, whose secretariat would be provided by UNESCO, is to assist the Cambodian Government in defining conservation priorities and to promote and coordinate international assistance for Angkor. The World Heritage Committee supported the appeal of the Director-General of UNESCO to the international community to re-dynamise cooperation with the Kingdom of Cambodia for safeguarding Angkor.
In addition to the information provided by the Secretariat, Mr Beschaouch was requested to present the outcome of his mission to Cambodia, as special representative of the Director-General. He informed the Committee about his contacts with the highest authorities in Cambodia and confirmed their willingness to pursue and reinforce the cooperation with UNESCO for the safeguarding of the sites of Angkor. Following this presentation, the Committee expressed its satisfaction with the progress made in the political normalization and national reconciliation process, following the promulgation of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Furthermore, the Committee applauded the activities carried out by UNESCO in cooperation with the Cambodian authorities to establish a legal, procedural, technical and administrative framework for the integrated safeguarding of the site of Angkor and its ensemble. The Committee noted also with satisfaction the new perspectives resulting from the intergovernmental Tokyo Conference to mobilize international assistance for the safeguarding of Angkor.
Following these reports, the Committee recommended:
- that the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia finalizes, with UNESCO's assistance, the elaboration of an emergency safeguarding scheme in the framework of a regional management and development plan. This plan should include cultural and ecological dimensions of the historical perimeter as well as adequate conservation measures;
- that UNESCO which ensures the Secretariat of the "International Coordination Committee", envisages sending to the World Heritage Committee a periodic report on the development of international action for Angkor;
- that ICOMOS and ICCROM may assist the Cambodian authorities in the elaboration of a long-term management and monitoring programme in Angkor, including the specific training of various indispensable personnel.