SOC: Angkor (Cambodia)
X.15 Angkor (Cambodia)
The Secretariat reported on the results of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Area of Angkor (ICC) which convened its plenary session in June 1999. The Committee's attention was drawn to the decision taken by the Royal Government of Cambodia to grant to a private company the collection of entry fees to Angkor Park for a five-year period, and the allocation in 1999 of US$ 800,000 by this company to the Authority for the Protection of the Site and Development of the Region of Angkor (ASPARA) for conservation activities. The Committee noted the report submitted by the State Party on the reorganization of APSARA and that some one hundred projects are being implemented by more than a dozen countries and agencies, including large-scale infrastructural projects such as road and bridge constructions, airport extension and public utilities upgrading of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other bilateral and multilateral financial and development co-operation agencies, as well as privately-funded projects, notably for the construction of tourism facilities. To ensure that such works, necessary for the socioeconomic welfare of the population, do not undermine the World Heritage value of the site, the Committee requested the strengthening of international co-ordination efforts by APSARA and the ICC to review all public and private works affecting the site in addition to the monumental conservation projects. Recalling paragraph 56 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World heritage Convention, the State Party was invited to inform the Committee through the Secretariat, of major restorations or new constructions which they intend to undertake or to authorize which may affect the World Heritage values of the site, before the drafting of basic documents of the specific projects and before granting authorization.
As a management tool to record and monitor the various development works, the updating of the Geographical Information System (GIS) of Angkor developed in 1993, and to make this consolidated data available to all concerned parties was proposed.
Concerning the conservation projects, the Committee, while expressing appreciation for the high quality of the standards applied in the on-going projects, stressed the necessity to ensure the transfer of knowledge and skills to the national and local experts through training. In this regard, ICCROM, recognized by the Committee as the principal partner for training in cultural heritage conservation, reiterated its readiness to evaluate the training aspects of the on-going projects and to improve, as appropriate, the effectiveness of such endeavours. The Committee furthermore expressed its deep concern over the alarming reports on the continued looting and illicit traffic of cultural properties in Angkor and other cultural sites on the Tentative list of Cambodia. The Committee urged the State Party to take further action to enhance the protection of the site against looting and the national frontiers against illicit export of cultural properties and requested the signatories of the 1970 Convention to take all measures possible to prevent the importation and sales of Khmer cultural objects of uncertain provenance.
The Observer of Indonesia informed the Committee of his Government's assistance to the State Party to enhance the technical capacity of the conservation laboratories in Angkor through training activities.
The Observer of Japan, expressing his Government's wish to continue to co-chair the ICC alongside the Government of France, informed the Committee of the commitment of the Japanese Government to continue providing financial assistance to Angkor.
The Observer of the United States of America informing the Committee of its recent accession to the 1970 Convention, stated its commitment to strengthen measures restricting the importation into the United States of Cambodian cultural heritage.
The Committee adopted the following decision:
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, congratulated the Royal Government of Cambodia for the significant progress made in the funding and reorganization of the Authority for the Protection of the Site and Development of the Region of Angkor (ASPARA). The Committee encouraged the ASPARA to strengthen its action in the field of training so as to ensure control over the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the monuments and the protection of the site against looting and illicit traffic of cultural objects. It invited ASPARA and the ICC to monitor closely the rapid development of the activities and collections of the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Documentation for Angkor, which should in due course house all the documentation produced by the safeguarding and development projects of the site. The Committee requested the State Party to prepare an updated state of conservation report with support of the UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh and the Division of Cultural Heritage of UNESCO of the actions being undertaken in addressing the concerns expressed above. The Committee invited the Chairperson of the Committee to write to the Co-Chairpersons of the ICC requesting them to assist the State Party in the preparation of this report. This report should include information concerning the on-going and planned major public and private works in the region of Angkor, as well as the status of measures being undertaken at the national and local levels to control looting and illicit traffic of cultural properties from Angkor and other sites on the Tentative List of Cambodia. The Committee requested that this report be provided to the Secretariat by 15 April 2000 for examination by the Committee at its twenty-fourth session.