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Angkor

Cambodia
Factors affecting the property in 1993*
  • Human resources
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Urgent problems of conservation

International Assistance: requests for the property until 1993
Requests approved: 2 (from 1992-1993)
Total amount approved : 35,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1993**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1993

The Committee, at its sixteenth session, inscribed the Angkor site, together with its monuments and its archaeological zones as described in the "Perimetre de Protection" accompanying the ICOMOS report, on the World Heritage List. The Committee, however, noted that Cambodia has been placed under the temporary administration of the United Nations, in accordance with the Paris Accords, since July 1991. In order to deal with the urgent problems of conservation facing this site quickly and effectively, the Committee decided to include Angkor in the List of World Heritage in Danger and requested that the competent UN and Cambodian authorities take the necessary steps to meet the following conditions:

i)  enact adequate protective legislation;

ii) establish an adequately staffed national protection agency;

iii) establish permanent boundaries based on the UNDP project;

iv) define meaningful buffer zones, and

v) establish monitoring and co-ordination of the international conservation effort.

Since the conclusion of the last session of the Committee, a strong and regulatory institutional framework had been put into place in Cambodia, by the decisions of the Supreme National Council of 10 February 1993 relating to the National Heritage Protection Authority of Cambodia. With regard to establishing permanent boundaries and defining meaningful buffer zones, a draft Angkor Zoning and Environmental Management Plan has been elaborated. The draft Plan was developed by a team of international and Cambodian experts, which undertook three missions between the period December 1992 and April 1993. The team built on past projects, took into consideration the latest thinking on the conservation and management of protected sites and landscapes and designed the draft plan using a Geographic Information System (GIS) and computer mapping system. The draft plan defines the Angkor World Heritage Area (AWHA), within which are the Angkor Archaeological Parks (AAP), Core Monument Sectors, and Special Areas of Archaeological Concerns (SAACs); the plan also identifies Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZs) and Urban Development Zones (UDZs). Some of the above mentioned parts of the AWHA also include sub-zones; e.g. UDZs have an urban conservation zone, urban expansion zone and a tourism development zone.

A discussion draft of the initial executive summary of the Angkor World Heritage Area Zoning and Environmental Management Plan, dated 1993, has been prepared for discussion with the Supreme National Council. A copy of this discussion draft is available with the Centre; the information has been transmitted to ICOMOS for review.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1993

In recognition of the national and global significance of the Angkor monuments and associated archaeological features as representations of the great Khmer civilization, the Supreme National Council of Cambodia ratified the 1972 World Heritage Convention in November 1991.

The World Heritage Committee at its 16th session in Santa Fe adopted by Decision of 14 December 1992 to inscribe Angkor on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

However, the Committee placed a number of conditions which it requested the Cambodian authorities to fulfill as soon as possible, including:

(i) to enact adequate protective legislation;

(ii) to establish a national protection agency;

(iii) to establish permanent boundaries;

(iv) to establish meaningful buffer zones, both based on the ZEMP project; and

(v) to establish monitoring and co-ordination of the international conservation effort.

With the legal assistance of UNESCO, a new and comprehensive legislation has been drafted. It was debated extensively by the Supreme National Council of Cambodia during its January 1993 meeting before its adoption by the SNC on 10 February 1993 as the "Decision on the Protection of the National Cultural Heritage". This SNC Decision is expected to be promulgated as law by the legislative body to be established by the new government.

In response to condition (ii) and in collaboration with the UNTAC Civil Administration, a supra-ministerial agency, named "the National Heritage Protection Authority of Cambodia" (NHPAC) was formally adopted by Decision of the SNC on the 10 February 1993.

To comply with conditions (iii) and (iv), UNESCO has executed a "Zoning and Environment Plan" (ZEMP) for the Angkor Area with funds from UNDP and Sweden and with technical assistance from the United States National Parks Services, the Angkor Foundation of Hungary, the Thai Department of Fine Arts, the Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient and the World Conservation Union.

Some 25 experts of various scientific disciplines from 11 different countries, together with Cambodian technical counterparts, participated in this project undertaking extensive studies of environmental and socio-economic conditions, as well as collection of the archaeological data within a 5,000 sq km study area centred on the Angkor core monumental grounds. The spatial data was compiled into a computerized Geographical Information System (GIS) and has been set up within the Angkor Conservation Office in Siem Reap to be made available to all participants in the restoration and conservation effort and is expected to be continuously up-dated by future field surveys. From this data, it has been possible to define an "Angkor Cultural Area". Within this boundary two large protected areas were identified. One, tentatively called the "Angkor Archaeological Park" is centred on the core monumental area. The other, called the "Phnom Kulen Park" comprises the environmentally important Kulen Mountain together with more than 100 important monuments from the earliest period of the Khmer Empire. In addition, within the Angkor Cultural Area, smaller satellite parks have been defined around the monumental complexes of Banteay Srei and Phnom Krom.

Also defined are more than 500 "Special Areas of Archaeological Concerns" (SAACs) outside of the boundaries of the parks, many of which have been discovered by the ZEMP project. "Ecologically Sensitives Zones", localizing areas requiring special protection to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources were also defined.

The ZEMP project team, therefore, recommends the establishment of an Angkor Parks Agency which would be a strong and multi- disciplinary government agency dedicated to the protection and management of the World Heritage Angkor Park and potentially other national parks in the region. Recommendations for the establishment of other government entities, such as a regional development board for the co-ordination of social and physical infrastructural development activities, have also been made by the ZEMP team.

The draft Plan with the proposed zones, guidelines and options of organization and management structures was submitted to the new Cambodian Government for its consideration and eventual adoption.

At the general level, the Director-General of UNESCO has created a special Angkor Unit within the Culture Sector and reinforced the UNESCO Office for Cambodia in Phnom Penh and its sub-office in Siem Reap.

At the field level, there is a monthly field Directors Steering Committee meeting held on the site, co-chaired by UNESCO and the Cambodian Director of the Angkor Conservation Office. In April 1993, UNESCO convoked, in Siem Reap, a consultative meeting of international experts involved in the safeguarding and development of the Angkor region which, it is hoped, could be repeated annually.

To ensure closer co-operation between the organizations involved in field-based activities at Angkor and the national authorities, UNESCO's sub-office in Siem Reap, located within the Angkor Conservation Office, was strengthened by additional national staff and is soon expected to be further reinforced by international technical experts.

The key to ensuring the success of these co-ordinating mechanisms is the training to upgrade the management capacity of the Cambodian administrators of the site of Angkor. This need is being addressed by an important project funded by the Government of Japan to upgrade the quality of instruction within the Faculty of Archaeology of the University of Fine Arts of Phnom Penh. An extension of the ZEMP project also focuses on the training of site-managers for the administration of the Angkor Park.

The Intergovernmental Conference on the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor, organised at the initiative of the Governments of France and Japan, was held in Tokyo from 12-13 October 1993, gathering 29 governments, 7 international organisations, financial institutions and several non-governmental organisations. UNESCO was closely associated with the preparation of this Conference and assured its Secretariat.

The Conference, emphasising the inseparable relationship between the preservation of Angkor's cultural assets, the conservation of its natural resources and the socio-economic development of the region, adopted the "Tokyo Declaration" which created an intergovernmental committee to be established in Phnom Penh at the ambassadorial level to coordinate all activities at Angkor, both bilateral and multilateral, whether they be in the domain of cultural heritage preservation or socio-economic development. UNESCO will be the Secretariat to this Committee to be chaired by France and Japan under the hoped for Honorary Presidency of His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.

Angkor by all participating Governments and organisations and in financial pledges of some US$ 15 million to be disbursed over the next two years.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1993
17 BUR VIII.2
Angkor (Cambodia)

The Committee, at its sixteenth session, inscribed the Angkor site, together with its monuments and archaeological zones, as described in the "Perimeter de Protection" accompanying the ICOMOS report, on the World Heritage List. The Committee, however, noted that Cambodia had been placed under the temporary administration of the United Nations, in accordance with the Paris Accords, since July 1991. In order to deal quickly and effectively with the urgent problems of conservation facing this site, the Committee decided to include Angkor in the List of World Heritage in Danger and requested that the competent UN and Cambodian authorities take the necessary steps to meet the following conditions:

i) enact adequate protective legislation;

ii) establish an adequately staffed national protection agency;

iii) establish permanent boundaries based on the UNDP project;

iv) define meaningful buffer zones, and

v) establish monitoring and co-ordination of the international conservation effort.

At its present session, the Bureau was briefed by the UNESCO Representative to Cambodia, on the state of implementation of the Committee recommendation since its last session. A comprehensive legislation, "Decision on the Protection of the National Cultural Heritage", was adopted by the Supreme National Council at its meeting of 10 February 1993 and took immediate effect.

The future challenge will be to ensure that the provisions of this law be enabled by the constitution, which is currently being drafted by the newly-elected constituent assembly.

A supra-ministerial agency, "The National Heritage Protection Authority of Cambodia" (NHPAC), headed by HRH Prince Norodom Sihanouk, was formally established on 10 February 1993 by a decision of the Supreme Council of Cambodia.

The governing body of the agency has been nominated and the line-functions will be filled in the near future. It is estimated that they will be functional by September 1993.

UNESCO has executed, with funds from UNDP and Sweden and with technical assistance from the United States National Park Service, the Angkor Foundation of Hungary, The Thailand Department of Fine Arts, The Ecole Française d'Extreme Orient, and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), a "Zoning and Environment Management Plan" (ZEMP) for the Angkor Area. As a result of the analyzed data, it was possible to define an "Angkor Cultural Area" corresponding to the catchment area of the ancient Khmer capital. Within this area two large "protected" or "restricted" areas have been identified. One, tentatively called the "Angkor Archaeological Park", is concentrated on the core monumental area. The other, the "Phnom Kulen Park", comprises the environmentally important Kulen Mountain together with more than 100 important monuments from the earliest period of the Empire. In addition, within the Angkor Cultural Area, smaller satellite parks have been defined around the monumental complex of Banteay Srei and Phnom Krom. Also defined are more than 500 "Special Areas of Archaeological Concern" (SAAC), many of which have been newly discovered by the ZEMP project, ESZs ("Ecologically Sensitive Zones"), UCZs ("Urban Conservation Zones"), and urban development zones.

In addition to defining protected/restricted areas and surrounding buffer zones, the ZEMP project has developed zoning regulations and management guidelines, not only for the World Heritage site, but also for the larger surrounding area wherein development activities may have adverse effects on conservation of the Angkor site itself.

The recommendations and policy options of the ZEMP study have already been endorsed at the technical level by the Cambodian authorities and are currently under discussion at the political level. Formal adoption of the ZEMP recommendations may not be possible before the formation of a new national government, foreseen for September or October 1993.

A monitoring/co-ordinating unit for the international conservation effort was established by UNESCO's Director-General within the Physical Heritage Division. A consultative meeting of international experts on Angkor was convened last April in Siem Reap. The Bureau expressed full satisfaction of the work undertaken in such limited time and in the present critical political situation.

17 COM X
SOC: Angkor (Cambodia)

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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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.

No draft Decision

Report year: 1993
Cambodia
Date of Inscription: 1992
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 1992-2004
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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