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Angkor

Cambodia
Factors affecting the property in 2008*
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Uncontrolled urban expansion;

b) Lack of an appropriate management system. 

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2008

Total amount provided to the property: Approximately USD 52 million, up to 2006.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2008
Requests approved: 4 (from 1992-1998)
Total amount approved : 113,595 USD
Missions to the property until 2008**

September 2005: technical advisory mission concerning the protection of Zones 1 and 2 of Angkor; In addition, the ad hoc experts of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) carry out monitoring of the property and of ongoing projects in the complex of Angkor, twice per year, on the occasion of the ICC technical and plenary sessions. 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

On 28 January 2008, the State Party submitted an extensive report on the World Heritage property of Angkor, describing the set of actions carried out at Angkor since the early 1990s and containing copies of all the presentations delivered at the December 2006 and July 2007 ICC sessions. The report includes as well two documents concerning ongoing and planned initiatives funded by the New Zealand and Australian Agencies for International Development.

With regard to the issue of land management and governance within zones 1 and 2 of the property, a study conducted in 2006, in the context of a project funded by the New Zealand Agency for International Development, has confirmed the worrying conclusions of the 2005 mission. This project, called “Angkor management plan”, focuses mostly on “organisational development and appropriate resource allocation” within the Agency for the Protection and Safeguarding of Angkor (APSARA). In this sense, it has a broader, if somewhat different scope from the management plan for the property of Angkor that the World Heritage Committee had requested the State Party to develop and implement (see below).

According to this study prepared in close cooperation with APSARA, “land use and occupation and development within the boundaries of the protected zones is not being administered according to the intention of the legislation”, the most significant issue being “the inability over the succeeding years to limit urban development to the outer boundary of zone 2 (buffer zone), north of Siem Reap”, resulting from the extraordinary growth in tourism and population. The resulting maps show that a major and irreversible negative impact to the integrity of the property will take place unless the authorities are able to exert effective control on land management as a matter of urgency. Significant threats to the property appear to be associated to the excessive consumption of groundwater to cater for the tourism sector, which might destabilise the monuments of Angkor, as well as to the related waste and pollution management.

Noting that the same “disorderly urban expansion” affected the entire urban area of Siem Reap, a 2005 Study for an “Integrated Master Plan for the Sustainable Development of Siem Reap/Angkor Town”, funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), sets out a vision for an urban development approach and proposed provisions for coordinated planning. Although this Master Plan does not cover zones 1 and 2 of the property, its implementation would be beneficial for the safeguarding of Angkor, since it would reduce considerably the pressure on the protected areas. APSARA and the Siem Reap authorities have gradually started some concrete realisations, through infrastructural projects outside of zone 2.

With regard to these issues, it appears that a number of measures have been taken by APSARA. In 2006, the boundaries of zones 1 and 2 were finally demarcated on the ground. According to the Director of APSARA's Department of Monuments and Archaeology, new procedures were also established for obtaining building permits, while brochures were prepared and distributed on appropriate building standards based on traditional Khmer architecture. A new Department for Order and Cooperation has also been created to enforce the existing land use regulations within zones 1 and 2. To reduce pressure within the protected areas, moreover, APSARA has identified a 1000-hectare plot of land to the east of zone 2 where a new residential programme will be launched. APSARA believes that if this pilot initiative proves successful, it could be replicated elsewhere.

The New Zealand Aid funded study, however, considers that in order to ensure the safeguarding of Angkor it would still be necessary for the Cambodian authorities to pass urgent legislation to bring certainty to the rights of community members living in the Park area, further clarify the planning provisions within the protected zones and allocate the necessary resources to strengthen the institutional capacity of APSARA. These recommendations are very similar to those made by the 2005 mission, endorsed by the World Heritage Committee in its Decision 30 COM 7B.61 in 2006.

With respect to the requested management plan focused on the conservation of the outstanding universal value of the property, a proposal for its development has been put together by the World Heritage Centre and the UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh, in consultation with APSARA, and has been submitted to the Australian Government for its consideration. This project is meant to complement and integrate the above-mentioned “Angkor management plan” programme funded by New Zealand. To avoid any possible ambiguity, the project submitted to Australia for funding has been entitled “Heritage Management Framework: World Heritage Site of Angkor”.

If funded and implemented, this three-year initiative would finally provide Angkor with the comprehensive management framework that the World HeritageCommittee recommended on various occasions. It is important to note that the scope of this initiative is larger than the actual area inscribed on the World Heritage List. The Greater Angkor Project, undertaken by the University of Sydney, in conjunction with the école Française d'Extrême-Orient and APSARA, has indeed identified the extent of Angkor as a medieval urban complex, covering about 1000 sq km. An important implication of this new research might be the need to reconsider appropriate boundaries for the property and related management zones, in due time.

Finally, as concerns the establishment of an ad hoc group of experts on sustainable development, three experts, designated in 2007, have already attended, and contributed to, the last technical session of the ICC Angkor in July 2007.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2008
32 COM 7B.65
Angkor (Cambodia) (C 668)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.61, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3. Notes with satisfaction that a new ad hoc group of experts for sustainable development has been established and has become operational during 2007;

4. Welcomes the progress achieved through the project entitled "Angkor management plan", in clarifying the challenges facing APSARA for the management and conservation of the property, as well as in defining the actions required to address them satisfactorily;

5. Also welcomes the proposal for the development of a "Heritage Management Framework", which would complement the "Angkor management plan" project by focusing specifically on the conservation of the heritage values of the property, and strongly encourages the State Party to take this project forward as soon as possible;

6. Reiterates its serious concern for the continuing and increasing threats posed to the Outstanding Universal Value and integrity of the property by the ongoing uncontrolled urban expansion in the property and its buffer zones, despite the efforts made by the Cambodian authorities;

7. Requests the State Party to address these threats by ensuring swift and full implementation of the recommendations of the 2005 mission, and in particular to:

a) clarify, including by passing new legislation if necessary, the rules regarding property rights, ownership and building codes applicable to zones 1 and 2;

b) enforce existing laws regarding illegal occupation, unauthorised construction and development and park-land appropriation/alienation;

c) strengthen the capacities of APSARA to enable effective land use planning and management, including by providing it with the necessary resources;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2010, a report on the progress made on the issues mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.

Draft Decision: 32 COM 7B.65

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.61, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3. Notes with satisfaction that a new ad hoc group of experts for sustainable development has been established and has become operational during 2007;

4. Welcomes the progress achieved through the project entitled “Angkor management plan”, in clarifying the challenges facing APSARA for the management and conservation of the property, as well as in defining the actions required to address them satisfactorily;

5. Also welcomes the proposal for the development of a “Heritage Management Framework”, which would complement the “Angkor management plan” project by focussing specifically on the conservation of the heritage values of the property, and strongly encourages the State Party to take this project forward as soon as possible;

6. Reiterates its serious concern for the continuing and increasing threats posed to the outstanding universal value and integrity of the property by the ongoing uncontrolled urban expansion in its core and buffer zones, despite the efforts made by the Cambodian authorities;

7. Requests the State Party to address these threats by ensuring swift and full implementation of the recommendations of the 2005 mission, and in particular to:

a) Clarify, including by passing new legislation if necessary, the rules regarding property rights, ownership and building codes applicable to zones 1 and 2;

b) Enforce existing laws regarding illegal occupation, unauthorised construction and development and park-land appropriation/alienation;

c) Strengthen the capacities of APSARA to enable effective land use planning and management, including by providing it with the necessary resources;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a report on the progress made on the issues mentioned above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.

 

Report year: 2008
Cambodia
Date of Inscription: 1992
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 1992-2004
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 32COM (2008)
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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