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VIII.17 Angkor (Cambodia)

The Secretariat recalled that this site, inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the time of its inscription in 1992, is the largest cultural site in Southeast Asia. It extends over an area of some 400 km2 and includes no less than 100 monuments and hundreds of archaeological features. The socio-economic needs of the inhabitants require integration of conservation and development considerations. Although the armed conflict in the region of Angkor, which prompted its in-danger listing is now over, looting, illicit excavation and traffic in cultural objects and the continued need for large-scale international assistance, have kept this site on the Danger List. It was recalled that the Committee expressed concern at its twenty-third session in 1999, and the Bureau at its twenty-fourth session, regarding the airport extension plan, rapid development of tourism facilities, and uncoordinated public and private works that may undermine the integrity of the site. Responding to the Committee's request for APSARA, the site management authority, and the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC) to coordinate all conservation and development projects in the region and strengthen national capacity through training, the State Party, through the UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh, provided the information contained in WHC-2000/CONF.204/9 for the attention of the twenty-fourth session of the Committee.

The Delegate of Hungary stated that despite past requests by the Bureau and the Committee for the report of the ICC meetings, these had not been made available. Furthermore, he drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that the report on all on-going and planned projects for conservation, as well as on infrastructure had not been received. He urged the Committee and the advisory bodies to demonstrate more commitment for the safeguarding of this outstanding site. The Secretariat, at the invitation of the Chair, responded that the case of Angkor has been examined by the Bureau and Committee, at every single session since 1992, or no less than 20 times. All requests for international assistance submitted by the State Party have been supported, in addition to multi-year projects being financed through the Culture Sector of UNESCO in the largest operational programme being undertaken by the Organization. As for the advisory bodies, the Committee was informed that ICOMOS participated in the ICC meeting, and both IUCN and ICCROM have had operational presence, including a highly successful well-appreciated training programme (Tanee) recently implemented by ICCROM.

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 field of training thus ensuring the control and maintenance of the monuments and encouraged it to continue in its efforts. The Committee invited the APSARA and UNESCO to strengthen development activities for the collection of documents for the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Documentation of Angkor, which should aim at securing all documentation produced during the safeguarding and development projects of the site. It also encouraged further efforts to develop partnerships with international teams at the site.

Furthermore, the Committee requested additional information on the monitoring of work undertaken on the entrance porch of the central monument and the collapsed tiers of the western moat of the Angkor Vat Temple. The Committee reiterated its earlier request for information concerning tourism development at the site and the development of infrastructure in this respect, with particular reference to the question of the extension of the Siem Reap/Angkor airport. Finally, the Committee decided to retain this property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.