UNESCO-ICC-Angkor Secretariat Assess Conservation Projects at Angkor

The International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) Secretariat together with the APSARA National authority conducted an inspection survey mission at the Angkor World Heritage site from 5 to 11 June, 2020. The French and Japanese Co-chairs of the Technical Session of the ICC-Angkor also accompanied the survey. The aim of the mission was to monitor the work progress in each project sites at Angkor, in accordance with the former ICC recommendations and assess future planned project proposals.

Despite the restrictive situation of social distancing linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the APSARA National Authority is continuing their restoration, conservation and sustainable development works in order to enhance the values of Angkor in line with the recommendations of the last ICC meeting in December 2019. Given this situation, twenty project sites were monitored and many new remarkable discoveries were introduced to the mission participants, such as a wooden structure in the northern pond of Angkor Wat, an ancient structure at Lolei temple in Roluos area, and a monument structure in the middle of Srah Srang.

With regard to the Sustainable Development projects, the APSARA National Authority has embarked on a program to develop and to enhance the access spaces in front of Angkor Wat. In order to harmonize the surrounding environment and the cultural landscape, a creation of Parvis is in progress to welcome the visitors near Angkor Wat. In order to avoid the adverse impact to the Terrace of Elephants and Royal Palace, a reroute path was introduced, while construction of a twenty-three km bicycle path was underway in the forest in order to encourage visitors to use environmental friendly transportation means.

Following this site visit, the ICC Secretariat is coordinating in close collaboration with the adhoc Experts for Conservation and Sustainable Development to prepare guidance based on the submitted reports from each project sites for evaluation.

As the follow-up of the decision of the First Intergovernmental Conference on the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor, held in Tokyo in October 1993, and the first meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor), held in Phnom Penh on 21 and 22 December 1993, the working procedures of the Committee were established. It was decided that the Committee would be co-chaired by France and Japan, and a practical approach was defined. It foresees that activities for the preservation and safeguarding of monuments and other cultural heritage, and the well-balanced economic development of the region, should be adopted in consultation with the Cambodian authorities. Japan and France ensure the co-chairmanship, while UNESCO in close cooperation with APSARA ensures the secretariat of the ICC-Angkor.

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