3rd Intergovernmental Conference on Angkor
Siem Reap, 5 December, 2013
The 3rd Intergovernmental Conference for the Safeguarding and Sustainable Development of the Historic Site of Angkor and Its Region notes with satisfaction the smooth functioning of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) and its contribution, in a post-conflict context, to cultural and heritage management and to the efforts put forth for the development of Cambodia.
It also observes the effectiveness of this entity in dealing with the conservation of one of the largest archaeological sites on the World Heritage List, at a time when the emergence of new technologies and thus new conservation methods are playing a key role in the management of heritage sites.
It also wishes to stress the importance for ICC–Angkor and hence for the national and international communities, to further steer the actions of ICC–Angkor in harmony with the sustainable and inclusive development of the site and its region, with particular attention to the living heritage of Angkor, thus contributing to recognition of the intangible cultural heritage of the local communities living in and around the site.
Thanks to the experience and expertise gained during the past 20 years, the APSARA National Authority is empowered to further play its role as the main actor and key entity responsible for the safeguarding, conservation and sustainable development of the historic site of Angkor and its region.
Hence the 3rd Intergovernmental Conference for the Safeguarding and Sustainable Development of the Historic Site of Angkor and Its Region makes the following recommendations:
New approaches, new technologies and new competencies:
1. That the international partners continue to support the APSARA National Authority’s efforts to gradually consolidate its operations in such a way as to become self-sufficient by the end of the next decade;
2. That all partners at Angkor implement preventive conservation measures in accordance with internationally recognized best practices, such as those outlined in the Angkor Charter, as well as in the guidelines of the risk map and other tools and principles contained in the new Heritage Management Framework, while bearing in mind the vastness of the site (401 km2);
3. That aspects related to the co-existence of built and natural heritage be considered in the conservation of monuments in the Angkor region, thereby preserving the archaeological, cultural and ecological values of the Angkor World Heritage Site.
4. That special attention be paid to the effects of climate change thanks to the new technologies; that new technologies be applied wherever possible in Angkor, aiming at proper management in accordance with international standards; that, for this purpose, a constant flow of information take place among all the concerned partners; and that a multi-disciplinary state-of-the-art technical approach be taken in the field of conservation;
5. That a natural disaster and risk preparedness management plan for Angkor be developed by the APSARA National Authority capitalizing on the risk map developed as part of the Heritage Management Framework, requiring the cooperation of all international teams working on site in order to meet the new challenges raised by climate change and other environmental concerns;
6. That the international teams assist their Cambodian counterparts to establish their own capacity building mechanism in all fields related to restoration and conservation, as well as general management of the site, taking into account new disciplines, such as natural disaster and risk preparedness and new technologies, which will play a more visible role in heritage management in the future;
7. That the training and capacity building efforts be extended throughout Cambodia against illicit trafficking of cultural goods and be continued in order to prevent the loss of cultural artefacts of Angkor, and that the national inventory of archaeological sites and cultural artefacts be regularly updated, published and widely disseminated by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts;
8. That a UNESCO Category 2 World Heritage Site Centre be established in Siem Reap/Angkor on the theme “Water and Heritage” ;
9. That the Regional Heritage Training Centre be continued and opened to other countries of the region;
10. That, while new technologies can be useful for diagnoses, studies and project implementation, careful attention be given to them, because interventions based on them may not always be compatible with an old structure and produce negative side effects. Likewise, concerning mathematical models that mathematical models be considered as only partially representing the reality, often too complicated to be schematized, meaning that the results must be assessed based on the reliability of the hypotheses made from all calculations;
Angkor, living heritage:
11. In view of the rapidly changing environment in and around the site of Angkor, that programs contribute to the sustainable management of its natural and cultural resources, the fight against poverty and the improvement of the livelihoods of the local communities, while maximizing the quality of the visiting experience of national and international tourists;
12. That special attention be paid to the living heritage aspects of the site, such as daily rituals, ceremonies and festive occasions, in order to contribute to a better understanding of and respect for local culture on the part of visitors, thus improving the standing of the local communities on the site, in particular through application of the “guidelines for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in the Angkor Site and other sites under the jurisdiction of APSARA National Authority”; and that programs be put in place to research, document and record, in a systematic way, living heritage on the Angkor site, which may directly contribute to and benefit the local communities;
13. The role of Angkor as a source of revenue generation must not overshadow its original function as a source of spirituality. Likewise, due to its aesthetic significance, the historic site serves as a source of creativity and cultural inspiration. Adequate measures should therefore be taken to ensure that visitors who wish to engage in spiritual or artistic activities may be accommodated in an adequate manner;
14. In view of the increase in tourist numbers on the Angkor site and the scientific and management challenges at the site, that the Tourism Management Plan be implemented by the APSARA National Authority and concerned authorities in close cooperation with stakeholders; and that programs be developed in the agricultural sector in order to generate revenues for local communities by enabling this sector to meet the increasing demand from tourism, thereby developing a more self-sufficient food market that is less dependent on foreign supply;
15. That effort be made to make all monuments and heritage sites accessible to a wider cross-section of visitors, including physically challenged persons;
16. That the local stakeholders and communities be comprehensively involved in the daily management of the site so as to increase their responsibility for its general conservation while contributing to their economic, environmental, social and human well-being;
17. That specific tourism-related teaching programs be designed to facilitate visits by national and international primary and secondary schools (including schools on the Angkor site) and that heritage education be included in the national education curriculum;
Angkor: the big picture
18. In light of environmental impacts and the growing urbanization of the region, that the national authorities give special attention to the conservation of forests and waterways in and around the Angkor site and that programs be put in place to enhance the protection of Phnom Kulen in particular, which could contribute to a large extent to water management on the Angkor site and in Siem Reap. Law enforcement and reforestation programs could contribute to the water supply and thus help cope with the increasing water consumption in the region and rise in CO2 emissions that are altering air quality on the site and its vicinity;
19. That the Cambodian authorities consider extending the Angkor zone under World Heritage status to include Phnom Kulen, which is already protected as a national park, taking into consideration the enhanced understanding of the outstanding heritage values of the entire Angkor area including landscape and intangible values;
20. That the Kulen Committee comprising the Ministry of Environment, the Siem Reap provincial authority, the APSARA National Authority, UNESCO, ADF, Wildlife Alliance and all concerned parties report on the progress of its works to the plenary and technical sessions of the ICC-Angkor; that a sustainable development master plan for the entire Angkor site be designed in close cooperation with the provincial government departments;
The new decade for the APSARA National Authority and ICC–Angkor:
21. That the twice-yearly meetings of ICC–Angkor continue to be held and specialized workshops be organized on problems related to, on the one hand, safeguarding and conservation of the monuments (restoring mountain temples, new stone patina, statuary, stone conservation, and the like) and, on the other, site management and land planning in a perspective of sustainable development;
22. That the APSARA National Authority determine project priorities on the basis of the monumental, environmental and social risk map, endeavouring to:
a) Prioritize operations (give top priority to emergency needs in all fields of conservation, research highlighting archaeology, sustainable tourism, training, etc.), implementing them on the basis firstly of the Angkor Charter where conservation and archaeology issues are involved and secondly to the Heritage Management Framework for all issues relating to overall management of the site, tourism and sustainable development;
b) Put archaeological research into an overall strategic approach developed by the APSARA National Authority and validated by ICC–Angkor, in which the priority objectives are defined; complete the Angkor archaeology database initiated by APSARA and ICCROM; and systematically include an archaeological depository on all major archaeological excavation sites;
c) Establish a timeline for funding and completion dates prior to looking for operators to implement the project;
d) Increase technology and knowledge transfer to the Cambodian teams in all sectors, including safeguarding, restoration, showcasing and managing the Angkor site;
e) Implement the Tourism Management Plan designed to promote sustainable tourism and preserve the sense of place
23. That the APSARA National Authority enforces more strictly the zoning hierarchy regulations (zones 1, 2, 3) as well as those governing the issuance of licenses/building permits.