In its report “Temple Damage Alarm”, published on May 7, The Phnom Penh Post quoted information from the fund that is misleading and could lead to the public being misinformed about what has been done so far to conserve and develop the Preah Vihear World Heritage site.
On behalf of the National Authority for Preah Vihear, I wish to inform the public of the activities pertaining to the conservation and development at the Preah Vihear site, as well as clarify misleading information on the following issues:
1. The Global Heritage Fund has never been in contact with the National Authority for Preah Vihear, and the fund’s statement to the Post was made without the knowledge of the authority.
2. In the context of conserving, and enhancing the value of, the World Heritage site, the National Authority for Preah Vihear has completed a re-settlement plan that involved the relocation of people who lived within the protected zone to a nearby Samdech Techo Hun Sen eco-village.
This plan aims to preserve the historical characteristics of the site and provide a sound management plan for the surrounding landscape.
3. Restoration of the ancient baray (reservoir) was begun late last year and is progressing well. Once completed, the baray will be able to store a substantial volume of water.
4. Under the Shikaresvara training scheme, a three-year collaborative activity by the National Authority for Preah Vihear and the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites, and a joint training agreement with Palermo University in Sicily, we will launch the program next month with two activities: emergency stone conservation and advocacy activity.
These activities are respectively aimed at enhancing the skills of the Cambodian stone experts who are working at the site and broadening the heritage-protection awareness of schoolchildren.
5. In the area of tourism planning and development, the National Authority for Preah Vihear has implemented a sound strategy to co-ordinate and facilitate tourists’ visits to the site by building a museum and an information centre with the support of the Royal Government and the Bayon Foundation.
These preparations were made to provide visitors with a meaningful experience, as well as to mitigate potential negative impacts arising from factors such as tourist flow and the site’s carrying capacity.
As well as these preparations, a visitor circuit has been developed to give tourists the option of exploring not only the temple and its surrounding natural landscape but also the nearby community and waterfalls.
This information is provided in the interests of a better understanding of the state of conservation and development at the Preah Vihear site.
President of the National Authority for Preah Vihear