Prime Minister Hun Sen is calling on donors to continue contributing to the conservation of the Angkor Archaeological Park as the country is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor.
ICC-Angkor was established in 1993 after the Angkor historic site was listed on Unesco’s World Heritage List.
During the celebrations, which began yesterday and end today, the 31st Technical Session of the ICC-Angkor will also take place.
King Norodom Sihamoni is expected to preside over the closing ceremony of the celebration today.
Speaking during its opening ceremony yesterday, Mr Hun Sen lauded the achievements of ICC-Angkor during its 25 year tenure in developing and conserving the historic site.
He also noted that millions of dollars have been spent over the years to support ICC-Angkor’s development initiatives.
“On behalf of the government, I would like to appeal to all friendly countries, development partners and the international community to continue to provide technical support, human resources and financing,” Mr Hun Sen said. “All relevant ministries and people must join together and provide good cooperation for the success of the protection and conservation of this heritage.”
“The Angkor Archaeological site has been strongly improving and has attracted tourists non-stop,” he said, adding that 1.5 million tourists visited the site in the first nine months of this year.
Mr Hun Sen noted that the historic site has the potential to attract more than two million tourists by the end of this year and that it is expected to receive seven million tourists by 2020 and 14 million tourists in 2030.
Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, yesterday said 25 years ago, the Angkor site was riddled with mines, illegal logging and looting of historical artefacts.
Ms Sackona said the ICC-Angkor is an international mechanism to raise funds for the site’s repairs and conservation of its temples.
“This anniversary celebration is aimed to remind the public of our commitment 25 years ago,” she said.
Ms Sackona said that today, there are no more security issues and temples collapsing. She noted that the challenges the site is facing today are climate change, pollution, relocation and tourist management.
Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay yesterday applauded the conservation of the historic site.
Ms Azoulay said contributions from Japan and France, along with efforts of the Cambodian government have created something Cambodians can be proud about.
Eang Sophalleth, Mr Hun Sen’s assistant, yesterday told reporters that Unesco, Japan and France have committed to continue to help preserve the Angkor historic site and address conservation challenges.
After the opening ceremony, UNESCO, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties and the Asia Cultural Council signed a cooperation agreement to promote Asian culture and use it as a bridge to build peace in Asia.
ACC director-general Suos Yara said the ICAPP has developed an international cultural mechanism.
“We hope that all 352 members of the ICAPP, parties in power – and opposition alike – can come together from the 52 countries of Asia and use culture as a means to live together and build a peaceful and prosperous future for us all,” Mr Yara said.
The Angkor site is most likely Cambodia’s greatest tourist attraction, bringing in over one million visitors and $61.4 million in the first half of 2018 alone.