Interview: Cambodia ready for world heritage meeting -- senior official

2013-06-11 15:23:15 GMT2013-06-11 23:23:15(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

PHNOM PENH, June 11 (Xinhua) -- About 1,300 foreign delegates from more than 120 countries would participate in the 37th Session of the World Heritage Committee, to be held on June 16-27 in capital Phnom Penh and Siem Reap province, Cambodian senior official said Tuesday.

The milestone event will be held at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on June 16 by Prime Minister Hun Sen and closed on June 27 in Siem Reap province by Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister Sok An.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Tuesday, Sok An, who is the Chairman of the 37th Session of the World Heritage Committee, said that the country was ready to host such important event. "As the host, I am pleased to say that preparation is well under way and I feel truly ready for the Session," he said.

He said a special committee for organizing this session was created and afterwards its secretariat and five sub-committees were also established, being responsible for coordination with the World Heritage Center of UNESCO, logistics and finance, documentation, information and telecommunication, and security.

It is the first time that this impoverished nation hosts such a big meeting. He said that through this meeting, the World Heritage community would have the opportunity to know and understand the richness of Cambodian heritage and its efforts for its protection and safeguarding in the context of sustainable development.

"Cambodia is very proud to have inherited cultural and natural wonders from our ancestors, and it is our responsibility to preserve this legacy for future generations," he said.

During the forthcoming session, he said that about 36 nominated properties around the globe would be examined, and it remained unknown how many of them would succeed in being inscribed on the World Heritage List.

He added that during the upcoming session, Cambodia would not submit a nomination dossier for any of its heritage sites for consideration. "Although Cambodia has already completed documents for nominating Sambor Prei Kuk temple in Kampong Thom province for inscription on the World Heritage List, as Cambodia is the host of this 37th Session of the World Heritage Committee and I am myself its Chairperson, we decided to hold back our nomination as a gesture toward improving the culture of impartiality within this international organization."

Sok An said that there would be no discussion on the conservation and protection of the World Heritage Site of Cambodia 's Preah Vihear Temple in the upcoming session as its inscription was completed several years ago at the 34th and 35th sessions. " Like all other properties on the List, this one is now subject to routine and regular monitoring and reporting every six years as to its state of conservation," he said.

Answering the question about the urgent and difficult tasks in protecting the world heritage, Sok An said that to protect and preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the properties as at the time of inscription on the World Heritage List was the urgent and difficult tasks.

He added that to communicate the beauty and significance of the world's natural and cultural heritage, to recognize and value cultural diversity, and particularly to win over the youth to take up the mantle of protecting and preserving this legacy are also the most pressing tasks.

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