Cultural Development: The Heritage And Creativity

© UNESCO/Bunhok Lim - View of Srah Srang, Siem Reap

The exceptional and singular cultural heritage of Cambodia has been a main focus of attraction for the rest of the world for over a century. Unfortunately, this invaluable heritage was seriously damaged during nearly thirty years of continuous fighting.

During this time, monuments and archaeological sites suffered from neglect, degradation and pillage. The intangible heritage, including performing arts, was close to disappearance, as only a few masters and artists survived the genocide of the Khmer Rouge.

The Royal Government has acknowledged the important role played by culture as a means to shape national identity, strengthen social cohesion and contribute to the economic development of Cambodia. However, at the present stage, the capacity of the Government for the protection, preservation and development of the Cambodian cultural heritage is still limited due to the lack of sufficient financial and human resources. Therefore, over the last years, UNESCO's activities have focused on strengthening the national authorities in their ability to safeguard and promote the national heritage of the country, both tangible and intangible. Special attention is being focused on the involvement and improvement of the conditions of local communities living within monumental complexes around the country. Through its different actions for the promotion of intangible heritage, UNESCO also provides support to local artists, while a several initiatives aim to raise awareness among the youth on the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of the country.

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