Thematic Areas of Action
UNESCO’s work in Cambodia in the field culture is considerably wide and highly visible at the international level. On July 2008, UNESCO World Heritage Committee listed the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site—the fourth Khmer heritage listed as world heritage— after the Angkor Archaeological Park in December 1992, the Royal Ballet in November 2003 and Lkhoan Sbek Thom, the big shadow puppet, in November 2005.
It is well known that the Angkor Temples were seriously damaged during years of continuous war from the 1970s to the 1990s. Monuments and archaeological sites suffered from neglect, degradation and pillage while the intangible heritage, including performing arts, nearly disappeared as only a few masters and artists survived the Khmer Rouge genocide.
Following the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991 and the restoration of Constitutional Monarchy after the general election in 1993, the Royal Government of Cambodia acknowledged the important role of Culture in shaping national identity, strengthening social cohesion and contributing to the economic development of Cambodia.
The capacity of the Royal Government for the protection, preservation and development of the Cambodian cultural heritage has been gradually strengthened over the past decade through the strengthening of the national authorities’ abilities to safeguard and promote the country’s national tangible and intangible heritage.
In addition to the preservation, conservation and restoration of Cambodian tangible and intangible heritages, UNESCO works with the Royal Government of Cambodia in the field of natural heritage, eco-tourism, Cambodian Underwater Heritage and the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals.