Thailand pulls out of Unesco

The big news over the weekend is Thailand’s withdrawal from the Unesco World Heritage Convention, after the World Heritage committee supposedly decided to accept Cambodia’s management plan (The plan was apparently tabled for discussion). It looks like Thailand has upped the ante now, and with their withdrawal it means that their country no longer has to comply with Unesco rulings. I wonder how this withdrawal will affect their relations with Cambodia and also, what their resignation means for their other world heritage sites like Ban Chiang, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Also, how does the current Thai elections, scheduled for this Sunday, fit into this issue?

Border villagers living in fear
Bangkok Post, 27 June 2011

Cabinet to discuss WHC implications
Bangkok Post, 27 June 2011

Thailand withdraws from World Heritage Convention
VOV News, 27 June 2011

UNESCO Director-General regrets the announcement of Thailand’s intention to denounce the 1972 World Heritage Convention
Unesco Press, 26 June 2011

Thai leader defends leaving UN heritage site body
AP, via Today, 26 June 2011

Thailand quits heritage body amid temple row
AFP, via Saigon Giai Phong, 26 June 2011

Thailand pulls out of World Heritage Convention
MCOT, 26 June 2011

Government to pull out of WHC
Bangkok Post, 26 June 2011

Thailand threatens to quit World Heritage group
Bangkok Post, 25 June 2011

Preah Vihear plan set for UNESCO review
Phnom Penh Post, 24 June 2011

The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova has expressed her deep regret following the declaration of the Thai Minister Suwit Khunkitti during the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee being held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 19 to 29 June 2011, on the intention of Thailand to denounce the 1972 World Heritage Convention.

Irina Bokova reiterated that “The World Heritage Convention of 1972 is not only the foremost international instrument for the preservation and protection of the world’s cultural and natural properties which have Outstanding Universal Value, but also widely recognized as an important and indispensable tool to develop and encourage international cooperation and dialogue”.

Contrary to widely circulated media reports, the World Heritage Committee did not discuss the Management Plan of the Temple of Preah Vihear nor did it request for any reports to be submitted on its state of conservation. Moreover, it needs to be clarified that UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre never pushed for a discussion of the Management Plan by the Committee.


Related Posts

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

One thought on “Thailand pulls out of Unesco”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *