Opposition to listing of Thai temple for World Heritage status

Locals living near a proposed world heritage site in Thailand mount opposition to the listing, fearing changes to their way of life. Also interesting is that preparations to list the temple as a world heritage site is underway – perhaps indications that Thailand will not withdraw from the convention after all?

Locals fight Heritage push for Phra Pathom Chedi
The Nation, 22 August 2011

Many locals living and working near Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom province have voiced opposition to the Culture Ministry’s plan to seek World Heritage status for the sacred pagoda.

At a public hearing on Saturday, opposition to the plan stemmed mainly from locals’ concerns that achieving World Heritage status would negatively affect their way of life as well as their livelihoods. Many of the participants run stalls near the pagoda.

To the vendors, World Heritage status would come at their expense.

Many vendors in Ayutthaya have complained that since Unesco listed the Historic City of Ayutthaya as a World Heritage Site in 1991, they have been forced out of the area.

Full story in The Nation.

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.

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