The National Authority for Preah Vihear hosted a commemorative event on July 7 to mark the 15th anniversary of the inscription of the Preah Vihear Temple on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This important cultural celebration was presided over by the Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, Phoeurng Sackona.

Over 1,200 individuals, encompassing provincial parliamentarians, the provincial governor, representatives from the Royal Palace and UNESCO, diplomats from India, the US, China, Japan, and France, members of the International Coordination Committee (ICC) for Preah Vihear Temple, the Apsara National Authority representatives, members of the armed forces, civil servants, and local residents, attended the event, according to the National Authority for Preah Vihear's social media post.

Sackona took the opportunity to hark back to 15 years prior, a notable period in Cambodia's historical annals, when UNESCO added the Preah Vihear Temple to the World Heritage List on July 7, 2008.

“This tremendous achievement signified the years of diligent efforts, both physical and intellectual, exerted by the government under the sage leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen of the Cambodia,” she reflected.

The ceremony was further uplifted by a message from King Norodom Sihamoni, read by Kol Bunly, secretary of state at the Ministry of the Royal Palace, who also celebrated the 15 year anniversary of the Preah Vihear Temple's World Heritage inscription.

Additionally, the celebrations included activities such as tree sapling planting, releasing pigeons and balloons, and making alms to 89 monks.

Simultaneously on July 7, the National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk celebrated the sixth anniversary of the inscription of the Sambor Prei Kuk Temple on the World Heritage List.

A man takes photo of Sambor Prei Kuk temple in Kampong Thom province. AKP

This ceremony was attended by Phan Nady, director-general of the Sambor Prei Kuk National Authority, along with other leaders and officials from the National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk. The Sambor Prei Kuk Temple was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 8, 2017.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an institution renowned worldwide, has an essential objective to promote the identification, preservation, and protection of cultural and natural heritage. These heritages, deemed to be of immense value to humanity, are recognised under the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, a pivotal international treaty put into effect by UNESCO in 1972.

What distinctly sets the concept of World Heritage apart is its global application. World Heritage sites are a treasure that belongs to every single person around the globe, irrespective of where these invaluable sites are geographically located. This principle reinforces the idea that the responsibility for these sites transcends national boundaries and is a shared obligation for all of humanity.

The spirit of the World Heritage Convention, therefore, is not just about preservation but also about collective ownership and universal value. Every nation, every people, have a stake in these sites, from the grandeur of the Temples of Angkor to the natural beauty of the Amazon Rainforest. The preservation of these sites is a testament to the rich diversity of our planet, both culturally and naturally.

This noble endeavour by UNESCO ensures that our world's precious heritage, in all its diverse glory, is celebrated, cherished, and safeguarded for generations to come. It represents a commitment to protect our past, appreciate our present, and invest in a truly universal mission.