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‘Gaps’ in protection of cultural sites discussed

Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts attend an annual congress yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts attend an annual congress yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

‘Gaps’ in protection of cultural sites discussed

Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts expressed grave concerns yesterday over damage caused to remote heritage and conservation sites at their annual review meeting in Phnom Penh.

Ministry Secretary of State Thai Norak Satya said yesterday that the ministry lacked the resources to effectively monitor deforestation and development projects in remote areas that are of archaeological significance, though not always overtly so.

“The nationwide cultural work, both tangible and intangible, is huge compared to the ability and capacity of our resources, so it leads to gaps in the management,” Norak Sathya said.

A lack of education about the significance of these sites, as well as slow communication between officials and a lack of transportation, makes the task of protection an onerous one, said a local official from Tbong Khmum in attendance at yesterday’s conference.

“Another thing is money for maintaining the forestland and temples; we get only $2 million per year, so we can launch inspections just once or twice,” he said.

Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeung Sakona insisted that the ministry would continue to reform and train staff to better deal with the problems.

“If we develop ourselves late and cannot catch up with regional development and the world, we will face serious loss,” she said.

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