Bagan To Be Submitted as a UNESCO World Heritage by Myanmar Government

SMOOTH POLITICAL TRANSITION IN MYANMAR IS A GOOD SIGN FOR TOURISM

A draft plan to designate Bagan as a World’s Heritage sites will be submitted to the UNESCO this coming September according to Myanmar Ministry of Culture. It would be the second listed site after Pyu ancient cities.

Union Minister in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko declared last week that Bagan would be expanded and spruced up to get included into UNESCO prestigious World Heritage List.

“This will include Tant Kyi Taung (Tant Kyi Hill) which is on the western part of Ayeyawady river (in Magway region) and Yone Hloot Kyoon in the eastern part of Bagan. The area is estimated to be more than 20000 acres.

“The original area of the Bagan ancient cultural zone was 27970 acres and it will be 48099 acres after expansion. Although zones are expanded, they will not remove the townships, villages, hotels, motels and restaurants,” he said.

“These are the instructions of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to us. She said to give first priority to the residents when submitting the application to UNESCO. The residents will have to worry less about now and we will give priority to them if buildings are constructed in new areas,” he said.

Currently, Bagan’s ancient cultural zone is specified as Ancient Zone, Monumental Zone and Protected Zone. Bagan Myo Thit (new Bagan) and Nyaung Oo townships will be put into the Protected Zone and hotels and restaurants in those areas will be open for the long term and new buildings will also be constructed, he added.

“Unesco’s recognition will boost the value of our country’s treasures. If the area is included in the Memory of the World register, it will create many opportunities for locals in the region. We are expediting the process for regional development. The locals will suffer if we are late in registration,” said Thura U Aung Ko.

Department of Archaeology and National Museum (Bagan branch) director U Aung Kyaw Kyaw said in order to get Bagan included in the Memory of the World register, two teams are currently working on a draft to be submitted. At present, 60 percent of the draft has been completed, and UNESCO will send a reply regarding any additional requirements for the application submitted by Myanmar in January 2018. The investigations by UNESCO will take one whole year, and the result will be released in 2019.

Previously, an application to include Baganwas sent back to 1996. However, the application was rejected, partly because of poor management and partly due to the fact that Bagan was not classified as a heritage zone at that time. Construction deemed also as unfit for a world heritage site was also part of the rejection by UNESCO.

Myanmar submitted in the past already 14 sites deemed to be fit for an inclusion in UNESCO World Heritage List.

Ancient Pyu kingdoms were the first in Myanmar to achieve world heritage status, when UNESCO recognised these as world heritage sites in 2014. Some of the requirements for recognition include whether the natives value the region in the application, whether the region is internationally well-known and what are the benefits of an inclusion for the present and future generations.

(Source: Myanmar Times)

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