The rejection comes after UNESCO shared concerns about NagaCorp’s plans for an IR with theme parks and cultural attractions near Angkor Wat, an ancient temple complex in Cambodia.
In a recent statement, UNESCO said “the technical opinions of experts in the fields of conservation and sustainable development were clearly unfavourable” to Angkor Lake of Wonder (ALOW).
The Culture and Fine Arts Ministry has now said in a statement (via The Art Newspaper) that it “shares the views” of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor (ICC).
The culture ministry also said the proposed project “cannot be implemented in this context”, and its secretary of state, Sum Map, said: “There is nothing wrong with the project but its scale.”
“On the one side, it [Angkor Archaeological Park] is tranquil, and on another side, [the project] seems enormous and bustling,” he said. “They are running in contrast to each other.”
Angkor Lake of Wonder would include hotels, a water theme park, an indoor theme park, exhibition facilities, cultural attractions, and F&B.
Scaled-down version of Angkor Lake of Wonder
The $350 million development would be situated near the Angkor Archaeological Park. This was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.
Sum Map also suggested that a scaled-down version of the project may be considered. “Future proposed development activities from Naga or other public or private companies need to be in compliance with World Heritage standards,” he said.
Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO’s representative to Cambodia, told Voice of America Cambodia that “UNESCO highly appreciates that the Cambodian authorities remain fully committed to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention”.
He said UNESCO “will ensure that the protection of the outstanding universal value of Angkor remains at the heart of the decision-making processes relating to the property and its surroundings”.