Convening Meetings of Topical Interest for Conservation Professionals

Recognizing that there are many domains of conservation practice in the Southeast Asia region—ranging from the conservation of cultural landscapes in rural areas to the protection of heritage places in rapidly developing urban settings—the GCI is collaborating with key partners to develop and operate a series of relatively short, stimulating meetings that focus on particular issues that pose challenges to conservation practitioners. The first of these meetings was a Directors' Retreat in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where educators from the Asia and the Pacific region were brought together to discuss how to confront the gaps between theory and practice in the context of conservation education. The second meeting will be a four-day forum in the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia. Other meetings, forums, or retreats will be organized according to specific needs and collaborative partners.

Siem Reap: Urban Development in the Shadow of Angkor

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The forum at Siem Reap was in response to the compelling need in Southeast Asia to confront more effectively the conservation challenges to cultural heritage posed by rampant urban development. Organized in collaboration with the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA), the Center for Khmer Studies (CKS), and the Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development (PRCUD), the forum was held October 26-29, 2008 in Siem Reap, a rapidly expanding city adjacent to the World Heritage Site of Angkor.

This event—entitled "Siem Reap: Urban Development in the Shadow of Angkor"—brought together approximately twenty-five international and twenty-five local experts to advise the governor of Siem Reap and other Cambodian officials. The forum addressed urgent urban development issues arising from the complex interplay between the intensifying urbanization of Siem Reap and the conservation of the Angkor regions cultural heritage. Participants in the forum made practical recommendations for moving from planning to implementation, so that the quality of conservation in the Angkor region can be improved.

The forum addressed specific implementation issues, such as:

  • How can the intrinsic values of this place be reflected in development and conservation efforts?
  • What kind(s) of regulatory environment and institutional structures are consistent with these aspirations?
  • How can tourism activity be shaped to support sustainable development and conservation of the Angkor region?
  • By what mechanisms can private sector and other investments be mobilized in support of these goals?
  • What are the required next steps to ensure effective implementation of the master plan?

Download the Final Report of the 2008 Annual Forum of the Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development. (PDF, 52pp, 2.7MB)

Last updated: March 2009