Venue: Lao PDR
Date: July 2019- June 2020
- Department of Heritage, Lao PDR
- UNESCO Bangkok
Target Group/Beneficiaries: Officials of the Department of Heritage, Lao PDR
The technical assistance to develop a disaster risk management plan for the Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars has been initiated as a response to a request from the Department of Heritage, Lao PDR. The assistance will be delivered as a 5-day training workshop, which includes site observation, for Lao officials in charge of developing the plan and other relevant officials, aiming to provide guidance on the plan development. Online working and discussions between SEAMEO SPAFA and the Lao officials, related experts and UNESCO Bangkok will take place during a 3-4 month time frame, followed by a follow-up workshop lasting 2-3 days to finalize and/or enhance the plan.
Regarding the evaluation process of the Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars for the inscription on the World Heritage List in 2019, ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), one of the advisory bodies of the World Heritage Committee responsible for the evaluation of the proposed cultural heritage properties, recommended the Government of Lao PDR to submit a Disaster Risk Management Plan of the Megalithic Jar Sites in order to complete the proposed World Heritage property. As a result, in consultation with UNESCO Bangkok, the Department of Heritage, Lao PDR, has requested the kind assistance from SEAMEO SPAFA, as the regional competent body in this field, to help develop a Disaster Risk Management Plan of the Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars.
The Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars, Lao PDR, was proposed to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2018/2019. Regarding the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of World Natural and Cultural Heritage (1972), the properties proposed into the list has to demonstrate its Outstanding Universal Value, which includes efficient protection and management for the site. This is because the World Heritage Committee is aware of the impacts from both natural and human-induced disasters that have damaged several World Heritage Properties, such as the Borobudur Temple Compound in Indonesia, the Historic City of Ayutthaya in Thailand and Bagan in Myanmar. Therefore, the State Parties that propose their heritage sites into the list have been requested to establish disaster risk management as part of the management system of the proposed properties to ensure the well-prepared measures in the time of perils.
According to the World Heritage Committee’s Decision during the Meeting in Bagu 2019, the Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars was inscribed on the World Heritage List while the Government of Lao PDR was recommended to develop and implement strategies for disaster reduction, including capacity building activities, and submit a report on this action by 1 December 2021. In this light SEAMEO SPAFA will provide its expertise to help develop disaster risk management in collaboration with the officials of the Department of Heritage, Lao PDR, through capacity building activities and follow-up assignments.
1. Collaborate with the officials of Lao PDR to develop a disaster risk management plan for the Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars, Lao PDR
2. Promote disaster risk management as part of cultural heritage conservation and management
3. Provide the fundamental principles in cultural heritage conservation and disaster risk management for cultural heritage
In collaboration with ICCROM and R-DMUCH under a MoU focusing on a disaster risk management-related programme, a 4-6 month time frame to develop a disaster risk management plan is planned. However, the may vary depending on various factors such as the fundamental information of the area to be covered and natural and human-induced disasters affecting the area. Working method should be as follows:
a) Fieldwork with Laos’ officials. A 5-day site survey and training workshop will be conducted to guide the officials on the making of the plan.
b) Distant collaboration and assignment. The officials will be assigned to develop the plan following guidelines to be provided.
c) Follow-up workshop. A 3-day concluding workshop will be held to look at the result of the assignment and perhaps help enhancing the plan.
2. Disaster Risk Management Plan of the Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars, Lao PDR
1. The Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang – Plain of Jars, Lao PDR, will be secured from negative impact of natural and human-induced disasters.
2. The capacity of Laotian officials to cope with natural and human-induced disasters will be increased.
Disaster Risk Management Plans will be established for other important heritage sites in Lao PDR, such as the country’s two other World Cultural Heritage Properties: Town of Luang Prabang and Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape.
Disaster risk management should be integrated into a larger management plan or management system in order to ensure that this concern will be taken into consideration along with other conservation and management measures of the site. It should also be included in the organizing structure of the site management to ensure that financial and human resources as well as regular capacity building activities for staff will be allocated to protect the site from natural and human-induced disasters.