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World Heritage in Danger

Nowadays, everyone knows the famous UNESCO World Heritage List. Ayutthaya, Angkor, Machu Picchu, the Grand Canyon, Rome, the Pyramids, the Kilimanjaro, and the Great Barrier Reef, to name only a few of these cultural and natural wonders, all have in common the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ label.

But do we realize that, besides such a prestigious collection of sites, there is another, less popular UNESCO list: the “List of World Heritage in Danger”: 56 cultural and natural sites threatened by serious and specific dangers such as natural disasters, armed conflict, uncontrolled urban development, etc.? And does anyone remember that Angkor, a world-famous tourist destination, was once on that “endangered list”?

How did any of these 56 sites end up in the In Danger List, and why? Who decides about their fate? What are the political and operational consequences of such a qualification? Can these sites ultimately leave the endangered list and return to the main one? Or … can some of them be excluded from both lists when the serious dangers have been stronger than the conservation efforts? These are a few issues that we will explore during the presentation given by Mr. Etienne Clément. He will explain the mechanisms of inscription, transfer and exclusion of these lists as detailed in the UNESCO 1972 World Heritage Convention and will develop a few cases, based on his 30 years of experience at UNESCO.

About the speaker

Etienne Clément is a Belgian international lawyer. As a UNESCO staff member from 1984 to 2015, he contributed to the development of international conventions for the protection of cultural heritage (armed conflict, illicit traffic, underwater and World heritage). He was also Representative to Cambodia, Deputy Director for field coordination, Deputy Director Regional Bureau (Bangkok) and Director for Pacific States (Apia). He has been teaching in Science Po Lille (France) for 13 years. Aj. Etienne, a member of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), is based in Thailand where he actively promotes cultural heritage through advisory services to governments, lectures and publications.


Thursday, 30 May 2024 at 19:00


Lecture Room, 4/Floor, The Siam Society


Members and Students (to undergraduate level) — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 300

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To book your place, please contact Khun Pinthip at 02 661 6470-3 ext 203 or

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