Myanmar to submit disputed parkland for heritage designation
MYANMAR officials plan to submit land being claimed by Thailand for consideration as its own UNESCO World Heritage Site, U Than Zaw Oo, director of the Myanmar branch of the World Heritage Site committee, said yesterday.
Thailand has been trying to get one of its national parks, the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex, designated as a prestigious World Heritage Site but Myanmar officials have objected, claiming that one-third of the land in the map submitted by Thailand, including the Lay Nyar Forest Reserve along the Tanintharyi Region coastal strip, is in Myanmar.
Myanmar officials will in turn submit a map of Lay Nyar Forest Reserve for consideration as a World Heritage Site, U Than Zaw Oo said. They are also asking for the border area to be fenced off, officials said.
Representatives from Myanmar and Thailand discussed the concerns with the Thai map at the World Heritage Committee convention in Turkey but, after a failed coup attempt cut the conversation short, they plan to reconvene at a Paris convention in October.
“Both countries discussed the case at the convention,” U Than Zaw Oo said. “All 21 members of the World Heritage Committee also discussed it. But we did not have enough time to come to a conclusion. Moreover, the political condition of the country hosting the convention was not good, so we had to postpone the discussion.”
The convention, which was scheduled for July 10 to 20 in Istanbul, was cut three days short thanks to the failed coup attempt on July 15. The Department of Forestry next session will be held in Paris in October, where the issue will likely be raised again, U Than Zaw Oo said.
“Thailand understands our concern,” he said. “We do not object to their national park. We’ve just submitted a request to reconsider the area of the park.”
The existing border demarcation between Myanmar and Thailand was drawn in 1868, and it should be reevaluated, he added.
“This dispute is because of the lack of a clear border fence between the countries,” said U Kyaw Zaw, director of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. “So we submitted a request for Thailand to reconsider the area and also submitted a request for the appropriate Myanmar department to fence the border area.”
– Translation by Thiri Min Htun
‘This dispute is because of the lack of a clear border fence between the countries.’
U Kyaw Zaw