Myan­mar to sub­mit dis­puted park­land for her­itage des­ig­na­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - MAUNG ZAW maungzaw@mm­times.com

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

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