UNESCO supports Thai government in recovery of Ayutthaya World Heritage site


BANGKOK, Dec 21 – The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) affirms its commitment to cooperate closely with the Thai government in restoring the Ayutthaya World Heritage site after the disastrous 2011 floods.

UNESCO is mobilising world-class expertise and facilitating international collaboration to support the Ministry of Culture’s Fine Arts Department in the recovery effort.

“UNESCO is concerned about the recovery of Ayutthaya both in the short-term and the long-term,” says Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of the UNESCO Bangkok office. “A multi-disciplinary effort will be needed to ensure that the historic site and its larger urban and natural context will be sustainably managed in the future.”

Experts mobilised by UNESCO are formulating recommendations for the restoration of the monuments and decorative features, especially murals, along with the overall conservation of Ayutthaya as a living urban landscape as well as comprehensive water management measures to mitigate future flooding impacts.

The international expertise is designed to complement advice from Thai specialists at the Asian Institute of Technology, the Association of Siamese Architects, the Department of Public Works and Town Planning, the Engineering Institute of Thailand, the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute and ICOMOS Thailand who have also been cooperating with UNESCO and the Fine Arts Department.

The entire historic island of Ayutthaya and its surrounding area was submerged for over a month starting in early October. A total of 157 historic monuments in and around the Ayutthaya World Heritage Site have been affected by the floods. Ayutthaya was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1991.