List of World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia
The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has designated 38 World Heritage Sites in eleven countries (also called "State parties") of Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore, and Laos. Only Brunei and East Timor lack World Heritage sites.
Indonesia and Vietnam lead the list with eight inscribed sites each, with the Philippines having six, Thailand five, Malaysia four, Cambodia three, Laos two, and Myanmar and Singapore one each. The first sites from the region were inscribed at the 15th session of the World Heritage Committee in 1991, the latest site inscribed is the Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura in Cambodia inscribed in the 41st session of the Committee in Krakow, Poland in July 2017. Each year, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee may inscribe new sites or delist those no longer meeting the criteria, the selection based on ten criteria of which six stand for cultural heritage (i–vi) and four for natural heritage (vii–x); some sites are "mixed" and represent both types of heritage. In Southeast Asia, there are 24 cultural, 13 natural and 1 mixed sites.
The World Heritage Committee may also specify that a site is endangered, citing "conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List." One site in this region, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, is listed as endangered; Angkor and Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras were once listed but were taken off in 2004 and 2012 respectively.
By comparison with other world regions such as East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Central America, and Western Europe, the designation of UNESCO sites in the Southeast Asian region has been regarded as 'too few and too slow' since the inception of the 21st century. Scholars from various Southeast Asian nations have suggested for the establishment of an inclusive Southeast Asian body that will cater to the gaps of the region's activities in UNESCO as the majority of nations in the region are underperforming in the majority of the lists adopted by UNESCO, notably the World Heritage List. More than 20 sites have been in the tentative list for more than 20 years.
Currently, 4 Southeast Asian countries are serving as members of the UNESCO Executive Board. Vietnam and Malaysia's terms shall expire in 2019, while the Philippines and Indonesia's terms shall expire in 2021. The Philippines, under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte, has expressed a possible UNESCO Director-General bid in 2021 or 2025. The country has cited its possible candidate to be Senator Loren Legarda, a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change National Adaptation Plan Champion, United Nations Global Champion for Resilience, Dangal ng Haraya Patron of Arts and Culture, Chevalier/Cavaliere to France and Italy, and an Honorary Royalty to the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao, Panay, and the Cordilleras. She has also been cited by the United States as one of the most powerful woman in the Philippines, having support from Asian, Oceanic, and Latin American peers, the ASEAN bloc supports the possible candidature of the Philippines.[better source needed][better source needed]
- 1 Legend
- 2 World Heritage Sites
- 3 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Register of Southeast Asia
- 4 Southeast Asia Memories of the World Register
- 5 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves of Southeast Asia
- 6 UNESCO Executive Board
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
The table is sortable by column by clicking on the at the top of the appropriate column; alphanumerically for the Site, Area, and Year columns; by state party for the Location column; and by criteria type for the Criteria column. Transborder sites sort at the bottom.
- Site; named after the World Heritage Committee's official designation
- Location; at city, regional, or provincial level and geocoordinates
- Criteria; as defined by the World Heritage Committee
- Area; in hectares and acres. If available, the size of the buffer zone has been noted as well. A value of zero implies that no data has been published by UNESCO
- Year; during which the site was inscribed to the World Heritage List
- Description; brief information about the site, including reasons for qualifying as an endangered site, if applicable.
World Heritage Sites
|Angkor||Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
(i), (ii), (iii), (iv)
|40,000 (99,000)||1992||Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century, they include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings, the site was listed as endangered from its inscription in times of political instability following the civil war in the 1980s to 2004.||
|Ban Chiang Archaeological Site||Udon Thani Province, Thailand
|64 (160)||1992||Ban Chiang is considered the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in South-East Asia. It marks an important stage in human cultural, social and technological evolution, the site presents the earliest evidence of farming in the region and of the manufacture and use of metals.|||
|Baroque Churches of the Philippines||Manila; Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur; Paoay, Ilocos Norte and Miag-ao, Iloilo; Philippines
|1993||These four churches, the first of which was built by the Spanish in the late 16th century, are located in Manila, Santa Maria, Paoay and Miag-ao. Their unique architectural style is a reinterpretation of European Baroque by Chinese and Philippine craftsmen.|||
|Borobudur Temple Compounds||Magelang Regency, Central Java Indonesia
(i), (ii), (vi)
|1991||This famous Buddhist temple, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, is located in central Java. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa, the walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,500 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha, the monument was restored with UNESCO's help in the 1970s. Listing includes associated nearby Pawon and Mendut temples.|||
|Complex of Hué Monuments||Thừa Thiên–Huế Province, Vietnam
|1993||Established as the capital of unified Viet Nam in 1802, Hué was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. The Perfume River winds its way through the Capital City, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and the Inner City, giving this unique feudal capital a setting of great natural beauty.|||
|Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex||Saraburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Prachinburi, Sa Kaeo and Buriram Provinces Thailand
|615,500 (1,521,000)||2005||The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex spans 230 km between Ta Phraya National Park on the Cambodian border in the east, and Khao Yai National Park in the west. The site is home to more than 800 species of fauna, including 112 mammal species (among them two species of gibbon), 392 bird species and 200 reptile and amphibian species, it is internationally important for the conservation of globally threatened and endangered mammal, bird and reptile species, among them 19 that are vulnerable, four that are endangered, and one that is critically endangered. The area contains substantial and important tropical forest ecosystems, which can provide a viable habitat for the long-term survival of these species.|||
|Gunung Mulu National Park||northern Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia
(vii), (viii), (ix), (x)
|52,864 (130,630)||2000||Important both for its high biodiversity and for its karst features, Gunung Mulu National Park, on the island of Borneo in the State of Sarawak, is the most studied tropical karst area in the world. The 52,864-ha park contains seventeen vegetation zones, exhibiting some 3,500 species of vascular plants, its palm species are exceptionally rich, with 109 species in twenty genera noted. The park is dominated by Gunung Mulu, a 2,377 m-high sandstone pinnacle, at least 295 km of explored caves provide a spectacular sight and are home to millions of cave swiftlets and bats. The Sarawak Chamber, 600 m by 415 m and 80 m high, is the largest known cave chamber in the world.|||
|Hạ Long Bay||Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam
|150,000 (370,000)||1994[nb 1]||Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence, the site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest. It has also been designated as one of the New7Wonders of Nature.|||
|Historic City of Ayutthaya||Ayutthaya province, Thailand
|289 (710)||1991||Founded c. 1350, Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century, its remains, characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of its past splendour.|||
|Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns||Sukhothai and Kamphaeng Phet Provinces, Thailand
|11,852 (29,290)||1991||Sukhothai was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries. It has a number of fine monuments, illustrating the beginnings of Thai architecture, the great civilization which evolved in the Kingdom of Sukhothai absorbed numerous influences and ancient local traditions; the rapid assimilation of all these elements forged what is known as the 'Sukhothai style'.|||
|Historic Town of Vigan||Ilocos Sur, Philippines
|1999||Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia, it has also been designated as one of the New7Wonders Cities.|||
|Hội An Ancient Town||Hội An, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam
|30 (74); buffer zone 280 (690)||1999||Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.|||
|Kinabalu Park||Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
|75,370 (186,200)||2000||Kinabalu Park, in the State of Sabah on the northern end of the island of Borneo, is dominated by Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m), the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. It has a very wide range of habitats, from rich tropical lowland and hill rainforest to tropical mountain forest, sub-alpine forest and scrub on the higher elevations, it has been designated as a Centre of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia and is exceptionally rich in species with examples of flora from the Himalayas, China, Australia, Malaysia, as well as pan-tropical flora.|||
|Komodo National Park||East Nusa Tenggara Indonesia
|219,322 (541,960)||1991||These volcanic islands are inhabited by a population of around 5,700 giant lizards, whose appearance and aggressive behaviour have led to them being called 'Komodo dragons'. They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution, the rugged hillsides of dry savannah and pockets of thorny green vegetation contrast starkly with the brilliant white sandy beaches and the blue waters surging over coral. It has also been designated as one of the New7Wonders of Nature.|||
|Lorentz National Park||Papua Indonesia
(vii), (ix), (x)
|2,350,000 (5,800,000)||1999||Lorentz National Park (2.35 million ha) is the largest protected area in South-East Asia. It is the only protected area in the world to incorporate a continuous, intact transect from snowcap to tropical marine environment, including extensive lowland wetlands. Located at the meeting-point of two colliding continental plates, the area has a complex geology with ongoing mountain formation as well as major sculpting by glaciation, the area also contains fossil sites which provide evidence of the evolution of life on New Guinea, a high level of endemism and the highest level of biodiversity in the region.|||
|Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca||Malacca and Penang, Malay Peninsula, Malaysia
(ii), (iii), (iv)
|148 (370); buffer zone 284 (700)||2008||Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible, with its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century, the two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.|||
|Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary||Davao Oriental, Philippines
|2014||Forming a mountain ridge running north–south along the Pujada Peninsula in the south-eastern part of the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary has an elevation range of 75–1,637 m above sea level and provides critical habitat for a range of plant and animal species. The property showcases terrestrial and aquatic habitats at different elevations, and includes threatened and endemic flora and fauna species, eight of which are found only at Mount Hamiguitan, these include critically endangered trees, plants and the iconic Philippine eagle and Philippine cockatoo.|||
|Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary||Duy Phú, Duy Xuyên District, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam
|142 (350); buffer zone 920 (2,300)||1999||Between the 4th and 13th centuries a unique culture which owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism developed on the coast of contemporary Viet Nam. This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower-temples located in a dramatic site that was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom for most of its existence.|||
|Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park||Bố Trạch and Minh Hóa districts, Quảng Bình Province, Vietnam
|123,326 (304,750)||2003||The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003, covered 85,754 hectares. With this extension, the site covers a total surface area of 126,236 hectares (a 46% increase) and shares a boundary with the Hin Namno Nature Reserve in the Peoples Democratic Republic of Laos, the Park’s landscape is formed by limestone plateaux and tropical forests. It features great geological diversity and offers spectacular phenomena, including a large number of caves and underground rivers, the site harbours a high level of biodiversity and many endemic species. The extension ensures a more coherent ecosystem while providing additional protection to the catchment areas that are of vital importance for the integrity of limestone landscapes.|||
|Prambanan Temple Compounds||Central Java and Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
|1991||Built in the 10th century, this is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. Rising above the centre of the last of these concentric squares are three temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) and three temples dedicated to the animals who serve them.|||
|Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park||Palawan, Philippines
|5,753 (14,220)||1999||This park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with an underground river. One of the river's distinguishing features is that it emerges directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences, the area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full 'mountain-to-sea' ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia, it has also been designated as one of the New7Wonders of Nature.|||
|Pyu Ancient Cities||Mandalay, Magway, Bago, Myanmar
(ii), (iii), (iv)
|2014||Pyu Ancient Cities includes the remains of three brick, walled and moated cities of Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra located in vast irrigated landscapes in the dry zone of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River basin. They reflect the Pyu Kingdoms that flourished for over 1,000 years between 200 BC and AD 900, the three cities are partly excavated archaeological sites. Remains include excavated palace citadels, burial grounds and manufacture sites, as well as monumental brick Buddhist stupas, partly standing walls and water management features – some still in use – that underpinned the organized intensive agriculture.|||
|Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras||Ifugao, Cordillera Region, Philippines
(iii), (iv), (v)
|1995||For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountains. The fruit of knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, and the expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they have helped to create a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment, this site was removed from the "endangered" list in 2012 due to the success of the government's conservation efforts.|||
|Sangiran Early Man Site||Central Java Indonesia
|5,600 (14,000)||1996||Excavations here from 1936 to 1941 led to the discovery of the first hominid fossil at this site. Later, 50 fossils of Meganthropus palaeo and Pithecanthropus erectus/Homo erectus were found – half of all the world's known hominid fossils. Inhabited for the past one and a half million years, Sangiran is one of the key sites for the understanding of human evolution.|||
|Singapore Botanic Gardens||Singapore Singapore
|49 (120)||2015||Situated at the heart of the city of Singapore, the site demonstrates the evolution of a British tropical colonial botanic garden that has become a modern world-class scientific institution used for both conservation and education. The cultural landscape includes a rich variety of historic features, plantings and buildings that demonstrate the development of the garden since its creation in 1859, it has been an important centre for science, research and plant conservation, notably in connection with the cultivation of rubber plantations, in Southeast Asia since 1875.|||
|Temple of Preah Vihear||Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia
|155 (380); buffer zone 2,643 (6,530)||2008||Situated on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia, the Temple of Preah Vihear is dedicated to Shiva. The Temple is composed of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an 800 metre long axis and dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, its complex history can be traced to the 9th century, when the hermitage was founded, this site is particularly well preserved, mainly due to its remote location. The site is exceptional for the quality of its architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple, as well as for the exceptional quality of its carved stone ornamentation.|||
|Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries||Kanchanaburi, Tak and Uthai Thani Provinces Thailand
(vii), (ix), (x)
|622,200 (1,537,000)||1991||Stretching over more than 600,000 ha along the Myanmar border, the sanctuaries, which are relatively intact, contain examples of almost all the forest types of continental South-East Asia. They are home to a very diverse array of animals, including 77% of the large mammals (especially elephants and tigers), 50% of the large birds and 33% of the land vertebrates to be found in this region.|||
|Town of Luang Prabang||Luang Prabang Province, Laos
(ii), (iv), (v)
|1995||Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions.|||
|Tràng An Landscape Complex||Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam
(v), (vii), (viii)
|2014||Situated near the southern margin of the Red River Delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, many of them partly submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. Exploration of caves at different altitudes has revealed archaeological traces of human activity over a continuous period of more than 30,000 years, they illustrate the occupation of these mountains by seasonal hunter-gatherers and how they adapted to major climatic and environmental changes, especially the repeated inundation of the landscape by the sea after the last ice age. The story of human occupation continues through the Neolithic and Bronze Ages to the historical era. Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Viet Nam, was strategically established here in the 10th and 11th centuries AD, the property also contains temples, pagodas, paddy-fields and small villages.|||
|Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra†||Sumatra, Indonesia
(vii), (ix), (x)
|2,595,124 (6,412,690)||2004||The 2.5 million hectare Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra site comprises three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. The site holds the greatest potential for long-term conservation of the distinctive and diverse biota of Sumatra, including many endangered species, the protected area is home to an estimated 10,000 plant species, including 17 endemic genera; more than 200 mammal species; and some 580 bird species of which 465 are resident and 21 are endemic. Of the mammal species, 22 are Asian, not found elsewhere in the archipelago and 15 are confined to the Indonesian region, including the endemic Sumatran orang-utan, the site also provides biogeographic evidence of the evolution of the island. The site has been listed as endangered since 2011 due to poaching, illegal logging, agricultural encroachment, and plans to build roads.|||
|Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park||Cagayancillo, Palawan, Philippines
(vii), (ix), (x)
|130,028 (321,310)||1993[nb 2]||The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 130,028 ha, including the North and South Reefs. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100-m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands.|||
|Ujung Kulon National Park||Banten and Lampung, Indonesia
|78,525 (194,040)||1991||This national park, located in the extreme south-western tip of Java on the Sunda shelf, includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa. In addition to its natural beauty and geological interest – particularly for the study of inland volcanoes – it contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforests in the Java plain. Several species of endangered plants and animals can be found there, the Javan rhinoceros being the most seriously under threat.|||
|Vat Phou and Associated Ancient Settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape||Champasak Province, Laos
(iii), (iv), (vi)
|39,000 (96,000)||2001||The Champasak cultural landscape, including the Vat Phou Temple complex, is a remarkably well preserved planned landscape more than 1,000 years old. It was shaped to express the Hindu vision of the relationship between nature and humanity, using an axis from mountain top to river bank to lay out a geometric pattern of temples, shrines and waterworks extending over some 10 km. Two planned cities on the banks of the Mekong River are also part of the site, as well as Phou Kao mountain, the whole represents a development ranging from the 5th to 15th centuries, mainly associated with the Khmer Empire.|||
|Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi||Hanoi, Vietnam
(ii), (iii), (vi)
|18 (44); buffer zone 108 (270)||2010||The Thang Long Imperial Citadel was built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet. It was constructed on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi, it was the centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption. The Imperial Citadel buildings and the remains in the 18 Hoang Dieu Archaeological Site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley, at the crossroads between influences coming from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south.|||
|Citadel of the Hồ Dynasty||Tây Giai, Vĩnh Lộc District, Thanh Hóa Province, Vietnam
|156 (390); buffer zone 5,079 (12,550)||2011||The 14th -century Ho Dynasty citadel, built according to the feng shui principles, testifies to the flowering of neo-Confucianism in late 14th century Viet Nam and its spread to other parts of east Asia. According to these principles it was sited in a landscape of great scenic beauty on an axis joining the Tuong Son and Don Son mountains in a plain between the Ma and Buoi rivers, the citadel buildings represent an outstanding example of a new style of south-east Asian imperial city.|||
|Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley||Perak, Malaysia
|399 (990)||2012||Situated in the lush Lenggong Valley, the property includes four archaeological sites in two clusters which span close to 2 million years, one of the longest records of early man in a single locality, and the oldest outside the African continent. It features open-air and cave sites with Palaeolithic tool workshops, evidence of early technology, the number of sites found in the relatively contained area suggests the presence of a fairly large, semi-sedentary population with cultural remains from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Metal ages.|||
|Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy||Bali Indonesia
(ii), (iii), (v), (vi)
|19,520 (48,200)||2012||The cultural landscape of Bali consists of five rice terraces and their water temples that cover 19,500 ha. The temples are the focus of a cooperative water management system of canals and weirs, known as subak, that dates back to the 9th century. Included in the landscape is the 18th-century Royal Water Temple of Pura Taman Ayun, the largest and most impressive architectural edifice of its type on the island, the subak reflects the philosophical concept of Tri Hita Karana, which brings together the realms of the spirit, the human world and nature. This philosophy was born of the cultural exchange between Bali and India over the past 2,000 years and has shaped the landscape of Bali, the subak system of democratic and egalitarian farming practices has enabled the Balinese to become the most prolific rice growers in the archipelago despite the challenge of supporting a dense population.|||
|Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura||Kompung Thom Province, Cambodia
(ii), (iii), (vi)
|39,000 (96,000)||2017||The archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk, “the temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, has been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late 6th and early 7th centuries CE. The vestiges of the city cover an area of 25 square kilometres and include a walled city centre as well as numerous temples, ten of which are octagonal, unique specimens of their genre in southeast Asia. Decorated sandstone elements in the site are characteristic of the pre-Angkor decorative idiom, known as the Sambor Prei Kuk Style, some of these elements, including lintels, pediments and colonnades, are true masterpieces. The art and architecture developed here became models for other parts of the region and lay the ground for the unique Khmer style of the Angkor period.|||
Location of sites
Southeast Asia has the least number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia, next to Central and North Asia, despite being the base of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific headquarters located in Bangkok, Thailand and having a diverse line of natural and cultural heritage sites. Due to this, numerous scholars have been calling on Southeast Asian governments to participate and nominate more sites in UNESCO annually.
Various institutions have also criticized UNESCO for its 'Europe-centric' designations. An example of which was when UNESCO declared 10 UNESCO sites in Italy (a European country) in just a single year (1997), during the same time, 8 sites were declared for the entire Asian continent, where no designated site was located in Southeast Asia at all.
Green - Natural; Yellow - Cultural; Blue - Mixed; Red - In danger
Performance of Southeast Asia in UNESCO
The performance of Southeast Asia is contrasted by the performance of South and East Asia. Southeast Asian countries are noted with 'SEA'.
UNESCO Tentative List of Southeast Asia
Brunei, Singapore and Timor-Leste currently have no tentative list sites. Both Brunei and Timor-Leste are presently undergoing comprehensive research for tentative site submissions. Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam revised their tentative lists in 2017. Laos, Philippines and Myanmar revised their tentative lists in 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively. Cambodia last revised its tentative list in 1992, the following lists also include the current nomination process being focused on by each country.
- Cambodia: Currently in process of nominating Koh Ker since 1992.
- Indonesia: Currently in process of nominating Toraja and Bawomataluo since 2009.
- Betung Kerihun National Park (Transborder Rainforest Heritage of Borneo) (2004)
- Bunaken National Park (2005)
- Raja Ampat Islands (2005)
- Taka Bone Rate National Park (2005)
- Wakatobi National Park (2005)
- Derawan Islands (2005)
- Tana Toraja Traditional Settlement (2009)
- Bawomataluo Site (2009)
- Muara Takus Compound Site (2009)
- Muarajambi Temple Compound (2009)
- Trowulan - Former Capital City of Majapahit Kingdom (2009)
- Prehistoric Cave Sites in Maros-Pangkep (2009)
- Sangkulirang – Mangkalihat Karts: Prehistoric rock art area (2015)
- Old Town of Jakarta (Formerly old Batavia) and 4 outlying islands (Onrust, Kelor, Cipir dan Bidadari) (2015)
- Semarang Old Town (2015)
- Sawahlunto Old Coal Mining Town (2015)
- Traditional Settlement at Nagari Sijunjung (2015)
- The Historic and Marine Landscape of the Banda Islands (2015)
- Historical City Centre of Yogyakarta (2017)
- Laos: Currently in process of nomination Plain of Jars and Vientiane in the world heritage list since 1992.
- Malaysia: Currently in process of nominating Taman Negara to the world heritage list since 2014.
- National Park (Taman Negara) of Peninsular Malaysia (2014)
- FRIM Selangor Forest Park (2017)
- Gombak Selangor Quartz Ridge (2017)
- Royal Belum State Park (2017)
- Myanmar: Currently in process of nominating Bagan, Mrauk U, and Shwedagon to the world heritage list since 1996.
- Bagan Archaeological Area and Monuments (1996)
- Wooden Monasteries of Konbaung Period: Ohn Don, Sala, Pakhangyi, Pakhannge, Legaing, Sagu, Shwe-Kyaung (Mandalay) (1996)
- Badah-lin caves (1996)
- Ancient cities of Upper Myanmar: Innwa, Amarapura, Sagaing, Mingun, Mandalay (1996)
- Myauk-U Archaeological Area and Monuments (1996)
- Inle Lake (1996)
- Mon cities: Bago, Hanthawaddy (1996)
- Ayeyawady River Corridor (2014)
- Northern Mountain Forest Complex (2014)
- Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary (2014)
- Natma Taung National Park (2014)
- Myeik Archipelago (2014)
- Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (2014)
- Taninthayi Forest Corridor (2014)
- Philippines: Currently in process of nominating Mayon Volcano and Batanes in the world heritage list since 1993.
- Batanes Protected landscapes and seascapes (1993)
- The Tabon Cave Complex and all of Lipuun (2006)
- Paleolithic Archaeological Sites in Cagayan Valley (2006)
- Kabayan Mummy Burial Caves (2006)
- Butuan Archeological Sites (2006)
- Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension)(2006)
- Petroglyphs and Petrographs of the Philippines (2006)
- Neolithic Shell Midden Sites in Lal-lo and Gattaran Municipalities (2006)
- Chocolate Hills Natural Monument (2006)
- Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park (2006)
- Mt. Pulag National Park (2006)
- Apo Reef Natural Park (2006)
- El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (2006)
- Coron Island Natural Biotic Area (2006)
- Mt. Iglit-Baco National Park (2006)
- Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park and outlying areas inclusive of the buffer zone (2006)
- Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (2015)
- Mayon Volcano Natural Park (MMVNP) (2015)
- Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary (2015)
- Thailand: Currently in process of nomination Phimai in the world heritage list since 2004.
- Phimai, its Cultural Route and the Associated Temples of Phanomroong and Muangtam (2004)
- Phuphrabat Historical Park (2004)(Nominated for 2016)
- Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (KKFC) (2011)(Nominated for 2016)
- Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, Nakhon Si Thammarat (2012)
- Monuments, Sites and Cultural Landscape of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna (2015)
- Phra That Phanom, its related historic buildings and associated landscape (2017)
- Viet Nam: Currently in process of nominating Sapa in the world heritage list since 1997.
- The Area of Old Carved Stone in Sapa (1997)
- Huong Son Complex of Natural Beauty and Historical Monuments (1991)
- Cat Tien National Park (2006)
- Con Moong Cave (2006)
- The Complex of Yen Tu Monuments and Landscape (2014)
- Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba Archipelago (2017)
- Ba Be - Na Hang Natural Heritage Area (2017)
UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Register of Southeast Asia
The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Southeast Asia is represented by Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Brunei, and East Timor have either not yet submitted an intangible heritage to UNESCO or they have yet to ratify and participate in the Intangible Cultural Registrar of UNESCO. Southeast Asia has two endangered intangible cultural heritage, Ca trung singing of Vietnam and Noken multifunctional knotted or woven bag, handcraft of the people of Papua of Indonesia. The latest inscription for Southeast Asia is Tugging rituals and games in 2015, which is composed of submissions by Cambodia, the Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam.
|Member state||Element[A]||Year Proclaimed[B]||Year Inscribed[C]||Description[D]||Reference|
|Cambodia||The Royal Ballet of Cambodia||2003||2008||Renowned for its graceful hand gestures and stunning costumes, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, also known as Khmer Classical Dance, has been closely associated with the Khmer court for over one thousand years. Performances would traditionally accompany royal ceremonies and observances such as coronations, marriages, funerals or Khmer holidays, this art form, which narrowly escaped annihilation in the 1970s, is cherished by many Cambodians.|||
|Sbek Thom, Khmer Shadow Theatre||2005||2008||The Sbek Thom is a Khmer shadow theatre featuring twometre high, non-articulated puppets made of leather openwork. Dating from before the Angkorian period, the Sbek Thom, along with the Royal Ballet and mask theatre, is considered sacred. Dedicated to the divinities, performances could only take place on specific occasions three or four times a year, such as the Khmer New Year, the King’s birthday or the veneration of famous people, after the fall of Angkor in the fifteenth century, the shadow theatre evolved beyond a ritualistic activity to become an artistic form, while retaining its ceremonial dimension.|||
|Indonesia||Wayang Puppet Theatre||2003||2008||Renowned for its elaborate puppets and complex musical styles, this ancient form of storytelling originated on the Indonesian island of Java. For ten centuries wayang flourished at the royal courts of Java and Bali as well as in rural areas. Wayang has spread to other islands (Lombok, Madura, Sumatra and Borneo) where various local performance styles and musical accompaniments have developed.|||
|Indonesian Kris||2005||2008||The kris or keris is a distinctive, asymmetrical dagger from Indonesia. Both weapon and spiritual object, the kris is considered to possess magical powers, the earliest known kris go back to the tenth century and most probably spread from the island of Java throughout South-East Asia.|||
|Indonesian Batik||2009||2009||The techniques, symbolism and culture surrounding hand-dyed cotton and silk garments known as Indonesian Batik permeate the lives of Indonesians from beginning to end: infants are carried in batik slings decorated with symbols designed to bring the child luck, and the dead are shrouded in funerary batik. Clothes with everyday designs are worn regularly in business and academic settings, while special varieties are incorporated into celebrations of marriage and pregnancy and into puppet theatre and other art forms, the garments even play the central role in certain rituals, such as the ceremonial casting of royal batik into a volcano. Batik is dyed by proud craftspeople who draw designs on fabric using dots and lines of hot wax, which resists vegetable and other dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water and repeating if multiple colours are desired, the wide diversity of patterns reflects a variety of influences, ranging from Arabic calligraphy, European bouquets and Chinese phoenixes to Japanese cherry blossoms and Indian or Persian peacocks. Often handed down within families for generations, the craft of batik is intertwined with the cultural identity of the Indonesian people and, through the symbolic meanings of its colours and designs, expresses their creativity and spirituality.|||
|Indonesian Angklung||2010||2010||Angklung is an Indonesian musical instrument consisting of two to four bamboo tubes suspended in a bamboo frame, bound with rattan cords. The tubes are carefully whittled and cut by a master craftsperson to produce certain notes when the bamboo frame is shaken or tapped, each Angklung produces a single note or chord, so several players must collaborate in order to play melodies. Traditional Angklungs use the pentatonic scale, but in 1938 musician Daeng Soetigna introduced Angklungs using the diatonic scale; these are known as angklung padaeng. The Angklung is closely related to traditional customs, arts and cultural identity in Indonesia, played during ceremonies such as rice planting, harvest and circumcision, the special black bamboo for the Angklung is harvested during the two weeks a year when the cicadas sing, and is cut at least three segments above the ground, to ensure the root continues to propagate. Angklung education is transmitted orally from generation to generation, and increasingly in educational institutions, because of the collaborative nature of Angklung music, playing promotes cooperation and mutual respect among the players, along with discipline, responsibility, concentration, development of imagination and memory, as well as artistic and musical feelings.|||
|Saman dance||2011||The Saman dance is part of the cultural heritage of the Gayo people of Aceh province in Sumatra. Boys and young men perform the Saman sitting on their heels or kneeling in tight rows, each wears a black costume embroidered with colourful Gayo motifs symbolizing nature and noble values. The leader sits in the middle of the row and leads the singing of verses, mostly in the Gayo language, these offer guidance and can be religious, romantic or humorous in tone. Dancers clap their hands, slap their chests, thighs and the ground, click their fingers, and sway and twist their bodies and heads in time with the shifting rhythm – in unison or alternating with the moves of opposing dancers, these movements symbolize the daily lives of the Gayo people and their natural environment. The Saman is performed to celebrate national and religious holidays, cementing relationships between village groups who invite each other for performances, the frequency of Saman performances and its transmission are decreasing, however. Many leaders with knowledge of the Saman are now elderly and without successors. Other forms of entertainment and new games are replacing informal transmission, and many young people now emigrate to further their education. Lack of funds is also a constraint, as Saman costumes and performances involve considerable expense.|||
|Noken multifunctional knotted or woven bag, handcraft of the people of Papua||2012||Noken is a knotted net or woven bag handmade from wood fibre or leaves by communities in Papua and West Papua Provinces of Indonesia. Men and women use it for carrying plantation produce, catch from the sea or lake, firewood, babies or small animals as well as for shopping and for storing things in the home. Noken may also be worn, often for traditional festivities, or given as peace offerings, the method of making Noken varies between communities, but in general, branches, stems or bark of certain small trees or shrubs are cut, heated over a fire and soaked in water. The remaining wood fibre is dried then spun to make a strong thread or string, which is sometimes coloured using natural dyes, this string is knotted by hand to make net bags of various patterns and sizes. The process requires great manual skill, care and artistic sense, and takes several months to master, the number of people making and using Noken is diminishing, however. Factors threatening its survival include lack of awareness, weakening of traditional transmission, decreasing numbers of craftspeople, competition from factory-made bags, problems in easily and quickly obtaining traditional raw materials, and shifts in the cultural values of Noken.|||
|Malaysia||Mak Yong Theatre||2005||2008||This ancient theatre form created by Malaysia’s Malay communities combines acting, vocal and instrumental music, gestures and elaborate costumes. Specific to the villages of Kelantan in northwest Malaysia, where the tradition originated, Mak Yong is performed mainly as entertainment or for ritual purposes related to healing practices.|||
|Philippines||The Hudhud Chants of the Ifugao||2001||2008||The Hudhud consists of narrative chants traditionally performed by the Ifugao community, which is well known for its rice terraces extending over the highlands of the northern island of the Philippine archipelago. It is practised during the rice sowing season, at harvest time and at funeral wakes and rituals. Thought to have originated before the seventh century, the Hudhud comprises more than 200 chants, each divided into 40 episodes. A complete recitation may last several days.|||
|The Darangen Epic of the Maranao People of Lake Lanao||2005||2008||The Darangen is an ancient epic song that encompasses a wealth of knowledge of the Maranao people who live in the Lake Lanao region of Mindanao. This southernmost island of the Philippine archipelago is the traditional homeland of the Maranao, one of the country’s three main Muslim groups. Comprising 17 cycles and a total of 72,000 lines, the Darangen celebrates episodes from Maranao history and the tribulations of mythical heroes; in addition to having a compelling narrative content, the epic explores the underlying themes of life and death, courtship, love and politics through symbol, metaphor, irony and satire. The Darangen also encodes customary law, standards of social and ethical behaviour, notions of aesthetic beauty, and social values specific to the Maranao. To this day, elders refer to this time-honoured text in the administration of customary law.|||
|Vietnam||Nhã nhạc, Vietnamese Court Music||2003||2008||Nha Nhac, meaning "elegant music", refers to a broad range of musical and dance styles performed at the Vietnamese royal court from the fifteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Nha Nhac was generally featured at the opening and closing of ceremonies associated with anniversaries, religious holidays, coronations, funerals and official receptions, among the numerous musical genres that developed in Vietnam, only Nha Nhac can claim a nationwide scope and strong links with the traditions of other East Asian countries. Nha Nhac performances formerly featured numerous singers, dancers and musicians dressed in sumptuous costumes. Large-scale orchestras included a prominent drum section and many other types of percussion instruments as well as a variety of wind and string instruments. All performers had to maintain a high level of concentration since they were expected to follow each step of the ritual meticulously.|||
|Space of Gong Culture||2005||2008||The cultural space of the gongs in the central highlands of Vietnam covers several provinces and seventeen Austro-Asian and Austronesian ethno-linguistic communities. Closely linked to daily life and the cycle of the seasons, their belief systems form a mystical world where the gongs produce a privileged language between men, divinities and the supernatural world. Behind every gong hides a god or goddess who is all the more powerful when the gong is older, every family possesses at least one gong, which indicates the family’s wealth, authority and prestige, and also ensures its protection. While a range of brass instruments is used in the various ceremonies, the gong alone is present in all the rituals of community life and is the main ceremonial instrument.|||
|Quan Họ Bắc Ninh folk songs||2009||2009||In the provinces of Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang in northern Viet Nam, many of the villages are twinned, reinforcing their relationship through social customs such as Quan họ Bắc Ninh folk songs. The songs are performed as alternating verses between two women from one village who sing in harmony, and two men from another village who respond with similar melodies, but with different lyrics, the women traditionally wear distinctive large round hats and scarves; the men’s costumes include turbans, umbrellas and tunics. The more than 400 song lyrics, sung with 213 different melody variations, express people’s emotional states of longing and sadness upon separation, and the happiness of the meeting of lovers, but custom forbids marrying a singing partner. Quan họ singing is common at rituals, festivals, competitions and informal gatherings, where guests will perform a variety of verses for their hosts before singing farewell. Younger musicians of both sexes may practice the four singing techniques – restrained, resonant, ringing and staccato – at parties organized around singing. Quan họ songs express the spirit, philosophy and local identity of the communities in this region, and help forge social bonds within and between villages that share a cherished cultural practice.|||
|Ca Trù singing||2009||2009||Ca trù is a complex form of sung poetry found in the north of Viet Nam using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese poetic forms. Ca trù groups comprise three performers: a female singer who uses breathing techniques and vibrato to create unique ornamented sounds, while playing the clappers or striking a wooden box, and two instrumentalists who produce the deep tone of a three-stringed lute and the strong sounds of a praise drum, some Ca trù performances also include dance. The varied forms of Ca trù fulfill different social purposes, including worship singing, singing for entertainment, singing in royal palaces and competitive singing. Ca trù has fifty-six different musical forms or melodies, each of which is called thể cách. Folk artists transmit the music and poems that comprise Ca trù pieces by oral and technical transmission, formerly, within their family line, but now to any who wish to learn. Ongoing wars and insufficient awareness caused Ca trù to fall into disuse during the twentieth century, although the artists have made great efforts to transmit the old repertoire to younger generations, Ca trù is still under threat of being lost due to the diminishing number and age of practitioners. Ca Trù singing was enlisted as an endangered intangible cultural heritage in 2009.|||
|Gióng festival of Phù Ðổng and Sóc Temples||2010||2010||The Gióng festival of Phù Đổng and Sóc temples is celebrated annually in outlying districts of Hanoi, the capital of Viet Nam. Each spring, before the rice harvest, the Việt people honour the mythical hero, god and saint, Thánh Gióng, who is credited with defending the country from foreign enemies, and is worshipped as the patron god of the harvest, national peace and family prosperity, the festival at Phù Đổng temple, which takes place in the fourth lunar month in the village of his birth, symbolically re-enacts his feats through the riding of a white horse into battle and the orchestration of an elaborate flag dance to symbolize the battle itself. Young men receive extensive training to play the roles of Flag Master, Drum Master, Gong Master, Army Master and Children’s Master, while 28 girls aged 9 to 13 are selected to play the enemy generals, the Flag Master’s dancing movements and drum and gong sounds convey the development of the battle, and paper butterflies released from the flag symbolically disperse the invaders. The arrival of rains after the festival is seen as a blessing from the saint for an abundant harvest, the celebrations at Sóc temple, where saint Gióng ascended to heaven, take place in the first lunar month and include the ritual of bathing his statue and a procession of bamboo flowers to the temple as offerings to the saint.|||
|Xoan singing of Phú Thọ Province||2011||2011||Xoan singing is practised in Phú Thọ Province, Viet Nam, in the first two months of the lunar year. Traditionally, singers from Xoan guilds performed songs in sacred spaces such as temples, shrines and communal houses for the spring festivals. There are three forms of Xoan singing: worship singing for the Hùng kings and village guardian spirits; ritual singing for good crops, health and luck; and festival singing where villagers alternate male and female voices in a form of courtship. Each Xoan music guild is headed by a leader, referred to as the trùm; male instrumentalists are called kép and female singers, đào. Although only four traditional guilds remain, in recent years the singing has been taken up by clubs and other performing groups. Xoan singing is accompanied by dancing and musical instruments such as clappers and a variety of drums, the music has a spare structure with few ornamental notes and simple rhythms, and Xoan is characterized by a modulation between singers and instrumentalists at the perfect fourth interval. Knowledge, customs and techniques for singing, dancing and playing drum and clappers are traditionally transmitted orally by the guild leader. However, the majority of bearers are now over sixty years in age, and the numbers of people who appreciate Xoan singing have decreased, particularly among the younger generations.|||
|Worship of Hùng Kings in Phú Thọ||2012||2012||Annually, millions of people converge on the Hùng temple at Nghĩa Lĩnh mountain in Phú Thọ province to commemorate their ancestors and pray for good weather, abundant harvests, good luck and good health. The largest ceremony, the Ancestral Anniversary festival of the Hùng Kings, is celebrated for about one week at the beginning of the third lunar month. People from surrounding villages dress in splendid costumes and compete to provide the best palanquin and most highly valued objects of worship for the key rite in which drums and gongs are conveyed to the main temple site. Communities make offerings of rice-based delicacies such as square cakes and glutinous cakes, and there are verbal and folk arts performances, bronze drum beating, Xoan singing, prayers and petitions. Secondary worship of Hùng Kings takes place at sites countrywide throughout the year, the rituals are led and maintained by the Festival Organizing Board – knowledgeable individuals of good conducts, who in turn appoint ritual committees and temple guardians to tend worship sites, instruct devotees in the key ritual acts and offer incense. The tradition embodies spiritual solidarity and provides an occasion to acknowledge national origins and sources of Vietnamese cultural and moral identity.|||
|Art of Đờn ca tài tử music and song in southern Việt Nam||2013||2013||A musical art with both scholarly and folk roots, Đờn ca tài tử is an indispensable part of the spiritual activity and cultural heritage of the people of southern Viet Nam. The music and songs evoke the people’s life and work on the land and rivers of the Mekong Delta region. Performed at numerous events such as festivals, death anniversary rituals and celebrations, Đờn ca tài tử is thus intimately connected with other cultural practices and customs, oral traditions and handicrafts, the performers express their feelings by improvising, ornamenting and varying the ‘skeletal melody’ and main rhythmic patterns of these pieces. Đờn ca tài tử is played on a variety of different instruments, including the moon-shaped lute, two-stringed fiddle, sixteen-stringed zither, pear-shaped lute, percussion, monochord and bamboo flute. Its repertoire is based on twenty principal songs and seventy-two classical songs, the musical art is passed on through oral transmission, based on imitation, from master instrumentalists and singers to students. Musicians need to study for at least three years to learn the basic instrumental techniques and master the musical modes to express different moods and emotions. Vocal students study the traditional songs and learn to improvise subtly, using different ornamentation techniques.|||
|Ví and Giặm folk songs of Nghệ Tĩnh||2014||2014||Ví and Giặm songs are sung by a wide range of communities in Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh Provinces of north-central Viet Nam. Specific songs are sung without instrumental accompaniment while people cultivate rice in the fields, row boats, make conical hats or lull children to sleep. Ví and Giặm lyrics use the specific dialect and linguistic idioms of the Nghệ Tĩnh region and practitioners sing with the particular singing voice of Nghệ Tĩnh people. Many of the songs focus on key values and virtues including respect for parents, loyalty, care and devotion, the importance of honesty and a good heart in the maintenance of village customs and traditions. Singing provides people with a chance to ease hardship while working, to relieve sorrow in their lives, to express feelings of sentiment between men and women, and to exchange feelings of love between unmarried boys and girls. Today Ví and Giặm are commonly performed at community cultural events and are sung by artists in theatres. Ví and Giặm are transmitted, preserved and promoted by master practitioners; and local performances and folk singing festivals provide opportunities for Ví and Giặm groups in villages and schools to transmit and practise the songs.|||
|Cambodia Philippines South Korea Vietnam||Tugging rituals and games||2015||2015||The four tugging rituals and games are Lbaoz~ Teanh Pro (Cambodia), Punnuk (Philippines), GamnaeGe-juldarigi (South Korea), and Tro chui va Nglzi ti keo eo (Vietnam). Tugging rituals and games in the rice-farming cultures of East Asia and Southeast Asia are enacted among communities to ensure abundant harvests and prosperity, they promote social solidarity, provide entertainment and mark the start of a new agricultural cycle. Many tugging rituals and games also have profound religious significance. Most variations include two teams, each of which pulls one end of a rope attempting to tug it from the other, the intentionally uncompetitive nature of the event removes the emphasis on winning or losing, affirming that these traditions are performed to promote the well-being of the community, and reminding members of the importance of cooperation. Many tugging games bear the traces of agricultural rituals, symbolizing the strength of natural forces, such as the sun and rain while also incorporating mythological elements or purification rites. Tugging rituals and games are often organized in front of a village’s communal house or shrine, preceded by commemorative rites to local protective deities. Village elders play active roles in leading and organizing younger people in playing the game and holding accompanying rituals. Tugging rituals and games also serve to strengthen unity and solidarity and sense of belonging and identity among community members.|||
Southeast Asia Memories of the World Register
UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction. It calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library collections and private individual compendia all over the world for posterity, the reconstitution of dispersed or displaced documentary heritage, and the increased accessibility to and dissemination of these items.
Southeast Asia's entry to the Memories of the World Register was through the submission of the Philippine Paleographs (Hanunoo, Build, Tagbanua and Pala’wan) by the National Museum of the Philippines in 1999, where it was inscripted on the same year as well. Following this landmark for the region, Malaysia followed with an immediate three submissions in 2001, all of which were inscripted the same year. Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia followed in 2003, after these landmark submissions and inscriptions, Southeast Asia's contribution to the Memories of the World Register has expanded into 24, 1 from Cambodia, 5 from Indonesia (1 of which is a multinational inscription), 4 from Malaysia, 3 from Myanmar (1 of which is a multinational site), 4 from the Philippines, 4 from Thailand, 1 from Timor-Leste, and 2 from Vietnam. Singapore, Laos, and Brunei have yet to inscript a submission in the Register.
|Member state||Memory||Submission||Inscription||Submitted By||Detail||Reference|
|Cambodia||Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archives||2008||2009||Photographs and documents from the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum the former S-21 prison and interrogation centre where it is estimated that over 15, 000 prisoners were held in this former high school. Only a handful of them survived the ordeal, the archive contains photographs of over 5,000 of these prisoners, as well as "confessions", many extracted under torture, and other biographical records of prisoners and prison guards and officials in the security apparatus.|||
|Indonesia||Asian-African Conference Archives||2014||2015||The Asian-African Conference (AAC) Archives is a set of documents, pictures and films related to the Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, from 18 to 24 April 1955. The conference was the first international assembly of Asian-African nations, aimed to promote world peace and cooperation, and freedom from colonialism and imperialism, the Conference was attended by 29 Asian and African countries.|||
|Indonesia||Babad Diponegoro or Autobiographical Chronicle of Prince Diponegoro (1785–1855). A Javanese nobleman, Indonesian national hero and pan-Islamist||2012||2013||The autobiographical chronicle of the Javanese nobleman, Indonesian national hero and Pan-Islamist, Prince Diponegoro (1785–1855) (literally 'The Light of the Country') of Yogyakarta - the Babad Diponegoro ('The Chronicle of Diponegoro') - written in exile in North Sulawesi (Celebes) in 1831-1832. It is the personal record of a key figure in modern Indonesian history, it is also the first ego-document (autobiography) in modern Javanese literature and shows unusual sensitivity to local conditions and experiences.|||
|Indonesia||Nāgarakrĕtāgama or Description of the Country (1365 AD)||2012||2013||The Nāgarakrĕtāgama gives testimony to the reign of a king in the fourteenth century in Indonesia in which the modern ideas of social justice, freedom of religion, personal safety and welfare of the people were held in high regard. It also testifies to the democratic attitude and openness of authority before the people in an era that still adhered to the absolute rights of kingship.|||
|Indonesia||La Galigo||2010||2011||La Galigo is a poetic text set in a strict metre and using a particular Bugis vocabulary. Its language is considered beautiful and difficult, the work is also known by the name Sureq Galigo. Dating from approximately the 14th century and with its origin in oral traditions, its contents are pre-Islamic and of an epic-mythological nature of high literary quality, the size of the whole work is enormous (an estimated 6000 folio pages) and may be considered as the most voluminous literary work in the world.|||
|Multinational: Indonesia Netherlands India South Africa Sri Lanka||Archives of the Dutch East India Company||2003||2003||The Dutch East India Company (VOC, Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie), founded in 1602 and liquidated in 1795, was the largest and most impressive of the early modern European trading companies operating in Asia. About twenty-five million pages of VOC records have survived in repositories in Jakarta, Colombo, Chennai, Cape Town, and The Hague, the VOC archives make up the most complete and extensive source on early modern world history anywhere with data relevant to the history of hundreds of Asia’s and Africa’s former local political and trade regions.|||
|Malaysia||Batu Bersurat Terengganu (Inscribed Stone of Terengganu)||2008||2009||The Batu Bersurat, Terengganu or Inscribed Stone of Terengganu constitutes the earliest evidence of Jawi writing (writing based on Arabic alphabets) in the Malaya Muslim world of Southeast Asia. The Stone is a testimony to the spread of Islam offering an insight to the life of the people of the era as well as depicting the growing Islamic culture subsumed under a set of religious laws.|||
|Malaysia||Correspondence of the late Sultan of Kedah (1882–1943)||2001||2001||The records are unique in that they constitute the only available evidence of the Malay Sultanate prior to the advent of western-style colonialism. The records have a universal appeal in that they portray the precarious life of a State in transition, straddling between two powers in a world that is fast changing. Originating as they do from the Palace, the highest seat of administration in the state of Kedah in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the records reflect the unified authority wielded by the Palace in all matters relating to Kedah state administration, the Palace may thus be said to have total influence on all aspects of the life of the people. The influence of the Palace, however is waning, as it is no longer able to control the destiny of the State on account of the need to submit itself to foreign powers far superior in might, the records are therefore useful to research from a number of perspectives, including social change, economics, politics, foreign relations, education, religion and customs. However, the Palace is not able to control the destiny of its own people.|||
|Malaysia||Hikayat Hang Tuah||2001||2001||Hikayat Hang Tuah is regarded as a Malay literary classic and a traditional Malay epic. This folk tale has been proudly recounted to generations of Malays, it is recognised as a national literary classic which is well-known not only amongst the Malays but also to the people in the Malay Archipelago. Much studies have been made on this manuscript by local and foreign researchers. Hang Tuah is characterised as most illustrious Malay hero in Malacca and represented absolute loyalty to the ruler as the ultimate champion of Malay loyalty, chivalry and obedience to tradition. Hikayat Hang Tuah symbolises the greatness of Malacca at that time whilst projecting the bravery of the Malays, the National Library of Malaysia has in its possession two manuscripts of Hikayat Hang Tuah, with identification number MSS 1658 and MSS 1713. The manuscripts are written on old European paper about 200 years ago. Colophon statement is distinctly absent, as is usual in the tradition of Malay manuscripts writing. To this day the author of the hikayat remains unknown, the manuscripts are being preserved in an acid-free box and kept in strong room which is designed according to the accepted standards of preservation requirements.|||
|Malaysia||Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals)||2001||2001||The Sejarah Melayu or the Malay Annals are unique in that they constitute the only available account of the history of the Malay Sultanate in the fifteenth and early sixteenth century. They are in the nature of what may be termed as historical literature conveying a historical narration on the origins, evolution and demise of a great Malay maritime empire, with its unique system of government, administration and politics, the Annals have universal appeal as they relate to a major transformation in the lives of the people of the Malay Archipelago from a Hindu-Malay matrix to an Islamic – Malay culture. Being an entrepot port, Melaka made rapid progress on account of its cosmopolitan population comprising merchants from India, China, Arabia, Portugal and various other nations of the world, they contributed to the social, economic and political evolution of the Malay Kingdom. The Annals are therefore a vital source of information for scholars in various fields including sociology, anthropology, economics, politics, international relations, linguistics and literature.|||
|Multinational: Germany United Kingdom Myanmar||The Golden Letter of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George II of Great Britain||2014||2015||The Golden Letter of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George II of Great Britain from the year 1756 is a unique attestation in world history as well as in the history of Burma and Europe in the eighteenth century and is of outstanding aesthetic value. The content of the letter is a trade proposal from Alaungphaya to the English.|||
|Myanmar||Myazedi Quadrilingual Stone Inscription||2014||2015||Located in Bagan Historic city, Myazedi quadrilingual stone inscription is the oldest Myanmar Language inscription documenting the Myanmar history, religion and culture in the 12th century A.D. The document is an inscription in four languages, Pyu, Mon, Myanmar and Pali, on each of the four sides.|||
|Myanmar||Maha Lawkamarazein or Kuthodaw Inscription Shrines||2012||2013||The Stone Inscription is a collection of 729 stone slabs on which are inscribed the whole of the Buddhist scriptures whose religious and social significance is important for Asia. It records the Fifth Great Synod convened by King Mindon and which was the significant event of the Buddhist religion and its devotees.|||
|Philippines||Presidential Papers of Manuel L. Quezon||2010||2011||The Manuel L. Quezon Papers, University of Michigan Library||Manuel Quezon was a forceful personality who dominated the political scene and towered over his contemporaries and colleagues. His active involvement in the destiny of his country was felt both in the Philippines and the United States. Much of the current relations between the Philippines and the United States can best be understood by studying how the United States pursued policy for the Philippines, especially in the matter of political independence and economic development, the Quezon papers document the events and politics involved in the long history of the Philippine independence movement conducted both in the Philippines and in the United States, and consequently constitute a major source of information not only for the history of the Philippines, but also in the context of its history within and of the region (Southeast East Asia/East Asia), as well as of the United States, and of European countries (Britain, France, the Netherlands) during the period of colonial rule in the region.|||
|Philippines||José Maceda Collection||2007||2007||U.P. Center for Ethnomusicology, Quezon City||Prof. Dr. Jose Maceda (January 31, 1917 – May 5, 2004) composer, internationally renowned scholar in ethnomusicology, recorded end collected (personally, and cooperatively with his staff, as well as contributions from other scholars in the international community) traditional musics in the Philippines and in some parts of South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, ….) during the period between 1953 and 2003. The collection consists of 1760 hours of tape recordings in 1936 reels and cassette tapes [See Annex A], field notes, black&white and colored photographs of different musicians and instruments and some films. The collection reflects the traditional music of the Philippines covers sixty-eight ethnolinguistic groups [See Annex B] and South East Asians before many musical styles vanished, or substantially changed, as a result of the process of social change, modern civilization and cultural globalization, for the region, the José Maceda Collection is unique in scope and size. It is a significant memorial of the orally transmitted cultural contributions to mankind from that part of the world.|||
|Philippines||Radio Broadcast of the Philippine People Power Revolution||2003||2003||Radio Veritas Asia, Quezon City; Raja Broadcasting Network, Makati City; Personal Archives of Mr. Orly Punzalan, Dasmariñas||The collection of sound recordings of 44 audiocassette tapes and 1 mini-disc document the actual, unedited day-to-day radio broadcast of Radio Veritas, (a Catholic –owned radio station at the outskirts of Manila), DZRJ/DZRB, Radio Bandido, (a privately owned radio station in Quezon City then under the Ministry of National Defense), DZRH (a privately owned radio station in Manila) and Voice of the Philippines (a government-owned radio station taken over by the people led by Radio Veritas on the 24th of February, 1986). The People Power Revolution was possibly a unique political event of the 20th century which stirred the world: the peaceful overthrow of an entrenched dictatorship through a spontaneous popular uprising, documented and influenced by the 20th century medium of radio, the unbroken radio record over four days in 1986 is an unvarnished chronicle of a nation and its people at a crucial time in its history. The world listened, watched and read, the event will forever be a reference point for the peaceful resolution of deep national crises.|||
|Philippines||Philippine Paleographs (Hanunoo, Build, Tagbanua and Pala’wan)||1999||1999||National Museum, Manila||Communication by means of symbols and creative graphics is one of man's singular achievements. Syllabaries, like those that developed in the Philippines, go a step further and represent not merely graphics, but articulate sounds. Dating back to at least the 10th century AD, four sets of these syllabaries, out of a documented seventeen, have survived the centuries and remain in use to this day, notably the Hanunoo Mangyan syllabary figuring in poetry - ambahan -, and in song.|||
|Thailand||"The Minute Books of the Council of the Siam Society", 100 years of recording international cooperation in research and the dissemination of knowledge in the arts and sciences||2012||2013||Contains the official records of the Council meetings and the General Meetings of the Siam Society from 1904 to 2004 and beyond. It reflects the Society's system, process and outcome of work, its obstacles and challenges, the personalities and organizations contributing to its success and the scope of its work in a century of great international changes and development, it testifies to the continuous transactions and cooperation of an international and intellectual nature, among the many generations of people elected to carry out the work of the Siam Society over the long and eventful century.|||
|Thailand||Epigraphic Archives of Wat Pho||2010||2011||The Epigraphic Archives of Wat Pho (Temple of the Bodhi Tree) in Bangkok is a unique collection of 1,431 stone inscriptions in Thai language and scripts made in 1831-1841 on both religious and secular subjects, representing a wide range of Thai knowledge of Asian and local roots of the time in the context of over five centuries of global exchanges in trade, politics and culture. It was a conscious effort by King Rama III and Thai scholars to preserve and make them visible to the public with the ultimate aim in general education on cultural heritage, diversity and civilizations.|||
|Thailand||Archival Documents of King Chulalongkorn's Transformation of Siam (1868–1910)||2008||2009||Present-day Thailand is in many aspects a legacy of the policies and practices carried out by King Chulalongkorn the Great of Siam (A. D. 1868-1910) within the context of western colonialism and modernization. The documents therefore record social policies such as the successful emancipation of slaves by peaceful and legal means, the abolition of gambling, the establishment of a public school system and the reform of the Buddhist Sangha, as well as the promotion of agricultural production, the market economy, financial and fiscal institutions, these measures contributed to the maintenance of Siam independence, a rare feat in the world at the time.|||
|Thailand||The King Ram Khamhaeng Inscription||2003||2003||The King Ram Khamhaeng Inscription (RK) of 1292 A.D. is considered a major documentary heritage of world significance because it gives valuable information on several major themes of world history and culture. It not only records the invention of Thai language scripts that are the foundation of the modern scripts used in Thailand by 60 million people, its rare detailed description of the 13th century Thai state of Sukhothai also reflects universal values shared by many states in the world today, those values include good governance, the rule of law, economic freedom, and religious morality, in this case Buddhism, one of the world's major religions. The inscription's value as a historical document has already been evident when it was used to support Thailand's successful proposal to inscribe the Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns on the World Heritage List in 1991.|||
|Timor-Leste||On the Birth of a Nation: Turning points||2012||2013||The Max Stahl collection of audiovisual documents on the Birth of the Nation of Timor Leste consists of documents considered the key record of events which transformed the fate of a community far from the centres of power and of normal interests in a common cause of communities across the world. These images and documentary stories of the story of a new nation born in part due to their transmission across millions of screens of the sufferings on a scale which few could imagine. Timor Leste is the first nation to liberate itself through the power of audiovisual images; in the last century audiovisual media enabled a global voice to those who never before had the education or the opportunity to communicate. Timor Leste was a landmark in this development.|||
|Vietnam||Stone Stele Records of Royal Examinations of the Le and Mac Dynasties (1442–1779)||2010||2011||The 82 stone steles which are preserved at Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam historical site record names of the laureates of Royal Examinations of Le and Mac Dynasties were erected between 1484 and 1780 to commemorate the Royal examinations held between 1442 and 1779. Each inscription contains details such as the date, the names and official posts of the inscription compilers, revisers, calligraphers, and engravers. Steles of each historic period are distinct from the others through features such as designs, decorative patterns, tortoise-shaped bases, and the type of Chinese characters used for their inscriptions preserve the stele's originality and prevent attempts to produce replicas, the steles vividly document the 300 years' history of training and recruiting talented individuals in Viet Nam under the Le and Mac dynasties, as well as similar practices outside of Viet Nam.|||
|Vietnam||Woodblocks of Nguyen Dynasty||2008||2009||The 34,555 plates of wood-blocks of the Nguyen Dynasty helped to record official literature and history as well as classic and historical books. Therefore, apart from their historical value, the wood-blocks also have artistic and technical merit as they mark the development of wood-block carving and printing profession in Viet Nam, their importance and high value led feudal dynasties and state regimes in history of Viet Nam to pay considerable attention to preserving these records.|||
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves of Southeast Asia
Launched in 1971, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.
MAB combines the natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and the equitable sharing of benefits, and to safeguard natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate, and environmentally sustainable.
Its World Network of Biosphere Reserves currently counts more than 650 biosphere reserves in at least 120 countries all over the world. Southeast Asia is currently represented by 29 Biosphere Reserves; 1 from Cambodia, 10 from Indonesia, 2 from Malaysia, 1 from Myanmar, 2 from the Philippines, 4 from Thailand, and 9 from Vietnam. Brunei, Laos, Timor-Leste, and Singapore currently has no inscribed biosphere reserves in the list.
|Country||Biosphere Reserve||Representative Image||Designation Year (Periodic Reviews)||Description||References|
|Cambodia||Tonle Sap||1997 (2012)||The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve is located in the Northeast of Cambodia. It includes the Tonle Sap Lake, the most extensive freshwater lake in South-East Asia, which is located in the centre of the Tonle Sap Basin, it is surrounded by the Dong Rek Mountains to the north, the Cardamom Mountains to the southwest, and other small hills to the east that separate the basin from the Mekong River.|||
|Indonesia||Cibodas||1997 (2011)||Situated in the province of West Java in the south of Jakarta, the Cibodas Biosphere Reserve is an example of an ecosystem in the humid tropics under strong human pressure. The Gunung Gede-Pangrango National park constitutes the core area of the biosphere reserve and encompasses twin volcanoes and mountainous rain-forests, including many species endemic to Java, the buffer zone comprises production forests, tea plantations and horticulture fields. The majority of the transition area is covered by rice irrigation fields and human settlements.|||
|Indonesia||Komodo||1997 (1999, 2013)||Situated between Flores and Sumbawa in Indonesia, the Komodo Biosphere Reserve and National Park is renowned for its population of about 5,000 giant lizards, also called ‘Komodo dragons’ (Varanus komodoensis). They exist nowhere else in the world and are of significant interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution; in addition to Komodo Island, the biosphere reserve encompasses the islands of Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous islets. It also includes one of the world’s richest marine environments with coral reefs.|||
|Indonesia||Lore Lindu||1997 (1999, 2013)||Lore Lindu Biosphere Reserve and National Park comprises one of the largest remaining mountainous rain forests of Sulawesi. It is of high importance from a biodiversity, cultural as well as archaeological point of view. Approximately 90% of the area is montane forest above 1,000 meters altitude, representing most of Sulawesis’ unique mountain flora and fauna.|||
|Indonesia||Tanjang Puting||1997 (1998, 2013)||This biosphere reserve and national park is situated on the Tanjung Peninsula in the south of Borneo and covers the swampy alluvial areas between Kumai Bay and Seruyan River. Covering a total area of 415,040 hectares, Tanjung Puting is known to have a large diversity of forest ecosystems, including lowland forest, freshwater swamp forest, tropical heat forest which is called "kerangas", peat swamp forest, mangrove forest, and coastal forest.|||
|Indonesia||Gunung Leuser||1981 (1998, 2013)||This biosphere reserve and national park covers a vast area of tropical rain forest in northern Sumatra with a range of ecosystems: lowland evergreen dipterocarp forest, lower and upper montane rain forest, peat swamp forest, forest over limestone, sub-alpine meadows and heathlands, freshwater lakes and rivers, and sulphur mineral pools.|||
|Indonesia||Siberut||1981 (1998, 2013)||Siberut is the largest in the chain of four Mentawai Islands situated off the west coast of Sumatra. It has been isolated from the Sumatra mainland and the Sunda shelf for at least 500,000 years, resulting in an exceptionally high degree of endemism. 65% of the animals are though to be endemic. Lowland dipterocarp rain forest is the principal ecosystem.|||
|Indonesia||Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu||2009||Bukit Batu, is a peatland area in Sumatra featuring sustainable timber production and two wildlife reserves, which are home to the Sumatra tiger, elephant, tapir, and sun bear. Research activities in the biosphere include the monitoring of flagship species and in-depth study on peatland ecology. Initial studies indicate good potential for sustainable economic development using flora and fauna for the inhabitants’ economic welfare.|||
|Indonesia||Wakatobi||2012||Wakatobi is an acronym for the four main islands of Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko that, together with smaller islands, comprise the Tukang Besi Archipelago at the southeastern tip of Sulawesi. The archipelago is renowned for the diversity of its spectacular coral gardens. Wakatobi’s 3.4 million acres of islands and waters were declared a national park in 1996. The ethnically diverse human population strives to make the area a learning laboratory in areas such as fisheries and agriculture.|||
|Indonesia||Bromo Tengger Semeru-Arjuno||2015||The Bromo Tengger Semeru-Arjuno biosphere reserve is located in the province of East Java and encompasses an active volcano, Mount Bromo (2,392 m asl). There are 1,025 reported species of flora of which 226 species are orchids and 260 are medicinal and ornamental plants. Plant families commonly found in this area include Fagaceae, Moraceae and Anacardiaceae, some of the mammal species found in the core area are included on the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).Livestock farming of cattle, goats, sheep, horses, rabbits and chickens contribute to the local economy, the main economic activity is tourism.|||
|Indonesia||Taka Bonerate-Kepulauan Selayar||2015||Taka Bonerate-Kepulauan Selayar Biosphere Reserve is located in the south of Sulawesi and belongs to the South Sulawesi Province, Selayar Island Regency. It covers a huge marine area encompassing small islands, a number of small fringing reefs and atolls. Mangrove forests serve as a barrier against strong sea waves and consequently as a shelter and spawning ground for various types of fish, as well as a habitat for numerous species of fauna such as birds, the mangrove forests include 22 to 26 species from 14 families, such as the Rhizophora stylosa and Ceriops tagal. Protected and threatened animals found at the proposed site include the scale turtle (Trionychidae), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), and Napoleon fish (Cheilinus undulates).|||
|Malaysia||Tasik Chini||2009||Almost all of the Reserve areas are covered by wetland (freshwater lake, Tasik Chini and feeder rivers of the lake) and a slightly steep hill (Chini Hill) as well as the Tasik Chini State Park Reserve Forest.|||
|Malaysia||Crocker Range||2014||Situated south of the World Heritage Site Mount Kinabalu, the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve forms chain mountains with no distinct peaks in western Sabah. The rocky topography constitutes solely of mountains, hills and small basins dissected by deep river valleys. Elevation above sea level of the Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve ranges from 6m to 2,076m, at the site, 105m above sea level, the highest temperature is 32 °C and the lowest is 20 °C. The area has around 3,000 mm/year precipitation on average and is home to a wide array of endangered species. This biosphere reserve covers an area of 350,584 ha, stretching approximately 120 km north and south, and 40 km east and west, encompassing rich biodiversity and tropical hill-montane landscape.|||
|Myanmar||Inlay Lake||2015||The Inlay Lake Biosphere Reserve is located in Taunggyi District, Southern Shan State. Inlay Lake is a freshwater lake and reportedly the second largest inland lake in Myanmar, the Inlay Lake wetland ecosystem is home to 267 species of birds of which 82 are wetland birds, 43 species of freshwater fish, otters and turtles. In addition, freshwater fish from the inland wetland constitute the major protein food source of the people of Inlay, the reserve hosts diverse flora and fauna species and the lake is reported to be the nesting place for the globally endangered Sarus crane (Grus antigone). Inlay Lake is also unique for the socio-cultural aspects of the local inhabitants, who have adapted their lifestyle and livelihoods to their biophysical environment, the majority earn their income from traditional methods of hydroponic farming, fishing and shifting cultivation. Farmers from one of the dominant ethnic groups in the Inlay Lake region, the Inthas, practice floating island agriculture, locally known as ‘Yechan’, a form of hydroponic farming.|||
|Philippines||Puerto Galera||1997 (2014)||Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve is situated on Mindoro Island, about 120 km south of Manila. Its 23,200 hectares make up the northern tip of Mindoro Island and are bounded to the north by the Verde Island Passage, to the west by the Camarong River and to the east by the municipality of San Teodoro.|||
|Philippines||Palawan||1990 (2012)||The Palawan Biosphere Reserve is a cluster of islands composed of one long main island and smaller groups of islands around it. The 1,150,800 hectares of the biosphere reserve include the entire Province of Palawan Island, which is the westernmost province of the Philippines.|||
|Philippines||Albay||2016||The Albay Biosphere Reserve has high conservation value and is constituted notably by its 182 terrestrial plant species, 46 of which are endemic. Its marine and coastal ecosystems number 12 species of mangrove, 40 species of seaweed or macro-algae, and 10 species of sea grass. Five of the world’s 7 species of marine turtles are to be found in Albay.|||
|Thailand||Sakaerat||1976 (1999)||This biosphere reserve is situated on the edge of Thailand’s Khorat Plateau about 300 km north-east of Bangkok. It was created in 1977 around the Sakaerat Environmental Research Station (SERS), which was established in 1967 primarily as a site for research on dry evergreen and dry dipterocarp tropical forest. Other vegetation types in the biosphere reserve include bamboo forests, forest plantations and grasslands, some 5,300 people live within the biosphere reserves (1999) who are almost all Thai Buddhists. They make their living from crop plantations and growing paddy rice but also illegally use the forest for plant and mushroom gathering, hunting, and tree cutting, this has does have a detrimental effect on the forest but has been greatly reduced by community education and outreach programmes introduced since 2003. These include providing the local people with spores and seedlings from the forest with a commercial value and an education on farming practices, this allows them to harvest an income from their own land.|||
|Thailand||Hauy Tak Teak||1997 (1999, 2014)||Located in the north of Thailand within the Ngao Demonstration Forest, the biosphere reserve comprises a big teak (Tectona grandis) plantation surrounded by natural mixed deciduous forests with teak stands. Haui Tak Teak Biosphere Reserve is part of the Ngao Demonstration Project, which seeks to test and demonstrate approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of forest resources, the site is used for field training of students as well as for professional training of forest managers and researchers. Some 59,500 people live in the biosphere reserve (1999), the ethnic Thai groups are settled within the peneplain area whereas a hill tribe is living in the mountainous region. Most of the people are farmers who depend on the cultivation of paddy rice, corn, tobacco, soybeans and groundnuts or on orchards and livestock raising. Main human impacts on the ecosystem derive from illegal logging, urban expansion, agriculture and shifting cultivation, with some 32,000 national and international tourists each year (1999), tourism also plays an important economic role in the biosphere reserve.|||
|Thailand||Mae Sa-Kog Ma||1997 (1999)||Situated in the north of Thailand, this biosphere reserve comprises one of the most populated mountain areas of the country and encompasses the watershed of Thailand’s second biggest city Chiang Mai. Five natural ecosystems are represented in Mae Sa-Kog Ma: moist evergreen forest, hill evergreen forest, coniferous forest, mixed deciduous forest and dry dipterocarp forests. Most of the biosphere reserve overlaps with a major part of the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. About 14,000 people live within the boundaries of this national park (1987). Half of the population belongs to the ethnic minority group of Hmong and there are small numbers Karen, Shari, Yao, Lahu and Lisu. Only 46% of the population are ethnic Thais. By the early 1990s, land use within the biosphere reserve had undergone a remarkable change; in those villages which have developed paddy land, the cultivation of wetland rice continues to be an important subsistence activity. However, the permanent cultivation of cash crops, often with irrigation, has largely replaced shifting agriculture. Especially the Hmong villages have completely commercialized into tourism related occupations such as selling handicrafts and souvenirs, the Buddhist Doi Suthep temple and the royal palace also attract tourists. Ongoing research in the biosphere reserve has covered a wide range of resource management and environmental issues such as the heavy metal and nutrient contents of stream water and sediments, soil erosion and wildlife populations.|||
|Thailand||Ranong||1997 (2011, 2014)||This biosphere reserve is situated 650 km south of Bangkok and covers about 30,000 hectares, of which 40% is a marine area. It consists of a narrow coastal plain characterized by many waterways and mangrove forests, reaching out to the sea towards seagrass beds at a depth of 10 meters, the Njao and Laem Son National Park are contiguous to Ranong and hence there is a continuum of protected habitats going from the mountain ecosystem down to the coast and sea. More than 300 animal species have been identified, including the dugong (Dugong dugon), and no less than 24 species of mangroves. There are some 4,000 people living in the biosphere reserve, who live mainly from fishing and a shrimp farm (1997). Tourism is little developed yet, but there is a good potential, the Ranong Mangrove Research Center has a long history of scientific research in this area, covering topics such as mangrove reforestation and rehabilitation, as well as human health and sanitation. It is estimated that some 10,000 research workers and students have visited or worked at the Center during the past five years.|||
|Vietnam||Can Gio Mangrove||2001||The Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve is located in the coastal district southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. The reserve provides opportunities to advance environmental protection across a continuum of habitats, ranging from coastal areas to the boundaries of Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest industrial city in Viet Nam, the mangrove forest hosts the highest diversity of mangrove plant species, mangrove-dwelling invertebrates and mangrove-associated fish and shellfish species in the sub-region, and is regarded as the ‘green lungs’ of the city.|||
|Vietnam||Dong Nai||2001 (2012) - Extended in 2011 and renamed from Cat Tien||Dong Nai is the new name of the former Cat Tien Biosphere Reserve, which was designated in 2001. It is located in the Dong Nai province in the south-east of Viet Nam; in this region the plateaux of the central Vietnamese highlands give way to the Nam Bo Delta. The area includes typical landforms of the Truong Son Mountain range and the lowland rivers, streams, semi-plains, medium hills, relatively flat lands and scattered lakes, ponds and wetlands of the eastern Nam Bo Delta.|||
|Vietnam||Cat Ba||2004||Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve is an archipelago located in northern Viet Nam adjacent to the Ha Long Bay World Heritage site. It is internationally renowned for its limestone karst geomorphology and provides one of the best examples in the world of a fengcong and fenglin karst landscape invaded by the sea, the 366 limestone islands include landforms, caves and cave deposits that provide evidence of a long history of erosion and landscape evolution.|||
|Vietnam||Red River Delta||2004||The Red River Delta Biosphere Reserve is located in the coastal region of northern Viet Nam. Mangroves and intertidal habitats of the Red River Delta form wetlands of high biodiversity, especially in the Xuan Thuy and Tien Hai districts, these wetlands are of global importance as migratory sites for several bird species.|||
|Vietnam||Kien Giang||2006||The Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve is located on the southwestern tip of Viet Nam. It comprises 105 islands the biggest of which is Phu Quoc Island, the reserve has a maritime equatorial and monsoon climate. In shallow waters there is a high abundance of coral reefs, the island beaches were formerly nesting sites of Hawksbill (Eretchmochelis imbricate) and Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) but no nesting has taken place in recent years. The waters around the islands are considered some of the best fishing grounds in the southwestern region of Viet Nam of which the most important resources are squid and cuttlefish.|||
|Vietnam||Western Nghe An||2007||The Western Nghe An Biosphere Reserve is located in central Viet Nam in mountainous and remote area which is difficult to access. Its climate is strongly influenced by a north-east and south-west monsoon, the topography of the surrounding Annamite mountain range also impacts atmospheric circulation, resulting in significant climatic differences throughout the area. The region hosts some of the most diverse and rich flora and fauna in Viet Nam.|||
|Vietnam||Mui Ca Mau||2009||The Mui Ca Mau Biosphere Reserve is located in the southernmost tip of Viet Nam. It borders the East Sea to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the south and the west, the area boasts beautiful land and seascapes and a high biodiversity of marine areas and peat swamp wetlands. The reserve also constitutes a transition area (ecotone) between mangrove and Melaleuca forests, which heightens its conservation value, and serves as a reproduction and breeding area for aquatic species.|||
|Vietnam||Cu Lao Cham - Hoi An||2009||The Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An Biosphere Reserve is located in the central part of Viet Nam and consists of two core areas: the World Cultural Heritage Site of Hoi An and the Cu Lao Cham archipelago. The archipelago is renowned for its marine species including corals, mollusks, crustaceans and seaweed, the islands contain mountainous areas and rainforest ecosystems strongly influenced by seasonal monsoons. The Cultural World Heritage Site of Hoi An is an ancient trading port bearing witness to the fusion of Vietnamese|||
|Vietnam||Langbiang||2015||The Langbiang Biosphere Reserve is located in Lam Dong Province. Regional biodiversity is high and includes many endangered species found on International Red Lists, the core area contains a biodiversity corridor that maintains the integrity of 14 tropical ecosystems in the east of southern Viet Nam and across Viet Nam in general. It also functions as the habitat of numerous wildlife species, including several species classified as rare and endangered, such as the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). Agriculture, forestry and fishery are the main sources of employment for local communities, among the cultivated crops, flowers, coffee and tea are the strongest in terms of regional generation of revenue.|||
UNESCO Executive Board
Currently, 4 Southeast Asian countries are serving as members of the UNESCO Executive Board. Vietnam and Malaysia's terms shall expire in 2019, while the Philippines and Indonesia's terms shall expire in 2021. The Philippines, under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte, has expressed a possible UNESCO Director-General bid in 2021 or 2025. The country has cited its possible candidate to be Senator Loren Legarda, a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change National Adaptation Plan Champion, United Nations Global Champion for Resilience, Dangal ng Haraya Patron of Arts and Culture, Chevalier/Cavaliere to France and Italy, and an Honorary Royalty to the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao, Panay, and the Cordilleras. She has also been cited by the United States as one of the most powerful woman in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, she initiated the formation of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which encompasses initially 20 countries worldwide. The 10-nation ASEAN bloc, Timor-Leste, and Papua New Guinea support the possible candidature of the Philippines, the United States, Russia, Japan, China, and the Latin American bloc have expressed similar support as well.
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- Loren Legarda