11 July 2024

Officials from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), accompanied by Thai government representatives, are due to visit Khao Phanoen Thung, a forested mountain in the Kaeng Krachan national park, as part of their mission to gather data for inclusion in an updated report to be submitted to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

In July, the World Heritage Committee, meeting in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, postponed Thailand’s proposal for Kaeng Krachan forest complex to be listed as a World Heritage site.

The committee asked that Thailand gather additional information on three areas of concern, namely the forest’s boundary with Myanmar, the ethnic communities living in the forest complex and the downsizing of the forest complex. The updated report is to be submitted to the UNESCO committee within three years.

The Kaeng Krachan complex straddles the provinces of Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan. It covers the Kaeng Krachan, Koi Buri and Chalerm Phrakiart Prachan national parks and Maenam Pachee wildlife sanctuary with a combined territory of 174,000 hectares.

IUCN officials met with ethnic Karen, from Ban Pong Loek and Ban Bang Kloy in Kaeng Krachan district of Phetchaburi province, to ascertain what they knew about World Heritage status and to discuss their concerns over the proposed listing of the site.

At the same meeting, Kaeng Krachan park chief Mr. Mana Permpoon said that his officials had completed a survey of ethnic Karen land ownership.  He claimed that the Karen had accepted the conditions set by the government regarding their stay in the park.