22 May 2024

Thailand is pushing hard for the Kaeng Krachan forest complex, on the Thai-Myanmar border, to be recognized as a natural world heritage site at the 43rd World Heritage Committee meeting in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku.

Former Thai ambassador to France, and head of the Thai delegation at the World Heritage Committee meeting, Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, said yesterday that the committee had raised concerns about the border demarcation problem between Thailand and Myanmar.

He said the Thai delegation had clarified to delegates from several countries, on the sidelines of the World Heritage Committee meeting, that the Thai government had agreed to downsize the territory of the forest complex by about 15% by moving the demarcation line further away from the Thai-Myanmar borderline, to allay concerns that the area of the complex may encroach on Myanmar territory.

He claimed that the Myanmar delegation was satisfied with the clarification and that all the relevant information about Thailand’s proposal would be submitted to the World Heritage Committee meeting today for consideration.

Another issue raised, regarding Thailand’s proposal, concerned the human rights of the ethnic Karen people who live in the Kaeng Krachan forest complex, said Mr. Sihasak. He assured the meeting that the Karen people would be allowed to live in the forest complex and that they would be given the right of participation in protecting the forest and wildlife.

Regarding the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Sihasak noted that the conservation organization’s information pertaining to Thailand is not up to date and does not reflect the Thai government’s efforts to conserve natural resources and the environment.