Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex named world heritage site

Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex named world heritage site

The World Heritage Committee (WHC) yesterday adopted the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex in Phetchaburi province as a world heritage site after six years of efforts to obtain the recognition.

The government has tried to convince the WHC members that strong progress has been made to preserve the human rights of a Karen community which calls the forest complex its home.

The majority of WHC members voted to support the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex nomination for the world heritage listing.

The committee agreed that the forest complex is in line with the world heritage criteria of "universal outstanding value" due to its great diversity of flora and fauna.

The committee members also agreed that there was no reason to defer the WHC's decision on the forest complex listing. The decision had been put off three times because of human rights concerns.

Tian Xuejun, chairperson of the WHC, expressed delight for Thailand at the announcement of the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex listing.

A member of the WHC from China also commented that China had fully supported the forest complex's nomination because of scientific reports on its biological diversity and fertility.

He said the WHC has put a focus on scientific information regarding the significance of biological system in the forest complex. As for the human rights issue, "we have another body to take care of it", he said.

Varawut Silpa-archa, minister at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, expressed his appreciation of the listing.

He said it reflected success in the management and conservation of the forest in its natural state, which helps conserve the local endemic biodiversity, including local plants and animals with exceptional scientific value.

"It marks a good beginning for our strong efforts to protect and preserve the forest complex for the next generation," he said.

Members of the Karen Bang Kloy village living in the Kaeng Krachan National Park yesterday rallied outside the ministry and insisted the WHC not list the forest complex because of ongoing allegations of human rights violations against villagers in the park.

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