GHF Press Relations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Global Heritage Fund Releases New Report Featuring 10 of Asia’s
Most Endangered Cultural Heritage Sites
“Asia’s Heritage in Peril” Also Documents Threats to
Developing World’s $100 Billion Economic Growth Opportunity
PALO ALTO, CA (May 3, 2012) – Global Heritage Fund (GHF), an international conservancy devoted to saving endangered cultural heritage sites in developing countries, today released a new report: Asia’s Heritage in Peril: Saving Our Vanishing Heritage. The report highlights 10 of Asia’s most significant archaeological and heritage sites facing irreparable loss and destruction due to five accelerating man-made threats: development pressures, unsustainable tourism, insufficient management, looting, and war and conflict. The list includes:
• Ayutthaya, Thailand: “Venice of the East,” Former Siamese Capital
• Fort Santiago and Intramuros, Philippines: Historic Fortresses of the Philippines
• Kashgar, China: One of the Last Intact Silk Road Cities in China
• Mahasthangarh, Bangladesh: One of South Asia’s Earliest Urban Archaeological Sites
• Mes Aynak, Afghanistan: Ancient Buddhist Monastery Complex on the Silk Road
• Myauk-U, Myanmar: Capital City of the First Arakenese Kingdom
• Plain of Jars, Laos: Megalithic Archaeological Landscape with Mysterious Origins
• Preah Vihear, Cambodia: Picturesque Masterpiece of Khmer Architecture
• Rakhigari, India: One of the Largest and Oldest Indus Sites in the World
• Taxila, Pakistan: Former Crossroads of Industry in the Ancient Middle East
“The purpose of Asia’s Heritage in Peril report is to alert the world to the threats facing our vanishing heritage sites today, what we can do to save them, and what they can do to save us,” said Jeff Morgan, Executive Director of GHF. “These 10 sites represent merely a fragment of the endangered treasures across Asia and the rest of the developing world, but each symbolizes a significant economic growth driver for communities in need and an opportunity to preserve our collective human history.”
The report was developed by GHF experts based on extensive field research, with additional contributions from members of Global Heritage Network (GHN), a new early warning and threat monitoring system that combines satellite imaging and social networking. Criteria for the list — which represents only a selection of the hundreds of endangered cultural heritage sites across Asia and the developing world — was based on GHF’s 2010 study, Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, which surveyed 500 major sites in developing countries to evaluate current loss and destruction, conservation and development.
Each of the 10 sites documented in Asia’s Heritage in Peril represents a vast, untapped economic opportunity for its host nation and local communities in need. International and domestic tourism to major archaeological and heritage sites has soared over the past ten years: from $8 billion to over $25 billion in annual revenues, according to the Vanishing report. By 2025, GHF estimates that global heritage sites in the world’s poorest countries will generate over $100 billion annually, while creating millions of new jobs and business opportunities — but only if current trends of loss and destruction are reversed.
Included in the report are three GHF Success Stories: Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia; Pingyao Ancient City, China; and Wat Phu, Laos, where tourism has grown from 12,000 visitors six years ago at the start of the GHF project, to 250,000 in 2011. These ongoing conservation projects, which incorporate GHF’s integrated Preservation By Design® methodology of long-range planning, conservation science, community engagement, and monitoring and evaluation, demonstrate the power of cultural heritage as a basis for sustainable development.
Asia’s Heritage in Peril was released at “The Forum on Global Heritage in a Developing World: Focus on Asia,” a major event held in New York on May 3rd in partnership with Asia Society. Organized by GHF, The Forum brought together experts in heritage conservation, international development, philanthropy, economics, business and academia to explore challenges facing Asia’s most significant and endangered global heritage sites. Guest speakers and participants shared their experiences from the field during a series of afternoon workshop sessions, while expert panels discussed challenges and innovative solutions in heritage conservation, master planning, sustainable tourism, and integrated community development.
About Global Heritage Fund
Global Heritage Fund (GHF) is an international conservancy whose mission is to protect, preserve and sustain the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing world. GHF utilizes its 360-degree Preservation by Design® methodology of community-based planning, science, development and partnerships to enable long-term preservation and sustainability of global heritage sites. Since 2002, GHF has invested over $25 million and secured $20 million in co-funding for 20 global heritage sites to ensure their sustainable preservation and responsible development. For more information, please visit www.globalheritagefund.org.