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Standards

Cambodia Implements ISO 14001 to Protect World Heritage Site

Published: Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - 23:00

The Cambodian government recently announced its plans to implement ISO 14001 to protect the temples of Angkor, one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful historic sites. Angkor, which was built between 879 and 1191, is listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. It’s inundated with up to 500,000 tourists every year, which has made it increasingly important to protect the environmentally sensitive, fragile area where the temples are located.

“Following a(n)… increase in road and hotel construction and in garbage and waste water from daily living, we at the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap realized that something had to be done to address the problem of the environmental deterioration of Angkor,” says Bun Narith, APSARA president and executive director.

APSARA hasn’t previously had a formal environmental management system for Angkor. It was introduced to ISO 14001 by Yoshiaki Ishizawa, a professor at Sophia University in Japan. The implementation of ISO 14001 in Angkor is enthusiastically supported by Hun Sen, prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and other Cambodian government leaders.

Because ISO 14001 is new in Cambodia, APSARA plans to familiarize itself with the standard and implement it slowly to ensure that it’s deployed correctly. “In view of our rather limited EMS knowledge, we are spending some three years familiarizing ourselves with the system, developing human resources, providing practical training using an easy-to-understand model, and training local school children and residents instead of rushing into the implementation program,” Narith says.

The Angkor EMS program is being supported by the Sophia Asia Centre for Research and Human Development, Quality Assurance Institute Inc., Japan Quality Assurance Organization and the International Standards Research Institute Inc.

For more information, visit www.iso.org.

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