France announces Vat Phu preservation

Ambassador of France to Laos, Mr Yves Carmona, has announced the launching of French support to the heritage site of Vat Phu Champasak, through the “Promoting Southern Laos Heritage” project.

The announcement was made at an official presentation of Lao culture and heritage at the “From Vat Phu to Angkor” exhibition on 23 January.
The exhibition was co-organized by the Ecole Francaise d’Extrem-Orient (EFEO) and the French Institute.
Mr Carmona also announced the launching of the new French support to the heritage site of Vat Phu-Champasak, through the “Promoting Southern Laos Heritage” project. This 400,000 euros project was signed during an official visit to France in October 2013 by President Mr. Choummaly Saysasone.
The on going commitment of France to the preservation of Lao heritage is widely known thanks to the success of the cooperation undertaken in the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang. France and Laos have also developed long standing cooperation in Vat Phu-Champasak, the other Lao World Heritage site.
As recalled in the  exceptional exhibition of the EFEO presented from 15 to 24 January 2014 at the French Institute, the site of Vat Phu, rediscovered in 1900, has hosted EFEO French researchers throughout the century. French-L ao research experienced a new boost in the 1990s, allowing the inscription of the site on the World Heritage list in 2001. To ensure preservation but also to enhance the attractiveness of the site, Lao and French authorities implemented a phase one programme from 2007 to 2012, worth more than 1 million euros, which contributed to safeguarding and restoring the site but also increasing tourism.
The French ambassador announced the launching of a second French project which will be aimed at preserving the Pre-Angkorian heritage of Laos, from 2014 to 2017. Signed during President Choummaly’s official visit to France, the support will encompass a 400,000 euro grant and nearly 360,000 euros of technical assistance.
The assistance will help the Heritage Department of Vat Phu as well as local and national authorities in their missions of scientific knowledge development, heritage protection, tourism development and training. This project will rely on the recognized exper t i se of the EFEO and will be implemented in cooperation with the project of the French Development Agency (AFD), which supports the heritage and urban development of the city of Champasak
(KPL - 27 Jan 2014)