UNESCO Bangkok announced the development of a flood risk mitigation plan for the historical city of Ayutthaya in Thailand. The city, characterized by its ancient temples, was flooded and heavily affected in October 2011.

The project will be undertaken by the UNESCO Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE) based in the Netherlands, in close collaboration with UNESCO Bangkok.

Project partners include the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII), the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Fine Arts Department of Thailand.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) will fund the project under its water financing programme.

Phraya river basin
"Disaster risk mitigation is one of the top priorities for World Heritage protection identified by the World Heritage Committee,” said Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok. Since October 2011, the Thai authorities have undertaken extensive repair work at the World Heritage site and have invested in water management systems for the Chao Phraya River basin.

However, up to now, there has not been any long-term effort to protect Ayutthaya’s heritage assets from future flooding. This two-year project will assess the flood risks at the Ayutthaya World Heritage site and
then develop a flood risk mitigation plan.

Computer simulations
Experts will undertake hydraulic modeling using computer simulations for flood risks at the site. Then, based on the results, project partners will develop a flood risk mitigation plan together with local stakeholders. International expertise in risk preparedness for cultural heritage conservation will be mobilized by UNESCO Bangkok in order to guide the development of the flood risk mitigation plan in line with international conservation standards.

Mr. Kim said that upon successful completion of this project, "Ayutthaya will be the first World Heritage site in Southeast Asia with a management plan for flood risk mitigation, setting an example for other World Heritage sites around the region."

An international expert seminar to commence the consultation sessions for the development of the flood risk mitigation plan is planned for October 2013.

This news item was originally published on the website of Unesco-IHE.

More information
Delft, the Netherlands
+31 15 215 1715

UNESCO Bangkok
Culture Unit
Bangkok, Thailand
+66 2 391 0577