UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova paid tribute to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, HE Sok An, who passed away on Wednesday 15 March 2017.
"The passing away of HE Sok An is an immense loss for the world community committed to heritage preservation. He was the great architect of the international campaign to safeguard the archaeological site of Angkor and the inscription of the site on the UNESCO World Heritage list (1992). Through his unique authority and expertise, he has established himself as one of the few world figures capable of influencing and enhancing the preservation of natural and cultural sites, far beyond the borders of the Cambodia. He was a friend to UNESCO, alternately President of the National Commission of Cambodia to UNESCO, President of the APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor Sites), Chairman of the World Heritage Committee. He succeeded in placing heritage as a pillar of the dignity of peoples, and a driving force for dialogue for peace. The preservation of these sites will be remembered as his greatest contribution to the common history. His journey inspires us to continue what he started because the task is immense," said the Director-General.