Government officials are scheduled to hold talks with Unesco to discuss Laos’ proposal to request the UN agency to consider listing the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khuang province as Laos’ third World Heritage Site.

According to official from the Heritage Department under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Australia will sponsor the meeting, which is set to take place in June. It is expected that the June meeting will discuss the area of the Plain of Jars that would be earmarked as a World Heritage Site, to ensure it coincides with the province’s socio-economic development plan.

Several parties had expressed their intention to support Laos in listing the Plain of Jars as Laos’ third World Heritage Site, including Australia and France.

The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological landscape thought to date back 2,500 to 3,000 years. It contains more than 2,000 stone jars, the biggest of which is more than three metres in height and has a circumference of eight metres.

Scattered throughout the Xieng Khuang plateau, these stone jars appear in clusters, ranging from a single or a few to several hundred jars in the lower foothills surrounding the central plain and upland valleys. Official said, it was important to ensure that the province’s socio-economic development plan and listing of the Plain of Jars as a World Heritage Site would not conflict in any way.

In its report issued last year, the Global Heritage Fund named the Plain of Jars as one of the top 10 endangered sites in Asia. These were described as having the potential for “irreparable loss and destruction” in the face of economic expansion, large visitor numbers, poor technical resources, and looting.

LNTV Lao News broadcast on 5/4/2013