VII.23 Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
The Committee recalled that the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1994 and took note of a report presented by IUCN. The report outlines two potential threats to the site: (a) a new port is to be developed in the Bay which would route large transport ships through the site, and (b) a license for a large floating hotel at the site which would have further impacts on the heavy tourist pressures in the Bay.
The Delegate of Japan provided further information concerning financial support for the project from Japanese aid agencies for an amount of US$ 100 million. He underlined that the case is still under consideration and that ecological impacts of this project will be evaluated. The final decision has not been made, however, the project is seen as important for the further economic development of Vietnam. The Delegate of Canada outlined the problem of private companies involved and referred to Article 6.3 of the World Heritage Convention, that "Each state Party to this Convention undertakes not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage ... situated on the territory of other states Parties to this Convention." She inquired if an intervention could be made to mitigate the threats to the site.
The Committee requested the World Heritage Centre to contact the Vietnamese authorities for further information on the potential threats and the measures being taken to ensure that they are minimized.