Decision : 27 COM 8C.8
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (Viet Nam)
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Inscribes Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Viet Nam, on the World Heritage List on the basis of natural criterion (i):
Criterion (i): Phong Nha is part of a larger dissected plateau, which also encompasses the Ke Bang and Hin Namno karsts. The limestone is not continuous and demonstrates complex interbedding with shales and sandstones. This, together with the capping of schists and apparent granites has led to a particularly distinctive topography.
The caves demonstrate discrete episodic sequences of events, leaving behind various levels of fossil passages, formerly buried and now uncovered palaeokarst (karst from previous, perhaps very ancient, periods of solution); evidence of major changes in the routes of underground rivers; changes in the solutional regime; deposition and later re-solution of giant speleothems and unusual features such as sub-aerial stromatolites. The location and form of the caves suggests that they might owe much of their size and morphology to some as yet undetermined implications of the schists and granites which overlay the limestone. On the surface, there is a striking series of landscapes, ranging from deeply dissected ranges and plateaux to an immense polje. There is evidence of at least one period of hydrothermal activity in the evolution of this ancient mature karst system. The plateau is probably one of the finest and most distinctive examples of a complex karst landform in southeast Asia.
In summary, Phong Nha displays an impressive amount of evidence of earth's history. It is a property of very great importance for increasing our understanding of the geologic, geomorphic and geo-chronological history of the region.
2. Requests the State Party to identify the impact of the road construction project linking the Ho Chi Minh Highway and Route 20, and to determine how this impact can be mitigated and the property's values restored;
3. Encourages the State Party to undertake a thorough review of the boundaries of the nomination, so as to provide more complete coverage of natural values and karst geomorphological processes;
4. Encourages the State Party to prepare and submit a visitor management plan for the property, information on the regulations that apply to the management of the buffer zone, and information on enforcement measures and other actions that will be taken to control poaching;
5. Reiterates the request made in 1999 to the State Party to continue dialogue on a transboundary agreement with the State Party of the Lao People's Democratic Republic that would integrate Phong Nha-Ke Bang and the Hin Namno National Conservation Area.