State of Conservation (SOC)
Ha Long Bay (2003)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:67,615USD
|2000||Workshop for Strengthening the Capacity of Ha Long Bay Management ...||14,508 USD|
|1998||Geomorphology Study of the Ha Long Bay World Heritage area||8,857 USD|
|1997||Support to the Management Department of Ha Long Bay, Quang Ning ...||20,000 USD|
|1996||Management Planning for Sustainable Tourism at Ha Long Bay World ...||24,250 USD|
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Rapid economic development, particularly in the tourism, transportation - including marine transport - sectors
- Donor co-ordination
- Monitoring and setting environmental standards befitting an internationally significant marine protected area
Current conservation issues
UNESCO staff who participated in the meeting (20-22 January 2003) to synthesize the state of conservation reports on natural and mixed World Heritage sites within the framework of the Regional Periodic Reporting Exercise on the Application of the World Heritage Convention in Asia-Pacific, undertook a site visit and held discussions with Vietnamese and international authorities, such as The World Bank and the JICA (Japan International Co-operation Agency) in Hanoi. The findings of the World Heritage Centre staff have been shared with IUCN.
The rate of implementation of development projects by far exceeds implementation of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), although Centre staff were informed that a number of projects recommended in the EMP have commenced. Management of caves open to visitors has significantly improved. The plans for the Ecomuseum Project implementation are underway and the Quang Ninh and the Government appear to be ready to commit around US$ 9 million for the implementation of that project while expecting to raise an additional US$ 9 million from donors. NORAD has agreed to finance a component of the Ecomuseum Project. These efforts are commendable and are strongly encouraged. However, the national and Quang Ninh Province authorities must also be requested to give higher priority to finance the full implementation of the EMP jointly prepared by the Government of Vietnam and JICA.
During the field visit to Ha Long Bay, an increase of permanent boats within the northern and northwestern boundaries of the Ha Long Bay was noted, compared to that observed during a previous visit in 2000. The possibility that some of the people residing in the boats may be practicing prawn culture is also a cause for concern. IUCN has expressed its concern on the increase in prawn culture in the vicinity of Ha Long Bay World Heritage area. IUCN believes that if this activity (within and out of the site’s boundaries) is not carefully monitored, it could easily lead to the depletion of fish and seafood stocks.
The mission furthermore observed that scientific studies and surveys in the Cat Ba Island, carried out with the support of Fauna and Flora International (FFI), and with the view to extending the Ha Long Bay World Heritage site to include this island, are progressing well. A revised nomination of the Ha Long Bay World Heritage Area to include Cat Ba and justifying the inscription of the expanded site under natural heritage criterion (iv), is due to be received by the World Heritage Centre before 1 February 2004.
The Centre’s observations on the state of conservation were transmitted to the State Party. In response, the State Party, by letter dated 8 April 2003, submitted an “Environment Management Work Plan for Ha Long Bay – The World Natural Heritage site to the year 2010”. This information has been transmitted to IUCN for review.
Link to the decision
The World Heritage Committee ,
1. Commends the State Party for continuing various aspects of the management of Ha Long Bay, particularly those pertaining to visitor management in caves and to the World Heritage property;
2. Notes with appreciation the State Party's provision of information on the work plan for the environmental management of Ha Long Bay World Heritage property by letter dated 8 April 2003;
3. Requests IUCN and the World Heritage Centre to review the information provided and co-operate with the State Party to find ways and means of expediting the implementation of the Government of Vietnam/Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Environmental Management Plan;
4. Urges the State Party to provide a report describing:
(a) trends in the numbers of people living inside the World Heritage area in boats,
(b) extent of prawn culture cultivation in and around Ha Long Bay World Heritage area,
(c) potential impacts of (a) and (b) on the integrity of the World Heritage property to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2004 in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004.
 Decision adopted without discussion
Draft Decision: 27 COM 7 (b) 13
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Commends the State Party for continuing various aspects of the management of the sites, particularly those pertaining to visitor management in caves and to the World Heritage site,
2. Notes with appreciation the State Party’s provision of information on the work plan for the environmental management of Ha Long Bay World Heritage site by letter dated 8 April 2003,
3. Requests IUCN and the World Heritage Centre to review the information provided and co-operate with the State Party to find ways and means of expediting the implementation of the Government of Vietnam/JICA Environmental Management Plan,
4. Urges the State Party to provide a report describing (a) trends in the numbers of people living inside the World Heritage area in boats; (b) extent of prawn culture cultivation in and around Ha Long Bay World Heritage area; and (c) potential impacts of (a) and (b) on the integrity of the World Heritage site by 1 February 2004 for review by its 28th session.
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Detailed List of SOC reports
Rapid economic development
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).