XII.11 The Bureau noted that an international expert meeting on the application of the World Heritage Convention in tropical coastal, marine and small-island ecosystems, jointly organized by the Centre and IUCN, was convened in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay from 23 February to 1 March 2002. A Centre staff, as well as several IUCN experts, attended the Workshop and are expected to report back on issues raised by the 25th extraordinary session of the Bureau in December 2001. The report requested from the State Party by the 25th extraordinary session of the Bureau has not been received.
XII.12 IUCN informed the Bureau that the number of caves open to visitation has been reduced, capacities for cave visitation and interpretation have been substantially improved, and the State Party has decided not to open new caves for visitation. Illegal extraction of coral and other forms of sea life for the tourism markets has been halted at the site; however, the collection of cycads and other plants is more difficult to control and still occurs at the site. IUCN noted the number of recent positive measure that should be acknowledged by the Bureau.
XII.13 The Bureau expressed concerns regarding the rapid pace at which developments around this site are being planned and executed while conservation action, such as the implementation of the Government of Vietnam/JICA-sponsored Environmental Management Plan, appears to be rather slow in being launched. The Bureau reiterated its request made at its 25th extraordinary session in Helsinki that the Government of Vietnam, in collaboration with JICA and other partners as necessary, take urgent steps to implement the recommendations of the Environmental Management Plan without delay. The Bureau invited the State Party to present as a part of the Periodic Reporting Exercise to the 27th session of the Committee (2003), a work plan for the implementation of the Environmental Management Plan for Ha Long Bay. This should include benchmarks that could be used to measure progress in the implementation of the Plan on an annual basis. It was noted that all reports for the Asia Pacific region could be provided as part of the Periodic Reporting exercise for this region due in 2003.