1.         Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (Viet Nam) (N 951bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (viii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/951/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/951/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Road construction project; Management

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/951/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

In December 2003, the leader of the IUCN/WCPA Task Force on Karst and Cave Protection participated in a training programme on the management of Karst protected areas, organized by the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC), in Viet Nam. As part of the course he led the trainees to this site, newly inscribed on the World Heritage List by the Committee at its 27th session.

 

He reported progress in soil re-consolidation and proper drainage arrangements on the new road through the Park. Despite extremely heavy rains, sediment load in the Son River appears to have reduced compared to what the same observer noted 12 months earlier. However, the group did not visit the southern sector of the road that runs outside of the Park’s boundary, which suffered greater disruption.  Local officials informed the group that similar soil-reconsolidation efforts were underway in those locations as well.

 

WWF researchers had reported more frequent sightings of the endemic langurs in the Chai Valley. More than 30 arrests of some senior provincial officials and major business operators who had illegally felled and stolen timber from the site had been made in Tay Nguyen. There appeared to be a new determination on the part of the Government to crack down on forest crimes. A number of new staff appointments were also being made.

 

A representative of the World Heritage Centre participated in the ceremony to commemorate the World Heritage status of this site on 15 February 2004. Quang Binh Province displayed a high sense of pride over the site’s World Heritage status. All the senior officials who spoke at the ceremony, including the Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam and the Chairperson of the People’s Committee of the Quang Binh Province committed to fully implement the decisions of the 28th session of the Committee including the Committee’s wish that Viet Nam works to build transborder co-operation with the People’s Democratic Republic of Lao (Lao PDR).

 

The Centre, the UNESCO Office in Viet Nam and the UNESCO National Commission of Viet Nam cooperated to send a Delegation of six national and four provincial Government representatives from Lao PDR to participate at the ceremony held in the Quang Binh Province of Vietnam. Hence the dialogue between Viet Nam and Lao PDR has now been re-launched with a view to moving towards the implementation of the Committee’s decision (27 COM 8C.8, paragraph 5).

 

The Centre has initiated discussions with the Asia Environmental Directorate of the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and in the Lao PDR to explore possibilities to promote transborder cooperation between Lao PDR and Viet Nam. The World Bank is implementing a number of development projects in Lao PDR, along the Lao PDR-Viet Nam border, and therefore welcomes the opportunity provided by the Committee’s decision to build greater collaboration between the two neighbours for biodiversity conservation.

The World Bank and the Centre had meetings in Vientiane, Lao PDR and with Viet Nam and Lao PDR Delegations in Paris, and all parties concerned have expressed their willingness to move forward to implement the Committee’s wishes. Nevertheless, given the capacity constraints, particularly in Lao PDR, the building of transborder co-operation will be a slow process. 

The possible nomination of a transborder World Heritage area by the two countries that includes the Phong Nha Ke Bang World Heritage property must therefore be seen as a medium-to-long term outcome, rather than an immediate result. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15B.19

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Commends the Government of Viet Nam and the Provincial Government of Quang Binh for taking immediate action to implement the decisions of the 27th session of the Committee and encourages them to continue the momentum particularly with regard to the critical issue of fighting forest crimes, such as illegal logging and stealing of timber from the property;

2. Expresses its satisfaction and appreciation to the Governments of Viet Nam and Lao PDR for re-launching the dialogue to build trans-border co-operation that is critical for the conservation of the karst forests and their biodiversity represented in the Phong Nha Ke Bang World Heritage property and contiguous areas in Lao PDR;

3. Welcomes the interest of the World Bank in promoting trans-border co-operation between Viet Nam and Lao PDR and urges the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to fully co-operate with the Bank and other partners to build capacity in the two countries for trans-border co-operation for ecosystem conservation and protected area management;

4. Requests the State Party to submit a report by 1st February 2005 on measures taken to mitigate the negative impacts of the road construction project linking the Ho Chi Minh Highway and route 20, information on the regulations that apply to the management of the buffer zone, and on enforcement measures and other action that will be taken to control illegal logging and forest crimes, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session in 2005;

5. Reiterates its request for the State Party to prepare and submit a visitor management plan for the property.