1.         Ha Long Bay (Viet Nam) (N 672bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (vii)(viii)

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/672/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1996-1997)
Total amount approved: USD 44,250
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/672/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/672/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1997

The Committee at its nineteenth session (Berlin, 1995) noted potential threats to the integrity of this Site due to the proposed development of a new port, and the proposal to issue a license for the establishment of a large floating hotel. The Committee was informed of the fact that Japanese aid agencies were considering supporting the projects to an amount of US$ 100 million and called the attention of the Japanese authorities to their obligation under Article 6.3 of the Convention which commits them "not to undertake any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the cultural and natural heritage......situated on the territory of other States Parties to the Convention".

At its twentieth session (Merida, 1996) the Committee learned that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was planning to draft an environmental management programme for Ha Long Bay and that JICA had completed its project formulation study, conducted in order to clarify the contents and background of the request for aid from Vietnamese authorities.

The ambassador and Permanent delegate of Japan to UNESCO, via letter of 10 April 1997, has informed the Centre that the report of JICA's project formulation study is for 'internal use' only and has expressed his regrets for not being able to make it available to the Centre. At the time of the preparation of this document Vietnam had not yet responded to the Comittee's request for information. The Vietnamese authorities however, have informed the Centre that they have scheduled the training workshop for developing a strategic plan for Ha Long Bay, for the organization of which the Committee approved a sum of US$ 24,250 at its last session, for the first two weeks of June 1997, and have invited both the Centre and the IUCN to participate in the workshop. It is expected that participation of the Centre and/or IUCN in that workshop will provide additional information that could be made available at the time of the meeting of the Bureau.

Action Required

The Bureau, may request the Japanese authorities to assure the Committee, in writing, that the development projects they intend to finance in the Ha Long Bay area would not adversely impact the integrity of the World Heritage Area. Furthermore, based on additional information expected to be available at the time of its meeting The Bureau may consider recommending other appropriate actions to the consideration of the Vietnamese and Japanese authorities, and of the Committee.


21st extraordinary session of the Bureau in 1997:
The Bureau recalled that the Committee, at its sessions in Berlin (1995) and Merida (1996), had expressed concerns regarding impacts which a port construction project, to be financed by Japan, and the establishment of a large floating hotel, could have on this site. At its twenty-first ordinary session in June 1997, the Bureau was informed that the Vietnamese authorities have withdrawn plans to issue a license for the establishment of a floating hotel. The Bureau encouraged Vietnamese and Japanese authorities to co-operate in carrying out JICA's environmental study of the coastal and marine environment of Ha Long Bay, and urged the Vietnamese authorities to search for ways and means to direct large ships that are expected to pass through the World Heritage area, after the completion of the Cailan port construction project, along alternative routes. IUCN informed the Bureau that its Office in Hanoi has developed a project concept for the conservation and environmental monitoring of the Ha Long Bay which, if implemented, could assist the Vietnamese authorities to mitigate expected environmental impacts of the Cailan Port construction project.

The Bureau requested the Vietnamese authorities to provide to the Centre, before 1 May 1998, the terms of reference of JICA financed environmental study and encouraged the Centre and IUCN to work together with the State Party to further develop the IUCN proposal for a long term project on the conservation of Ha Long Bay and seek possible donors who could finance the project.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1997

The Bureau may recall that the Committee, at its sessions in Berlin (1995) and Merida (1996), had expressed concerns regarding impacts which a port construction project, to be financed by Japan, and the establishment of a large floating hotel, could have on this site. At its twenty-first ordinary session in June 1997, the Bureau was informed that the Vietnamese authorities have withdrawn plans to issue a license for the establishment of a floating hotel. The Bureau encouraged Vietnamese and Japanese authorities to co-operate in carrying out JICA's environmental study of the coastal and marine environment of Ha Long Bay, and urged the Vietnamese authorities to search for ways and means to direct large ships that are expected to pass through the World Heritage area, after the completion of the Cailan port construction project, along alternative routes. The Centre has requested the Vietnamese authorities to provide, by 15 October 1997, information on the concept and terms of reference of JICA's environmental study which is expected to begin in early 1998; the receipt of a response from the Vietnamese authorities is awaited.

The Bureau may wish to examine information that may be available at the time of its session and take appropriate action thereupon.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 21 BUR IV.B.34

The Bureau recalled that the Committee at its nineteenth and the twentieth sessions expressed concerns over the impacts which a proposed port development project could have on this site and plans of the Vietnam Government to issue a license for the establishment of a large floating hotel in the vicinity of the World Heritage site. The Bureau noted that a member of the Centre staff participated in the management planning training seminar organized by the Vietnamese authorities in Ha Long City, during 10-23 June 1997, with financial support (US$ 24,250) approved by the Committee at its last session in Merida and was informed of the following:

(i) As recommended by the Committee at the time of inscription of Ha Long Bay in the World Heritage List in 1994, a Ha Long Management Department had been set up and currently has a total staff of 102. The Department is legally authorized by the Provincial Government of Quang Ninh to protect the Ha Long Bay World Heritage Area and regulate development activities along the entire coast of the Bay.

(ii) The Vietnamese authorities have submitted a request for US$ 20,000 to the consideration of the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee for the purchase of selected equipment for the Management Department of Ha Long Bay.

(iii) While the Ha Long Bay World Heritage Area is protected adequately, enforcement of environmental regulation along the coastal zone of the Quang Ninh Province needed considerable improvement.

(iv) Plans to issue a license for the establishment of a floating hotel near Ha Long Bay World Heritage area had been withdrawn.

(v) JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency) will conduct an environmental study of the Ha Long Bay area.

(vi) When phase 1 of the construction of the port (i.e. Cailan port) is completed in the year 2000 about 2-4 large ships could pass through the Ha Long Bay World Heritage area each day.

The Bureau commended the Vietnamese authorities for establishing and strengthening the Ha Long Management Department and welcomed JICA's environmental study of the Ha Long Bay area. The Bureau requested the Vietnamese authorities to strictly enforce environmental regulations in the development of the coastal zone throughout the Quang Ninh Province with a view to minimizing the pollution impacts on the Ha Long Bay World Heritage area. The Bureau encouraged the Vietnamese and the Japanese authorities to cooperate in carrying out the JICA's environmental study of the coastal and marine environment of Ha Long Bay mentioned above. The Bureau encouraged the Vietnamese authorities to search for ways and means to direct large ships that are expected to pass through the World Heritage area along alternative routes.

Decision Adopted: 21 COM VII.C.41

VII.41 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-first extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-97/CONF.208/4B Section III.A.c), on the following natural properties: