1.         Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago (Viet Nam) (N 672ter)

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 1996-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 67,615
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/672/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003

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. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 27 COM 7B.13

The World Heritage Committee [8],

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.

[8]  Decision adopted without discussion