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Ha Long Bay

Viet Nam
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Financial resources
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Population growth;
  • Increased tourism pressure and development;
  • Urban and industrial development;
  • Lack of financial and technical resources;
  • Absence of an integrated planning approach.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014

Total amount provided to the property (recently): USD 100,000 under the Youth Volunteers for Cultural Heritage Preservation project (2003-2006); USD 519,000 for Cua Van Floating Cultural Centre, a component of the Ha Long Eco-museum (funded by the Government of Norway, for the period of 2003-2006).

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 5 (from 1996-2007)
Total amount approved : 133,395 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

January 2003, December 2006:World Heritage Centre mission; November 2013: IUCN reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

From 6 to 10 November 2013, an IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property, in accordance with Decision 37 COM 7B.16 (Phnom Penh, 2013). Subsequently, on 25 January 2014, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, including copies of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for three development projects in the vicinity of the property. This report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/672/documents, and provides information about progress in finding solutions to the pressures and management problems confronting the property, some of which have been of concern to the Committee for several years.

Issues relating to industrial developments outside the property, including coal mining, cement production, port development and road construction, have been successfully addressed by the management authorities. Recent accelerated growth in the number of residents in floating villages, unsustainable fishing and aquaculture, and pressure from steadily increasing visitor numbers are also being addressed. The State Party further reports that progress has also been made with development of a plan for implementing integrated management of the property and its buffer zone, implementation of a plan for sustainable use of the Cua Van Cultural Centre, and actions taken to reinforce management capacity in monitoring impacts, regulating use and regulating threats from outside the property.

With assistance from the IUCN mission, a draft action plan on integrated management was prepared, and the State Party notes that it intends to request International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund to evaluate the management effectiveness of the property and establish an integrated management system.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

Some progress has been achieved in addressing conservation issues previously identified by the Committee. This successful outcome is confirmed by the report of the 2013 IUCN reactive monitoring mission, which concluded that the four industrial developments do not impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. It also concluded that the State Party has taken measures to lower pressure on the property from population growth, including improved waste management, and to improve aquaculture activities and reduce their impact on the property.

Tourism is regulated under strong national legislation and national and provincial regulations, and is guided by a new tourism management plan for the property. Better enforcement of regulations and increased management intervention have realised significant improvements in visitor services, tour boat operations, safety and security and waste management, while diversification of activities and opening of new areas for tourists are reducing the pressure from overcrowding of the most popular sites. However, the mission noted that financing and revenue generation should be reformed to increase the income from tourism. The mission further concluded that the Cua Van Cultural Centre has no significant impact on the OUV of the property and its location is appropriate to its purpose and function.

With a complement of almost 400 staff and an annual budget of approximately 2.15 million USD, the Ha Long Bay Management Department is well resourced to conduct its wide-ranging roles and responsibilities. However, the mission noted that the Department is hindered by its dependence on other government agencies.

It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee urge the State Party to increase income from tourism, including by establishing commercial concessions so that tourism operators contribute more to funding the costs of visitor management in the property.  Additionally, the Committee is recommended to also urge the State Party to accord a greater degree of autonomy and independence to the Ha Long Bay Management Department, thereby increasing its authority, influence and decision-making ability in enforcing regulations and conducting management operations.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.72
Ha Long Bay (Viet Nam) (N 672bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.16, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Commends the State Party for comprehensively addressing the conservation issues previously identified by the Committee, and welcomes the satisfactory progress made in finding effective solutions, related to industrial developments outside the property, population growth inside the property, aquaculture activities, tourism pressure and visitor management, and development of the Cua Van Cultural Centre;
  4. Also welcomes the intention of the State Party to evaluate the management effectiveness of the property and establish an integrated management system;
  5. Requests the State Party to implement all the recommendations of the 2013 IUCN reactive monitoring mission, and in particular to strengthen the administrative capability of the Ha Long Bay Management Department by allowing it a greater degree of independence, authority, and decision-making power in conducting its day-to-day management and enforcement roles and responsibilities;
  6. Encourages the State Party to further strengthen its efforts toward ensuring that tourist visitor pressure in the property continues to be reduced to a level that is compatible with the long-term conservation of the property and, also encourages the State Party to increase the contribution of tourism revenue to the Ha Long Bay Management Department, including from tourism operator concession fees;
  7. Urges the State Party to continue its efforts to ensure that the floating villages can be sustainably managed without pressure on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, a progress report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the implementation of the above.
Draft Decision:   38 COM 7B.72

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.16, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),

3.  Commends the State Party for comprehensively addressing the conservation issues previously identified by the Committee, and welcomes the satisfactory progress made in finding effective solutions, related to industrial developments outside the property, population growth inside the property, aquaculture activities, tourism pressure and visitor management, and development of the Cua Van Cultural Centre;

4.  Also welcomes the intention of the State Party to evaluate the management effectiveness of the property and establish an integrated management system;

5.  Requests the State Party to implement all the recommendations of the 2013 IUCN reactive monitoring mission, and in particular to strengthen the administrative capability of the Ha Long Bay Management Department by allowing it a greater degree of independence, authority, and decision-making power in conducting its day-to-day management and enforcement roles and responsibilities;

6.  Encourages the State Party to further strengthen its efforts toward ensuring that tourist visitor pressure in the property continues to be reduced to a level that is compatible with the long-term conservation of the property and, also encourages the State Party to increase the contribution of tourism revenue to the Ha Long Bay Management Department, including from tourism operator concession fees; 

7.  Urges the State Party to continue its efforts to ensure that the floating villages can be sustainably managed without pressure on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

8.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, a progress report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the implementation of the above.

Report year: 2014
Viet Nam
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2014) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
Exports

* : 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”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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