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 (from 2005-2011)
Total amount approved: USD 29,240
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

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

The State Party did not submit a report on the state of conservation of the property, as requested by the Committee in Decision 39 COM 8B.6 (Bonn, 2015).

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

In the absence of a report from the State Party, it is not possible to evaluate progress achieved in addressing the concerns raised by the Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

It should be recalled that in its evaluation of the property’s renomination and extension in 2015, IUCN noted that the proposed construction of a cable car to provide access to the Son Doong cave within the strictly protected zone of the property would constitute a significant development, likely to have negative impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. While recent media reports dated February and April 2016 suggest that plans for the cable car are still being considered, their status is unclear and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) does not appear to have been developed yet. It is recommended that the Committee reiterate its concern about the proposed construction of the Son Doong Cave cable car and that it urge again the State Party to complete an EIA in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment prior to a decision on the implementation of any tourism development projects, and to ensure that development proposals are not permitted if they would negatively impact the OUV of the property. It is also recommended that the Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to revise the property’s Sustainable Tourism Development Plan to include the property extension and ensure an integrated and environmentally sensitive approach to tourism that ensures visitor use remains compatible with the OUV of the property.

Although the 2015 IUCN evaluation recognized that efforts to halt poaching are increasing, it also considered that illegal logging and poaching of wildlife are ongoing threats, and that there is a need for more systematic monitoring of enforcement activities. As the 2015 IUCN evaluation noted a decline in sightings of a number of large mammal species, up-to-date data is urgently needed to confirm the population status of large mammals including tiger, Asiatic black bear, Asian elephant, giant muntjac, Asian wild dog, gaur, and the recently discovered saola. It is therefore recommended that the Committee reiterate its request in that regard, and that it also request the State Party to provide data on the results of its law enforcement activities to address illegal logging and poaching.

Decision Adopted: 40 COM 7B.91

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 8B.6, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Regrets that the State Party did not submit a report on the state of conservation of the property, as requested by the Committee;
  4. Reiterates its concern about proposals to construct a cable car to provide access to the Son Doong cave within the strictly protected zone of the property and the potential impacts this may have on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and urges again the State Party to complete Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), in line with IUCN’s Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, prior to a decision on the implementation of any tourism development projects and to ensure that development proposals are not permitted if they would negatively impact the OUV of the property;
  5. Reiterates its requests to the State Party to:
    1. Revise the property’s Sustainable Tourism Development Plan to include the property extension and ensure an integrated and environmentally sensitive approach to tourism that ensures visitor use remains compatible with the OUV of the property,
    2. Submit to the World Heritage Centre updated data on the population status of key large mammal species, including tiger, Asiatic black bear, Asian elephant, giant muntjac, Asian wild dog, gaur and saola;
  6. Requests the State Party to provide data on the results of its law enforcement activities to address illegal logging and poaching;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.