The Nomination of Hin Nam No as Laos’ First Transboundary UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site With Phong Nga Ke Bang in Vietnam Gets Into Gear
The nomination of Hin Nam No National Protected Area as Laos’ first natural World Heritage site gets into gear as vice ministers meet in Khammouane Province to endorse the nomination and management work plans for 2018.
On 10th January 2018 the Government of Laos and the Government of Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Hanoi through which Vietnam fully supports the nomination of Hin Nam No National Protected Area as a transboundary World Heritage Site together with the already established UNESCO natural World Heritage site Phong Nga Ke Bang (PNKB) National Park in Quang Binh province, Vietnam, which shares a common border with Hin Nam No National Protected Area in Khammouane Province, Laos.
This MoU paved the way for kicking off the process of preparing the nomination file which includes research, technical work and strengthening the collaborative management of Hin Nam No National Protected Area through implementation of the Hin Nam No NPA annual work plan 2018. High ranking officials including Mr Bouanguen Saphouvong, Vice-Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Thongphat Inthavong, Vice-Minister of Energy and Mines and Mr. Khamsy Outhivong, Vice Provincial Governor of Khammouane province met with representatives of respective government agencies to review and endorse the way forward.
“With Hin Nam No’s huge potential for eco-tourism, it [World Heritage status for UNESCO] will make an important contribution to national socio-economic development, especially for Khammouane people.” Mr Bouanguen Saphouvong said. “Becoming a World Heritage Site will also enhance the protection of the area, improve conservation and will facilitate better management of the natural resources in and around Hin Nam No, promote ecotourism and scientific research.” he added.
Mr. Sangthong Southammakoth, Deputy Director General, Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry stated that “Hin Nam No National Protected Area will ensure the effective conservation and protection of this natural site with its outstanding features, in particular its biological diversity. It will also contribute substantially to the conservation of flora, fauna and ecosystems, which are also crucial for sustaining livelihoods of local communities.”
Mr. Khamsy Outhivong additionally expressed that “Hin Nam No will attract both local and international tourists and thereby will generate income for local communities once it is nominated as a World Heritage Site. Importantly, it will also create opportunities to boost the livelihoods of the local communities who live around the area. By this means, they are also able to ensure their food security and alternative income generation.”
Under the newly signed MoU between Laos and Vietnam a number of points have been agreed through which both countries commit to support the nomination of Hin Nam No National Protected area as transboundary World Heritage site, joined with Phong Nga Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam. Vietnam will provide information relevant for a successful integration of Hin Nam No NPA into a transboundary World Heritage Site. The two countries will also work together to appoint their own committees at different levels to help and accomplish the nomination of Hin Nam No National Protected Area.
With this meeting in Thakhek, Khammouane Province, the work on the ground starts swiftly in accordance with the approved roadmap for the UNESCO World Heritage nomination process and the annual workplan 2018 for the collaborative management of Hin Nam No National Protected Area .
Based on a history of over five years of technical support for the management and development of Hin Nam No National Protected Area, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is continuing to support these important undertakings through the component “Integrated nature conservation and sustainable resource management in the Hin Nam No region” of the German development cooperation project “Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Laos” (ProFEB).
Hin Nam No is believed to have so-called “outstanding universal value”, adding to or complementing the conservation values that have been considered of global importance in Phong Nga Ke Bang by UNESCO. These values need strong protection and therefore need a strong commitment from the highest level and by all stakeholders.