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Hin Nam No National Park Moves Closer to Becoming a World Heritage Site

Source: Vientiane Times

Plans for the Hin Nam No National Park in Khammuan province to be given  World Heritage Status by UNESCO is one step closer to fulfillment following the agency’s acceptance of the application dossier.

The good news was reported by the Director General of the Heritage Department of the Ministry of Information, Tourism, and Culture this week when addressing a meeting to report on the progress made in the department’s application for the park to be listed as a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The meeting took place on March 11-12 in Vangvieng district, Vientiane province, and was chaired by the Director General of the Heritage Department, Mr. Phakhanxay Sikhanxay, and the Head of the Agriculture and Forestry Department in Khammuan province, Mr. Bounchan Xaypanya, with representatives of other relevant departments also present.

The application dossier is now being scrutinized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the advisory body to the World Heritage Committee, Mr. Phakhanxay said.

In the near future, the World Heritage Centre will send a delegation of IUCN officials to Laos to conduct an on-site verification of the facts contained in the dossier and confirm the authenticity of the claims made in support of the world heritage listing.

In parallel, efforts are being made to raise awareness among local communities in Khammuan province, emphasizing the park’s significance as a potential shared world heritage site.

The meeting also paved the way for collaboration with the German Development Organisation in Laos (GIZ) to foster sustainable protection and biodiversity within forest ecosystems.

The conservation and management of the transboundary natural heritage site is part of a cooperation agreement between the governments of Laos and Vietnam covering the period 2021-2025.

Laos could be the first country in Southeast Asia to create a transboundary world heritage site with a neighboring country.

Pending a favorable review, this mountainous region is poised to become one of Southeast Asia’s largest Natural World Heritage Sites. Spanning more than 200,000 hectares, it encompasses both the Hin Nam No National Park in Laos and the adjoining Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam.

Laos currently has three world heritage sites. The Plain of Jars was listed by UNESCO in 2019, while the historical old quarter of Luang Prabang was inscribed in 1995, followed by Vat Phou Champassak in 2001.