Source: Vientiane Times
Laos is hopeful that Hin Nam No (Karst) National Protection Area in Bualapha district of Khammuan province will achieve UNESCO World Heritage status by 2022.
The 9th national steering committee meeting on the application for achieving this status for the site was convened in Vientiane on Thursday and chaired by Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Prof.Dr Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune.
“Currently, the related sectors and our department, in cooperation with Vietnam, have finished 50 percent of the work for preparing documents and a proposal to request the listing of Hin Nam No National Protection Area as a trans-boundary World Heritage Site, together with Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park,” Mr Thongbay Phothisane, Director General of the Heritage Department under the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism said.
The nomination dossier will be sent to UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris in September 2021 for vetting, and the final submission is expected to be made before February 1, 2022.
The process will not only benefit from the establishment of Hin Nam No National Park earlier this year, but also from the current revision of the Protected Area decree, which is expected to provide the legal framework for all Protected Areas of Laos
Following the guidance of the World Heritage Committee, Laos is committed to nominate Hin Nam No National Park as a trans-boundary extension to the existing World Heritage site of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam.
Cooperation between Laos and Vietnam for the nomination has been ramped up with the appointment of a trans-boundary technical working group in August this year, and there is also a dialogue between the ministries and at the level of the prime ministers of both nations.
“The German Government through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has been providing technical support for the management of the site since 2011 and for the nomination under the project ‘Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity’ (ProFEB)” since 2017” said Mr. Bastian Flury, the Team Leader for Hin Nam No work under the project.
The proposed transboundary World Heritage Site is seen as an important legacy of the longstanding friendship between Laos and Vietnam.
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism indicated that preparations for submitting the application for world heritage listing are well under way and have the support of all stakeholders and the entire country.
Being the home and custodian of a new world heritage site that includes Hin Nam No and Phong Nha-Ke Bang would mean that Laos is becoming part of a global community of countries that protects nature’s heritage and values for all mankind, officials said.
Laos would be the first country in Southeast Asia to have created a transboundary world heritage site with a neighbouring country. This site will also be one of the biggest Natural World Heritage Sites in South-East Asia with a total area with over 200,000 hectares, including Hin Nam No and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Parks, according to the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Laos currently has three World Heritage Sites. The Plain of Jars was listed by UNESCO in July last year, while the old town of Luang Prabang was inscribed in 1995, followed by Vat Phou Champassak in 2001.