Source: Vientiane Times
Khammuan authorities have officially declared the Hin Nam No National Protection Area (Karst mountains) a national park.
A ceremony held in Khammuan to recategorize the craggy limestone range was attended by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Phet Phomphiphak, the Governor of Khammuan province, Mr. Vanxay Phongsavan, and other officials.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Phet said Hin Nam No National Park was a dramatic landscape and one of the largest outcrops of limestone peaks in Southeast Asia. The area has been rich in biodiversity since ancient times, with historical and cultural associations that are important for both tourism and scientific research.
Renaming the area as a national park supports the Prime Ministerial decree on the establishment of national parks and protected forests in order to improve their management and protection in ways that are systematic and effective, he added.
Local communities will be involved in the management of the national park as well as in protecting forested areas and forest resources to help improve people’s way of life and socioeconomic development in a green and sustainable way.
During the ceremony, Dr. Phet, Mr. Vanxay, and invited guests unfurled a banner and struck a gong nine times to celebrate the renaming of Hin Nam No.
The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism says preparations to submit an application to have the area listed as a world heritage site is well underway and have the support of all stakeholders and the entire country.
The joint listing of Hin Nam No and the adjoining Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park in Vietnam as a world heritage site would raise Laos’ profile as part of a global community that protects nature’s heritage and values for all mankind.
Laos could be the first country in Southeast Asia to create a transboundary world heritage site with a neighboring country, i.e., Vietnam.
If the application for UNESCO listing is accepted, this site would be one of the biggest natural World Heritage Sites in South-East Asia with a total area of over 200,000 hectares, comprising 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 2019, while the old town of Luang Prabang was inscribed in 1995, followed by Vat Phou Champassak in 2001.