Hin Namno National Protected Area

30 July 2009 | Event

The Hin Namno National Protected Area will be submitted as a candidate to the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 30 July 2009 (IUCN Lao) On 24-26 July 2009, the ad hoc Committee that has been set up to prepare the submission of the Hin Namno National Protected Area to UNESCO undertook a mission to Khammouane Province, led by H.E. Mr. Mounkeo Oraboun, Minister of Information and Culture.

The mission explored the possibilities of applying for the status of World Heritage Site (WHS) in favour of the Hin Namno National Protected Area (NPA) by conducting three main activities such as field survey, discussion with all stakeholders and a formal consultation meeting. The mission was supported by IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature in Lao PDR.

Participants in the mission included representatives from the Ministry of Information and Culture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Defense, Water Resources and Environment Administration, Lao National Commission for UNESCO, Lao National Tourism Authority, Khammouane Governor’s Office, and other representatives of the Khammouane Province and Boualapha District authorities.

Hin Namno NPA has been under consideration for nomination as a potential Natural World Heritage site because of its natural landscape, unique geomorphologic formations of limestone karst, and the area’s rich biodiversity of wildlife and plants.

This NPA is contiguous with the Phong Nha-Kebang Natural Park, which was nominated as a World Heritage Site in 2003 and lies just across the border in Vietnam. The eventual nomination of Hin Namno to the World Heritage List will be the final step towards the creation of a “Transboundary Natural World Heritage Site”, formed by both Phong Nha-Ke Bang and Hin Namno.

The process of submitting the Hin Namno NPA to the World Heritage Committee began in 1998 with a dialogue between Lao PDR and Vietnam. There has been considerable progress in establishing support since the beginning stages of collaboration. With all involved stakeholders having agreed to support the nomination, this recent mission has much advanced the possibility for Hin Namno becoming the first Natural World Heritage Site in Lao PDR. As a next step, relevant agencies will prepare the documents required for the official decision by the Government of Lao PDR and the nomination dossier for UNESCO.

Obtaining World Heritage status will be positive on a number of levels, such as enhancing protection of the site, improving conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources, and promoting ecotourism and scientific research. Importantly, it will also create opportunities to boost the livelihoods of the local communities who live in the vicinity of the protected site as well as contribute to local, provincial and national socio-economic development.

Hin Namno NPA possesses outstanding universal values similar to those already recognized by UNESCO when inscribing Phong Nha-Khebang on the World Heritage List. The NPA covers an area of 82,000 ha; it is home to over 40 mammal species, over 200 bird species, 25 bat species, 46 species of amphibians and reptiles, over 100 fish species, and more than 520 plant species. Many of these species are considered as endangered or vulnerable not only in Lao PDR but also globally.

(Note: see the full news on Vientiane Times Newspaper at http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/Free_laos.htm )