Story | 18 Aug, 2020

Lao PDR's Nakai Nam Theun National Park to join leading protected areas in Southeast Asia, nominated to IUCN’s Green List

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 14 August 2020 – The Government of Lao PDR approved the nomination of the Nakai Nam Theun National Park (NNT NP) to the IUCN Green List, through a resolution adopted during the 17th Nakai Nam Theun National Park Committee Meeting held in Vientiane. The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas is an international standard for certification that recognises and improves successful area-based nature conservation efforts.

The nomination was supported by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Khammouane and Bolikhamsai Provinces vice governors, Nakai and Khamkheut districts governors, Bolikhamxay and Khammouane border military office, Bolikhamxay and Khammouane Provincial Agriculture and Forestry offices and the Nam Theun 2 Power Company Ltd.

Benefits of Green List certification include regional and international recognition as the NNT NP would join a community of protected areas demonstrating conservation leadership through commitment and action. Green List certification also brings technical support from IUCN to strengthen park management and governance, and often lead to increased funding. These benefits will make NNT NP a source of inspiration for conservation efforts in Lao PDR and set a precedent for the other 24 protected areas.

The NNT NP spans 4,270 km2 across the Khammouane and Bolikhamxay Provinces in central Lao PDR. It was designated a national park on 15 February 2019 under Prime Minister Decree no.36, dated 15 Feb 2019. The NNT NP is a global hotspot for biodiversity, and its designation as a national park aims to increase awareness of the benefits of nature conservation through education, scientific research, and community-based eco-tourism.

The NNT NP will become one of two IUCN GL candidate-sites in Lao PDR, with IUCN also working in Hin Nam No National Park (HNN NP) as part of “Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity”

“The formal approval of the Lao Government to proceed with the IUCN Green List certification for the Nakai Nam Theun National Park is a big step towards our objective to have our national park obtain international recognition status. Aside from the inherent benefits coming from the certification, our process can also serve as a standard and reference for other protected areas in the Lao PDR,” said by Mr. Savanh Chanthakoumane, Executive Director of the Nakai Nam Theun National Park.

“The Green List is a new IUCN standard that recognises and rewards good protected area management performance. This is done in close collaboration with protected area managers and other stakeholders and is a major capacity development opportunity. We look forward to working with Nakai-Nam Theun National Park on getting the national park added to the global Green List,” said Jake Brunner, Head of IUCN’s Indo-Burma Group.

IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organizations. Lao PDR has been a state member since 1969. IUCN harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 members and the input of more than 15,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.