Story | 31 Jul, 2021

Establishing IUCN Green List expert assessment group in Lao PDR

IUCN in collaboration with the Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Lao PDR will organize a national consultation on the IUCN Green List Standard and the Expert Assessment Groups-Green List (EAGL) in Department of Forestry. MAF, Thatdam Road, Vientiane. The meeting will introduce the IUCN Green List, establish the EAGL, review Green List progress in Lao PDR and Viet Nam and agree on next steps on Green List implementation and EAGL formation.

This meeting is part of the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas programme. The program’s work in Laos and this meeting is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the project Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB), which is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas is the first global standard of best practice for area-based conservation. It is a programme of certification for protected and conserved areas, national parks, natural World Heritage sites, community conserved areas, nature reserves, etc. – that are effectively managed and fairly governed – aims to increase the number of natural areas delivering long-lasting conservation results for people and nature.

Any protected and conserved area can be certified by the IUCN Green List if it meets the IUCN Green List Standard, which covers four themes: good governance, sound design and planning, effective management and positive conservation outcomes. When sites join the IUCN Green List as candidate sites, they benefit from expert guidance on how to improve management performance and conservation impact. They also join a global network of conservation practitioners. Fifty-nine sites in 16 countries have achieved IUCN Green List status, but only one of these, Van Long Nature Reserve in Viet Nam, is in South East Asia.

“This is the first national level consultation on IUCN Green List Standard in Lao PDR, which follows the approval of the Green List process by the Lao Prime Minister’s Office in February 2021. This is a major step for protected areas of Lao PDR to join the most successful protected areas in the world”, says Mr. Bounpone Sengthong, Acting Director General of Department of Forestry.

The government of Lao PDR nominated Nakai-Nam Theun and Hin Nam No National Parks as Green List candidate sites in August 2020 and January 2021 respectively. The management boards of both parks have expressed interest in using the IUCN Green List Standard to conduct a “gap analysis” to document management strengths and weaknesses as a step toward achieving IUCN Green List status.

Viet Nam joined IUCN Green List in 2016 with the endorsement of the Nature Conservation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In addition to Van Long, Viet Nam has five candidate sites:. Phong Nha - Ke Bang of Vietnam is adjacent to Hin Nam No National Park of Laos. Since both parks together protect a globally unique tropical karst landscape in the Annamite Mountain range and there is great potential in collaborating towards achieving Green List Status.

“The Lao government intends to nominate Hin Nam No National Park as the country’s first natural World Heritage Site. Once nominated, it will, together with Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, form Asia’s first natural transboundary World Heritage site, a major achievement. Enrolling both national parks in the IUCN Green List will strengthen the nomination and assist coordinated management across the two sites,” says Jake Brunner, Head of IUCN’s Indo-Burma Group.

The EAGL will ensure that the IUCN Green List Standard is correctly applied and its establishment will promote use of the Green List in Lao PDR.