Viet Nam News
HẢI PHÒNG — Việt Nam will submit an application for UNESCO recognition of the famed Hạ Long Bay and Cát Bà Island as an expanded World Heritage Site by February next year.
This was announced at the fourth leadership committee meeting of the Hạ Long-Cát Bà Alliance, an initiative launched by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which was held in Hải Phòng port city on May 5.
The meeting discussed dossier preparation and environmental management of Hạ Long-Cát Bà site with the participation of Hải Phòng city and Quảng Ninh province leaders, representatives of the Hạ Long management board; IUCN; USAID; Cát Bà Langur Conservation Project and UNESCO heritage representatives in Việt Nam.
In 2014, Cát Bà was nominated as a world heritage site but it failed to be recognised. This time, they will reapply to be considered as an extension of Hạ Long Bay.
Cát Bà archipelago covers an area of more than 320sq km with 388 islands and islets. In 2004, it was recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Cát Bà is home to more than 3,800 animal and plant species. Among them, 137 were recognised as rare and precious species and listed in Việt Nam’s Red Book.
Hải Phòng city is leading the preparation of the dossier to be presented in September as a draft by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Culture to UNESCO for review, prior to submission of the final version in February next year.
“Amist the trend of increasing cooperation between localities for further development, Hải Phòng city and Quảng Ninh province have strengthened regional linkage and together created an economic, social and cultural development corridor as well as preserved and exploited the unique values of Hạ Long Bay and Cát Bà Archipelago, making local tourism the spearhead economic sector and ensuring the sustainability,” said Deputy Chairman of Hải Phòng city’s People’s Committee, Lê Khắc Nam.
“Biodiversity conservation is the central component of achieving sustainable resilient development. Human wellbeing and economic progress depend on the health of that eco system,” said Deputy Director of USAID Việt Nam, Craig Hart.
"With top tourism destination status, come both challenges and opportunities. We need to work together to handle these challenges. With local organisations, businesses and government together, we can achieve real change and positive impacts," said Hart.
“We look forward to providing two international specialists next month and want to be part of the team to travel around and provide technical assistance [which is needed for renomination dossier preparation], as well as address some issues [related to environmental management in the area],” IUCN Việt Nam’s programme coordinator, Jake Brunner, told Việt Nam News.
USAID has continued its funding for IUCN to enhance business engagement in protecting and preserving the heritage site. The Hạ Long-Cát Bà Alliance was established in 2014 with USAID help to build a partnership between government, business and community leaders to to preserve and protect Hạ Long Bay and Cát Bà Archipelago. — VNS