|Shining example: Duong Lam Village has established a noteworthy model for future conservation efforts in other rural villages across Viet Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan
HA NOI (VNS)— The chief of UNESCO Viet Nam, Katherine Muller-Martin, yesterday paid tribute to residents of Duong Lam Village for a local conservation project restoring historic buildings.
In a ceremony held yesterday, Muller-Martin awarded the plaque and certificates to residents for the project, titled "Historic Buildings of Duong Lam Village", which claimed the Award of Merit in the 2013 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation last October.
The project was picked as a successful effort to showcase traditional wooden buildings in Viet Nam, increasingly threatened by deterioration and a lack of maintenance.
Addressing the occasion, Muller-Martin said the village, some 50km from downtown Ha Noi, had "established a noteworthy model for future conservation efforts in other rural villages across Viet Nam".
"The 2013 Heritage Awards Jury praised the restoration work undertaken within the selected buildings of Duong Lam and it was noted that they were impressed by the fact that the restoration work was an on-going and will continue to have an even greater impact within the community," she said.
Muller-Martin attributed the project's success to co-operation Vietnamese and Japanese stakeholders who collaborated in the project.
"The technical expertise and the practical know-how passed on between the Japanese restoration experts and the local villagers is the cornerstone of the project's success."
Experts and agency representatives also had a chance to reflect on the role of the private sector in helping to conserve local heritage.
The project is the fifth in Viet Nam to be acknowledged in the UNESCO Heritage Awards since the programme was founded in 2000, joining an elite group of winners from 24 countries. Conservation efforts in Hoi An claimed the award three times in 2000, 2004 and 2009.
"Together with Hoi An, UNESCO awards for Duong Lam further proves our fruitful conservation efforts. The recognition also brings about more tourists to the locality and accelerates the community's socio-economic conditions," said president of Showa Women's University, Mariko Bando.
According to Bando, the university was the official representative office for Japanese agencies in studying and investigating Viet Nam's tradition and practices. Japanese experts so far have helped aid conservation efforts in Hoi An, traditional houses across the country and in Duong Lam, before it was recognised as the nation's first ancient village.
"We have carried out investigations, based on which facilitate the restoration of Vietnamese's fine heritage," said Bando. "Recently we have helped Phuoc Tich and Cai Be ancient villages to complete their dossiers to be recognised as national heritage."
"This is a great reward for us, the successors, to continue our ancestors' efforts to manage, conserve and bring into full play values of the house as well as cultural heritage sites in the village," said a representative from the village, Nguyen Van Hung, at the handover ceremony.
The owner of a five-compartment building under the project agreed, saying: "It is our pleasure to live under such an ancient house and other supporting structures built with traditional materials and manual techniques." — VNS