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Hin Namnor Ready for UNESCO Submission Next Year

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The submission to world heritage list of the HinNamnor National Protected Area in Khammuan province is scheduled to be deliviered to UNESCO early next year after Laos approves related documents.

At present, Laos has already prepared all of the conditions and documents to nominate the Hin Namnor (Limestone Karst) National Protected Area to apply for status as a World Heritage Site.

However officials cannot say if or when the documents will be approved by UNESCO, Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, BouangeunXaphouvong told the National Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee for the Nomination of HinNamno National Protected Area as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In his opening speech, Mr. Bouangeun stated that the committees in charge have worked together to prepare the submission of the area to UNESCO and have been on many trips to Khammuan province over the past years.

During the mission, we made a field survey, held field discussions with all stakeholders and a formal consultation meeting in preparation to apply for the status of World Heritage Site (WHS) in favour of the Hin Namno National Protected Area, Mr. Bouangeun said.

He noted that the area 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.

Meanwhile this area is contiguous with the PhongNha-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 HinNamno to the World Heritage List will be the final step towards the creation of a Transboundary Natural World Heritage Site, formed by both PhongNha-Ke Bang and HinNamno, MrBouanguen said.

Before ending his opening remarks, Mr. Bouanguen said he personally believed that HinNamno will attract both local and overseas tourists to visit and generate income for local people once it is approved as a World Heritage Site.

With its huge potential, this area will contribute to national socio-economic development, especially for Khammuan people, Mr. Bouanguen added.

The process of submitting the Hin Namno NPA to the World Heritage Committee began in 1998 with a dialogue between Laos and Vietnam.

Hin Namno National Protection Area possesses outstanding universal values similar to those already recognised by UNESCO when inscribing Phong Nha-Khebang on the World Heritage List.

Hin Namno National Protection Area 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 Laos but also globally.

Presently, the government has set up to prepare not only the submission of Hin Namno National Protected Area to UNESCO, but also the Plain of Jars in XiengKhuang province.

Laos has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the ancient city of Luang Prabang which was nominated in 1995 and the pre-Angkor Vat Phou temple complex which was nominated in 2001.

Source: Vientiane Times