KHAMMOUANE, 31 January 2017: Laos will present a final master plan for the Hin Nam No National Protected Area in Khammouane province to UNESCO in 2018, for inclusion on the World Heritage list.
Earlier, officials said they would submit documents this February, but the deadline has now been moved forward to 2018.
Submissions are not ready and officials admit it will take another year to complete in a manner that complies with UNESCO’s strict guidelines.
“Even though the final master plan will be submitted to UNESCO in early 2018, we cannot say if or when the documents will be approved by UNESCO,” the source said.
After UNESCO finishes assessment of the final master plan they will then carry out a technical assessment at the proposed protected area.
The committees in charge have worked together to prepare the destination’s submission to UNESCO, which has involved many trips to Khammouane province over recent years.
A workshop to discuss the area’s submission to UNESCO was also recently held in Vientiane, the report said.
If the area is added to the World Heritage list, Laos will have three sites. At present there are just two; Luang Prabang and Vat Phou, with its ancient settlements within the Champasak Cultural Landscape.
The Hin Nam No National Protected Area is where the central Indochina Limestone ridge meets the Annamite mountain chain. It is one of the original sites designated as National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NPAs) and identified by Lao PDR in 1993 by the decree 164.
The area encompasses 82,000 ha of a karst plateau, which continues across the border into Vietnam where a large portion of the Phong Nha – Ke Bang karst has been designated as a national park and natural World Heritage site.
The majority of Hin Nam No is limestone karst. The area is estimated to be 31% forested, with 20% dense or mature forest. Phou Chuang is the highest point (1,492 metres) in the area.
For the area information visit www.hinnamno.org.