THE IMPORTANCE OF A COMPETENT GEOPARK MANAGEMENT BOARD IN VIET NAM

Tuesday - 26/11/2019 15:54
THE IMPORTANCE OF A COMPETENT GEOPARK MANAGEMENT BOARD IN VIET NAM

The UNESCO global geopark label of UNESCO is one of scientific activities which were initiated by UNESCO based on the international Convention on cultural and natural heritage in 1977. There are 150 member states recognizing its legal status.
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UNESCO global geopark.

The potential benefits of becoming a UNESCO global geopark is the increase in the tourists, job creation for local community, improved awareness on geological heritages, conservation of geological heritage, environmental protection and sustainable tourism development.
According to the operational Guideline of UNESCO global geopark, “UNESCO Global Geoparks are managed by a body having legal existence recognized under national legislation. This management body should be appropriately equipped to address the entire area and should include all relevant local and regional actors and authorities. UNESCO Global Geoparks require a management plan, agreed upon by all the partners, that provides for the social and economic needs of the local populations, protects the landscape in which they live and conserves their cultural identity”. Therefore, the development of a competent Management board of the geoparks that is capable of carrying out tasks concerning the development of the geopark meeting criteria of the UNESCO global network.
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Mr. Tran Tan Van, Head of VIGMR, member of the Advisory committee of APGN discussed about the current status of Geopark network in Viet Nam.

 

The management model of heritage, bio-diversity reserve areas of Viet Nam (apparatus, human resources, finance, activities, etc) and legal status of these models are relatively new and there hasn’t been a synchronized mechanism in terms of apparatus and operation model of entities managing these labels. In reality, the geopark management model is new in Viet Nam, not homogeneous from the central to provincial levels with insufficient legal support, especially a line ministry at the central level. Currently the Resolution No109/2017/ND-CP stipulating the functions, tasks and apparatus of Management boards of the world heritage but not applicable to the UNESCO global geopark or the Biosphere Reserves titles, though these all are designated by UNESCO.

According to Mr. Guy Martini, Chairperson of UNESCO global geopark’s council, the management model in the UNESCO global geopark network and the APGN in each country might be different from each other in terms of management models and its apparatus. However, the geopark must meet criteria on competent human resources, financial resources, etc. Hence, the Management board must be developed on the foundation of areas such as geology, conservation, environment, tourism, communication, engineering, etc and English ability of a manager with qualified capacity; the number of human resources is decided on the total area of the geopark  and a reliable financial resources (might be from tax, fee from visitors or supports from enterprises,etc).
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Community based tourism service in Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp.
 

The the management of geopark in the provincial level in Viet Nam is not yet homogeneous and encounters lots of difficulties in the promotion of UGGp model in Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Dak Nong and Quang Ngai. The Management board of Dong Van Karst geopark was a Devision under the management of People’s committee of Ha Giang province at first. However it was splited from the People’s committee of Ha Giang province and merged with the Center for tourism promotion of Department of Cultures, sports and tourism, and after years of operation the Management board of the geopark was established and now it is one of independent Divisions under Department of of Cultures, sports and tourism, the deputy director of the Department is the Director of the Management board. Non nuoc Cao Bang geopark was established in 2015, and now it is an independent Division of Department of Cultures, sports and tourism. For Dak Nong and Quang Ngai province, the management board is established under the People’s committee of the province and the Vice chairman of People’s committee of the province is the Director of the management board. The main challenge of geoparks has been the weak legal status on functions, tasks and apparatus, facilities, and a line Ministry, etc. Therefore provinces are having difficulties in the management and development of geopark in their provinces, particular some geoparks had to change their apparatus several times such as Dong Van karst UGGp, etc. Another problem with the geopark network is the human resources. Most of human resources in the geopark network have not yet met the requirements in terms of quality and quantity, especially human resources with language capacity, etc. These have resulted in low quality of the conservation and implementation of the geoaprk for sustainable socio-economic development.

For the shortcomings and challenges in the management and operation of UGGp model in Viet Nam, Ambassador Tran Thi Hoang Mai, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Delegation to UNESCO commented that the UGGp model is really suitable for provinces, especially remote areas of Viet Nam which helps the conservation and sustainable socio-economic development. To solve the difficulties and shortcomings encountered by geoparks, it is necessary to develop long-term and short-term strategy to ask for approval from the central level. She also agrees with the suggestion that it is important for the Management board of geopark to have comparative power, good human resources, legal right, reliable financial resources and a homogenous structure in the country.

Till now the UNESCO         global geopark has brought positive changes in the conservation and tourism development, for example Dong Van karst UNESCO global geopark in Ha Giang and Non nuoc Cao Bang geopark of Cao Bang province. In these two countries, a system of tourism enabling infrastructure has been invested with defined heritage areas, and a set of criteria have been developed to guide the participatory tourism development. For further development of a UNESCO global geopark, it is necessary to develop a legal status, and a homogenous management structure from the central level to the provincial level so that the Management board of geoparks have ability to carry out the activities on the development of geoparks following criteria of UNESCO. In addition, it is important to develop capable human resources for the geopark for successful and effective development of geopark model at the provincial level.

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