In recognition of good practices of Viet Nam’s first Global Geopark, the Dong Van Karst Plateau, Viet Nam’s National Commission for UNESCO (NatCom) invited UNESCO’s support in strengthening Cao Bang’s geopark management systems, particularly in introducing tools and methodologies in facilitating local people’s and stakeholder engagement in comprehensive management plans allowing for the preservation of geological heritage and socio-economic development.
Cao Bang, being one of the least populated provinces in Northern Viet Nam, is one that encompasses several points of historical interest as well as distinguishable natural features. The site has been selected by NatCom and local government as a model for comprehensive master planning, one that emphasizes the sustainable management of natural resources with the participation of local communities, the private sector and scientists.
As highlighted in its annual review meeting, NatCom announced their increasing efforts in implementing the National Programme on Geoparks in 2017. In addition to the preparation for the second review of Dong Van Global Geopark, Viet Nam submitted a nomination dossier for the Cao Bang Geopark for recognition as a Global Geopark by UNESCO’s Global Geopark Network (GGN) in November 2016.
In response to the national request for UNESCO’s support, in December 2016, Professor Guy Martini, Chairman of the UNESCO Global Geopark Council, led a 10-day field assessment of 10 districts of Cao Bang provinces including Hoa An, Ha Quang, Nguyen Binh, Thach An, Tra Linh, Quang Uyen, Phuc Hoa, Ha Lang and Trung Khanh. The visit was supported by UNESCO’s introduction of relevant tools and methodologies in participatory site management with examples of case studies and previous projects.
The field assessment, showed that while Cao Bang Geopark meets some of the criteria as a Global Geopark it requires further development in its linkage between management systems and geological heritage (including aspects of its natural, cultural and intangible heritages).
“UNESCO Global Geoparks should use heritage, in connection with all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, to promote awareness of key issues facing society in the context of the dynamic planet we all live on, including but not limited to increasing knowledge and understanding of: geoprocesses; geohazards; climate change, the need for the sustainable use of Earth’s natural resources; the evolution of life and the empowerment of indigenous people,” Professor Guy Martini emphasized.
To enhance this linkage, UNESCO will provide technical support to the Cao Bang authorities in protecting the area’s geological value and developing a three-fold model of sustainable development that promotes conservation, environmental education and geotourism through its Site Management Plan. Other potential support includes trainings for site managers on Public Use Planning and Professor Guy Martini’s support in review of relevant research papers and nomination dossiers.
NatCom in collaboration with the National Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources, Vietnam Airline’s Heritage Magazine and UNESCO, have agreed on the Roadmap for actions in 2017 in support of awareness raising and promotion of geological heritages. The roadmap includes the development of initiatives for the creative promotion of Cao Bang Geopark through existing UNESCO networks for heritage promotion, photo tours, articles and expert research.
Additionally, Cao Bang and NatCom prepares to host the International Conference on Geosciences and will setup a task force led by Mr. Truong Quoc Vinh, Chairman of Cao Bang Geopark Management Board, to continue collaboration with experts from the Global Network of National Geoparks (GGN) and Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources to expand on research on the Geopark’s values.
For more information please contact Ms. Pham Thi Thanh Huong, Natural Science Coordinator, at pt.huong(at)unesco.org