Consultation seminar on finalizing the nomination dossier of Ninh Thuan World Biosphere Reserve

On 26/06/2020, the seminar “Comments on the nomination dossier for Nui Chua – Ninh Thuan Biosphere Reverse” was held in Nui Chua National park, Thai An Village, Vinh Hai Commune, Ninh Hai District, Ninh Thuan province.

The seminar was organized by Nui Chua National Park in collaboration with the National Committee of Vietnam Human and Biosphere Program and the Southern Institute of Ecology, VAST, under the direction of the Ninh Thuan Province People's Committee. Mr. Tran Quoc Nam - Vice Chairman of People's Committee of Ninh Thuan Province, Head of Steering Committee for building records of the provincial biosphere reserve - chaired the workshop. Attending the seminar, there were also representatives of UNESCO National Committee of Vietnam; Natural Science Sub-Committee – Ministry of Science and Technology; World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and scientists and experts in the field of international and international biodiversity conservation and sustainable development; representatives of the world biosphere reserves in Vietnam, along with representatives of local departments and businesses in NinhThuan province.

The objective of the seminar was to consult with scientists and experts from many fields to complete the dossier and submit to UNESCO in August 2020. If recognized by UNESCO, this will be the 10th world biosphere reserve in Vietnam.

Mr. Tran Quoc Nam, Vice Chairman of Ninh Thuan Provincial People's Committee, Head of Steering Committee for developing biosphere reserve document, at the workshop

Speaking at the opening of the seminar, Mr. Tran Quoc Nam emphasized that the construction of the nomination dossier for the world biosphere reserve area in Ninh Thuan province will be a premise for a harmonious combination between biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development, following the orientation of sustainable development of the province.

On behalf of the drafting committee, Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hoang Tri, President of MAB Vietnam, presented briefly the main contents of the nomination dossier. The nominated biosphere reserve in Ninh Thuan province includes Phan Rang - Thap Cham City and the districts of Thuan Bac, Ninh Hai and Ninh Phuoc with two core areas: the terrestrial core of Nui Chua National park and the lower core Nui Chua Marine Protected Area. The nominated biosphere reserve has a total area of about 106,624 ha. In particular, the core zone has an area of 16,445 ha, a buffer zone of 48,047 ha and a transition area of 42,131 ha, ensuring the performance of three functions of the biosphere reserve: conservation; research development and support; and education and culture.

According to the nomination dossier, this is the only biosphere reserve in Vietnam representing the tropical forest ecosystem with 54 rare plant species and 46 rare and precious animals, including many rare species of international importance such as Langur, Black-shanked Douc, etc. Nui Chua National Park has diverse coral reefs and is a rare place for terrestrial spawning for sea turtles (green turtles). In addition to biodiversity values, Nui Chua National Park also stands out for its geological and geomorphological values, typically two nation geomorphological sites: Stone Park and Hang Rai Stone Coast.

The forest ecosystems in the nominated area are also particularly valuable because they belong to the Annamites (Greater Annamites – SA4 area), one of the 200 globally important ecological regions and was selected as one of the highest conservation priority areas of all major habitat types on Earth. Especially the forest vegetation types are located between the most important biodiversity areas in the Central and South Truong Son regions. In addition, according to Birdlife International, the nominated area is one of four endemic bird areas (EBA) in the southern lowlands of Vietnam.

Besides, the nominated biosphere reserve is a model that combines biodiversity conservation and indigenous cultural values with a rich, unique and diverse cultural heritage treasure of many ethnic groups. Raglai, Cham and Kinh; outstanding tangible cultural heritages with artistic and religious architecture such as temples and pagodas existing for centuries, especially the Cham towers almost intact, rich intangible cultural values with many major festivals.

Ancient reef piece at Hang Rai

The "Theocracy" block, a symbol of the National Park at the Stone Park

The seminar highly appreciated the nominated dossier, and also received many comments from the delegates to highlight the unique values of the proposed area, meeting 7 criteria to be recognized as a candidate for UNESCO biosphere reserve area, including values of geological diversity, geomorphology, biodiversity, opportunities for sustainable development, zoning according to conservation, support and development functions, and executive management apparatus when recognized as a biosphere reserve area.

The Vietnamese silver-backed species (Tragulusversicolor) is recorded in Nui Chua National Park

An event on the sidelines of the seminar was the official announcement of the rediscovery of the silver-backed chevrotain or Vietnamese chevrotain (scientific name Tragulusversicolor) in Nui Chua National Park, after 30 years of being considered extinct in the wild. This announcement enhances the conservation value of Nui Chua National Park, which is the core of the nominated biosphere reserve. Currently, Nui Chua National Park has plans to strengthen its methods of protection, as well as develop research projects and international cooperation to conserve this precious rare animal.

Translated by Phuong Ha
Link to Vietnamese version

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