Travel to Dong Van

by TAA on January 16, 2014

Dong Van Karst Plateau is situated in the northern-most-part of Vietnam and has  an average elevation of more than 1000 m above sea level. According to scientists, this place still preserves many historical signs of the formation and development of the earth’s crust and abundant flora and fauna of a karst region and the type of monsoon tropical climate. Dong Van Karst Plateau is also known as a land of colorful culture – formed in the co-habitation life of 17 minority ethnic groups of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. Nature has endowed this place not only with favor but also harshness. In that, the scarcity of water and arable land is considered the underlying cause for the slower economic growth across the rocky plateau.

Dong Van Karst Plateau GeoparkDong Van Karst Plateau Geopark

Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark

Thus, the creation of the “Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark” is the result of efforts of the local government  and ethnic people in Ha Giang province in their quest for a suitable model for sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation in this extremely difficult region for development of agriculture and industry.

On October 3, 2010, in Lesvos, (Greece), Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark was officially recognized by UNESCO as one of 77 members of the Global Geopark Network (GGN) – becoming the first geopark in Vietnam and the second of the kind in East Asia.

Ha Giang, Vietnam

Dong Van Ha Giang

This opens up opportunities but also poses new challenges for the region. This is because conservation and development is always an objective and simultaneously a challenge for all geoparks, especially for Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark. With this clearly in mind, and the commitment to realize the recommendations of the consultants and GGN, Ha Giang is determined to develop its geopark in the uniform direction of “development for conservation and conservation for development”. Based on this development perspective, Ha Giang Province has cooperated closely with Vietnam National University - Hanoi, the ministries, and domestic and foreign experts to draw up a master plan for the Geopark and upgrade this project into a national-level project to be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval.

The master plan aims at effective utilization of the heritage values, development of the tourism economy of the locality and the region based on sustainable development and exploitation of unique tourism products; the goal is boosting the tourism industry into a spearhead economic sector in the Geopark area.

Hill tribe girls in Ha Giang, Vietnam

Hill tribe girls

Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark, with low economic starting point, is the first economic model in Vietnam as well as the world. After nearly two years of operation, the Geopark has been showing clear effects by providing additional income for local residents from its development and exploitation of tourism. Therefore, the development of the Geopark model based on the exploitation of unique potential of the region for the purpose of sustainable poverty reduction and hunger elimination has been welcomed and engaged by the government and people of the four geopark districts.

With the common goal of preserving geological and cultural heritage,; restoring and preserving landscape;, protecting the environment, raising science-based community awareness of the earth; developing the geopark on the basis of exploitation of the locally available resources;, contributing to economic restructuring;, creating jobs for local people;, and gradually bringing tourism into an important industry in the economic development strategy toand reduce poverty. reduction of the locality…, A local educational program to raise comprehensive public awareness of the geopark has been deployed strongly implemented over the park area, helping raise people’s awareness in the heritage conservation activities, protection of natural environment and sustainable exploitation of tourism. Adherent to the criteria and recommendations of GGN, simultaneously with the construction of the master plan, Ha Giang Province is making efforts to develop its human resources, form policies to attract investment, improve its governmentance

management mechanism and the regulations on conservation and development of the geopark,; maximize the use of resources, including encouragement for all economic sectors to participate in investment and socialization in the construction and development of Dong Van Geopark, emphasize the engagement of communities, – the owners of the heritage, so they can have conditions and the ability to directly or indirectly become involved in diverse tourism services from many different diverse activities.

Construction of the Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark in association with sustainable poverty reduction is a long and difficult process with many challenges and obstacles. But with the available potential and internal resources, the strong determination of the government and the people of ethnic groups in Ha Giang Province as well as the assistance and cooperation of domestic and international friends and partners, Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark will help Ha Giang Province step by step progress to the regional and the world’s integration and development.


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