Halong Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago Achieves World Natural Heritage Status

20 September 2023

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has officially recognized the Halong Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago as a World Natural Heritage site.

According to the Cultural Heritage Department, Halong Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago received UNESCO World Heritage recognition due to its abundant natural beauty, including limestone islands covered with lush vegetation and towering limestone peaks rising from the sea, along with related karst features such as arches and caves. The stunning landscapes unaffected by islands with lush vegetation, brackish water lakes, and sharp limestone peaks towering above the sea are also contributing factors.

With 1,133 diverse limestone islands (775 in Halong Bay and 358 in the Cat Ba Archipelago) covered in vibrant emerald-green vegetation, this region resembles a chessboard made of precious stones, with serene waters, white sandy beaches, and purity.

"Halong Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago is considered a geological museum, housing treasures of outstanding global value. It bears witness to distinctive changes in the Earth's development history," as quoted from the Cultural Heritage Department.

From the capital city of Riyadh, Vice Chairman of Hai Phong City People's Committee, Le Khac Nam, expressed joy as this recognition marks the "first interprovincial cross-border heritage in Vietnam."

Cat Ba Archipelago in Hai Phong City comprises 367 islands, designated as a special national scenic site in 2013. Halong Bay was previously recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site in 2000 and again in 2020. These two areas are adjacent and share similar natural landscapes.

halong bay

In 2013, Hai Phong City's People's Committee submitted a separate dossier for Cat Ba Archipelago as a World Natural Heritage site based on biodiversity criteria. However, UNESCO recommended extending Cat Ba Archipelago to be part of the Halong Bay heritage site. In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) issued a statement emphasizing the need to expand Halong Bay to include Cat Ba Archipelago to prepare the World Heritage nomination.

In 2021, the Government assigned the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO to coordinate with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to carry out the necessary procedures to submit the Halong Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago World Heritage nomination dossier to UNESCO.

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