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Vietnam’s Geo-Park a candidate dossier for UNESCO recognition

08:29 | 25/04/2020

The Ly Son-Sa Huynh Geo-Park, central Vietnam has been listed in the dossier for UNESCO recognition, making it the only candidate dossier from Vietnam in the list. 

vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition Record number of persons sing national anthem in Ly Son Island
vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition Night market to open in Ly Son Island
vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition Soldiers of ancient Hoang Sa Flotilla commemorated in Ly Son
vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition
Bird-eye view of Geo-Park (Photo: Vietnam tours)

Accordingly, the organization can send an evaluation mission in 2020, general secretary of the Global Geoparks Network and chairperson of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council, Guy Martini, confirmed in an email early this week.

The dossier was sent last November for official recognition by UNESCO, and an expert team will be assigned to evaluate the value of the Ly Son-Sa Huynh Geo-Park, but the plan has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the management board of the Ly Son-Sa Huynh Geo-Park.

Many pieces of scientific and geological research on the Ly Son-Sa Huynh terrain and cultural value were reported at the international conference last year, contributing to the dossier before it was submitted to UNESCO for Global Geo-Park recognition.

Experts from the Vietnam Institute of Geo-sciences and Mineral Resources said it takes five to seven years to complete a dossier for geopark recognition, and about seven parks in the world are approved by UNESCO each year. Meanwhile, the park will be evaluated by UNESCO every four years.

vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition
It looks gorgeous from another angle (Photo: Vietvisiontravel)

Top Vietnamese archaeologists, geologists, volcano researchers and historians agreed that Ly Son island, 30km off the coast of Quang Ngai province, was formed by ancient volcanoes that existed more than 25 million years ago.

An area of 4,600sq.km, including more than 2,000sq.km of sea, covering nine districts and islands, has been included in the area for global geopark recognition.

The recognition of Ly Son-Sa Huynh as a Global Geo-Park would promote the unique culture, rich biodiversity and extinct volcanoes around Ly Son Islands, according to Tri.

Jars of the Sa Huynh Culture (1000 BC-AD 200) and stela of Cham people were found in the coastal Sa Huynh area.

Preparatory work has been revved up by the province in finalizing procedures for official recognition of the park.

Vietnam has two global geoparks recognized by UNESCO – Dong Van Karst Plateau in the northern province of Ha Giang (in 2010) and Cao Bang Geo-Park (2018), VNS reported.

vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition
To Vo gate, a spectacular site in Geo-Park (Photo: Vietvisiontravel)
vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition
To Vo gate at sunset (Photo: Vietnam tour)

Ly Son Sa Huynh Geopark – The Motherland of Nature & Culture

According to VietVisionTravel, the Geopark of Ly Son, Sa Huynh is located in Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam. It has a total area of about 100km2 covering Ly Son Island and surrounding coastal communes of Binh Hai and Binh Chau. According to the initial surveys of international experts, this territory has great morphological and geological values as well as rich biodiversity and cultural heritage.

Geoheritage

Ly Son – Binh Chau marine volcanic cluster and surrounding areas reveal many types of rocks and lava of various eruption regimes some 11 million - 4500 years ago. Remnants of tectonic activity are many craters which can be seen on Ly Son Island. Volcanic eruptions have created stunning natural landscapes on the island, typically the cliffs of Cau cave, To Vo arch, Gieng Tien and Thoi Loi craters, significant geological points for science and tourism. The tectonic process also produces a layer of fertile basalt soil on the island’s surface in the south, suitable for many kinds of crops, and submerged reefs that are wonderful living conditions for aquatic species.

vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition
(Photo: Vietnam tours)
vietnams geo park a candidate dossier for unesco recognition
(Photo: Vietnam tours)

Culture

Ly Son Geopark is intermingled with tangible and intangible heritages from different cultural flows including Old and New Stone Age, Sa Huynh, Champa, and Dai Viet Cultures, from mountainous regions to plain, coastal and island ones. Throughout history, the coexistence of some peoples has generated diverse cultural identities interweaving with each other. Besides various temples and traditional festivals such as the Procession deploying troops to the Paracel Islands in the recent centuries, Ly Son Sa Huynh is well-known for two archaeological artifacts of Xom Oc and Suoi Chinh affirming the existence of Sa Huynh ancient residents about 2,500 years ago. Located deeply under the Binh Chau and Ly Son sea is a shipwreck graveyard with China items aging from 500 to 1,000 years. It strongly affirms a maritime route of China and ceramic, indicating the roaring trading activities with this region in the history.

Biodiversity

Various flora and fauna species in Ly Son island enlists in Vietnam and IUCN Red List in the mainland. It is also home to a lot of coral ecosystems, seagrass, seaweed ecosystems with more than 700 species, comprising of 200 fish species, 137 seaweeds, 70 mollusks, 157 corals, 96 crustaceans and 7 seagrass species.

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