Geo-Park earmarked for recognition

The Ly Son-Sa Huynh Geo-Park has been listed in the dossier for UNESCO recognition, and the organisation 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.

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An overview of Ly Son island, off the coast of Quang Ngai province (Photo: VNA)

According to the management board of the Ly Son-Sa Huynh Geo-Park, 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.

Director of Quang Ngai Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyen Minh Tri, said the park is the only candidate dossier from Vietnam that had been sent to UNESCO.

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 geo-park 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.

Top Vietnamese archaeologists, geologists, volcano researchers and historians agreed that Ly Son island, 30km off the coast of Quang Ngai province, were 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 geo-park 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 finalising procedures for official recognition of the park.

Vietnam has two global geoparks recognised by UNESCO – Dong Van Karst Plateau in the northern province of Ha Giang (in 2010) and Cao Bang Geopark (2018).

VNS/VNA