The Dong Van stone plateau in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang has been admitted to the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network (GGN), said an official.

Chairman of the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO Nguyen Thanh Son said at a press conference in Hanoi on Oct. 8 that the move would help attract more tourists to the plateau, creating favourable conditions for the province to speed up socio-economic development, as well as hunger eradication and poverty reduction.

Son, who is also Deputy Foreign Minister, said a total of 77 geoparks in 24 countries worldwide had been recognised as members of the GGN, including two in Southeast Asia - the Dong Van stone plateau and a geopark in Malaysia.

Vice Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee Dam Van Bong said the GGN accession will bring both opportunities and challenges to Ha Giang province.

Local authorities will spare no efforts to ensure sustainable development, preserve heritage values of the plateau and improve the skills of its managers while increasing public awareness.

The province will build the geopark into a new model of sustainable development, combined with hunger elimination and poverty reduction and fulfillment of its obligations as a GGN member, Bong said.

Chief Representative of the UNESCO Office in Hanoi Katherine Muller Marin said, after joining the GGN, the Dong Van plateau will become one of the most outstanding images in Vietnam, along with Ha Long Bay. The plateau will help promote Vietnam’s image to the world and local people will benefit most from the recognition, she said.

The plateau, which was officially named as a GGN member on Oct. 3, covers 2,350 in Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Dong Van and Meo Vac districts, and is 1,400-1,600 m above sea level.

Preliminary statistics show the plateau is home to a host of features connected with the earth’s landforms and the processes that shape them, with 45 geomorphologic and 33 tectonic heritages, many of them rating international and national significance. It also boasts a broad range of fossils of thousands of species of ancient creatures from 400-600 million years ago.

Approximately 250,000 people belonging to 17 ethnic minority groups are living on the plateau.

Source: VNA