In Vietnam, 8 properties, comprising 5 cultural, 2 natural and 1 mixed property are currently inscribed on the World Heritage list. World Heritage listing is given “high visibility” with strong public policy attention, multiple nominations and financial support. With high population densities, heritage management inevitably entails addressing questions of community participation and rights issues. At the site level, the case study will focus on Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park and World Heritage site, located in Quang Binh, province. Straddling the border with Laos, the site is recognized for its geological values as the oldest major karst limestone area in Asia, yet also presents distinct rights concerns for the local communities and ethnic minorities living in the area. The country case study is particularly relevant for the study of how rights to participation, forestland resources and culture are being articulated and addressed in World Heritage related processes. Such issues are common across the region and representative of general challenges faced in natural World Heritage sites. The country and case study selection is also relevant given the particular legislative context with a strong emphasis on state property and state-driven management processes reflecting a governance constellation common across both natural and cultural properties. A national workshop is being planned in cooperation with the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.
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