Cat Tien becomes Vietnam's first national park on IUCN green list

By Gia Chinh, Quynh Mai   June 22, 2024 | 12:00 am PT
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Friday added Cat Tien National Park in southern Vietnam to its esteemed Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, making it the 72nd location to achieve the distinction.
Colorful forest at Cat Tien National Park. Photo by Le Duc Khanh

Colorful forest at Cat Tien National Park. Photo by Le Duc Khanh

Cat Tien National Park, spanning more than 82,000 hectares in the provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong, and Binh Phuoc, and mostly in Dong Nai, is the second site in Vietnam and the first national park to receive this honor.

The first site was Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve in the northern Ninh Binh Province, which was recognized in 2021.

According to the IUCN, the Green List is a global campaign for successful nature conservation.

It offers locally relevant expert guidance to help achieve fair and effective nature conservation results in protected and conserved areas, and can help guarantee that wildlife and ecosystems can survive, thrive and bring value to communities everywhere.

A protected or conserved area that reaches the IUCN Green List Standard is certified and recognized as achieving ongoing results for people and nature in a fair and effective way. Any site can join, and work its way towards achieving verified success, and then maintain the standard or further improve.

The Green List is a set of metrics measuring conservation success, initiated at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016.

To be included in the Green List, conservation sites must meet 17 criteria with 50 indicators. Over 300 conservation sites from 60 countries have applied.

Animals at Cat Tien National Park. Photo by Tang A Pau

Animals at Cat Tien National Park. Photo by Tang A Pau

Cat Tien National Park registered for the Green List in September 2018, with its application being developed since January 2022.

The Green List certification process consists of three stages: registration, candidacy, and certification. These stages are evaluated by independent experts. In Vietnam, the IUCN-approved expert group includes 11 members both domestic and international.

Jake Brunner, Director of IUCN’s Lower Mekong Region, stated that achieving Green List certification is not just about pursuing a title but demonstrating long-term commitment and perseverance.

He said gathering evidence to prove compliance with the 17 criteria of the standard was very complex.

"The fact that two of the three Green List sites in South-East Asia are in Vietnam reflects the determination of Vietnam's government to improve standards of protected area management," he said.

Van Ngoc Thinh, Country Director of the World Wildlife Fund in Vietnam, said that achieving the Green List award was clear evidence of significant progress in the park's management over the past two years.

"The Green List sets the most stringent criteria for evaluating conservation activities and protected area management. Adhering to these criteria helps conservation sites identify future conservation priorities," he said.

Currently, 10 national parks and conservation sites in Vietnam are completing procedures to be recognized on the Green List. By 2024, Bidoup-Nui Ba, Bach Ma, and Cuc Phuong National Parks will finalize their proposals for IUCN certification.

Cat Tien National Park, established in 1978, is home to 1,729 animal species from 238 families and more than 1,600 plant species from 710 families, including some rare species such as Asian elephants, gaur, black-shanked douc langurs, Javan pangolins, and Siamese crocodiles.

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