Lao PDR mulls nominating Nong Kham Sen as an urban wetland ASEAN Heritage Park
Photo by Vatsana Sichaleun
Officials from Lao PDR Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, and Foreign Affairs; representatives from the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); and local officials and stakeholders of Nong Kham Sen (NKS) Wetland met at the Stakeholders Workshop on NKS Wetlands Management and discussed opportunities for coordination and cooperation in view of the possible designation of NKS as an urban wetland ASEAN Heritage Park (AHP).
The WWF-supported stakeholder workshop was held to advocate policies on water resources and to report on the achievements of NKS wetland management that have contributed to improving the livelihoods of local communities around NKS. One of the agenda items of the activity is the NKS’ AHP nomination, which is in line with the management and conservation plans to be developed in the NKS Master Plan 2024–2030. The relevant ministries are now considering which agency would lead the nomination process.
Photo by Dr. Souvanhpheng Phommasane
The ACB, through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) Project and with funding support of the European Union (EU), has been supporting the processes and initiatives aimed to recognise urban wetlands as AHPs, including the NKS Wetland. Last March, the BCAMP and the National Park Board Singapore organised an experiential learning visit of the urban wetland AHP Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore for the officials and stakeholders of Nong Kham Sen Wetland. The activity helped the Lao PDR officials and protected area staff to have a productive in-person learning experience on the conservation practices, wetland management, and the various educational and recreational activities of an established AHP urban wetland such as the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Urban wetlands are currently under-represented in the existing 55 AHPs. Moreover, studies show that by 2050, almost 70 per cent of the world’s population will settle in cities and urban areas. As such, the AHP Regional Action Plan recommends pilot testing urban wetlands as part of the AHP network. Two proposed urban wetland sites have been identified as pilot, namely, Nong Kham Sen Wetland in Lao PDR and Bang Pu Nature Education Centre in Thailand.