On 24 November 2020, UNESCO officially handed over the certificate recognizing DakNong Geopark in Viet Nam as the country’s newest Global Geopark, joining the Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province and Non Nuoc Cao Bang in Cao Bang Province in the Global Geopark Network. With three Global Geoparks admitted over the last decade, Viet Nam is fast becoming a strong advocate of the Network in Southeast Asia.
Besides illustrating distinct geological heritage, a UNESCO Global Geopark aims at exploring, developing and celebrating the inter-connection between geological aspects and natural and cultural dynamics. In the case of Dak Nong Global Geopark, the diversity and richness in unique geological values not only speak to the beauty of the land but also to the conditions that have shaped the culture and history of the local people, who carry with them unique knowledge and traditions.
Dak Nong Geopark covers an area of more than 4,700 km2, stretching over six of the eight districts of the province with sixty-five sites of natural heritage, geomorphology, including craters, volcanic caves and waterfalls. Possessing one of the most significant volcanic cave systems in Southeast Asia, Dak Nong Geopark also includes the many unique cultural features of forty ethnic minority groups. This means that other than enjoying stunning landscapes, visitors can experience a wealth of cultural diversity and enjoy numerous ethnic minorities’ cuisine and festivals.
This UNESCO Global Geoparks designation paves the way for innovative local enterprises and new jobs generated through geotourism, while maintaining protection for the Province’s stunning geological resources. Understanding the expectations in capitalizing this incredible natural value of the geopark to create better livelihoods and new opportunities for local people, UNESCO will work closely with the authorities to guarantee a community-based approach and the active engagement of the ethnic minority groups. Together, we ensure the geopark’s cultural identity and traditions are as rich as its landscape.
Mr. Michael Croft, UNESCO Representative to Viet Nam
Photo credits: Dak Nong Geopark