Mount Victoria in Chin State has been recommended as one of the two priority candidates to be nominated for UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The highest mountain in Burma’s western state, together with the Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary in Kachin State, was chosen during the National Consultation Meeting organized by the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry and UNESCO in Naypyidaw late last month.
In a statement released yesterday [5 March], Dr Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director-General of the Forestry Department, said that Burma has several sites with high potential but none of them has received World Heritage status, adding: “The designation of World Heritage would provide opportunities for practicing the effective protection and management of these irreplaceable sites.”
Standing at the height of 3,053 metres (10,016 ft) above sea level, the third highest mountain in Burma was named the 32nd ASEAN Heritage Park, and has been protected as one of the national parks in the country.
Dr Tim Curtis, Chief of UNESCO Bangkok’s Culture Unit, said: “World Heritage provides a framework for the highest level of international commitment to the protection of sites which are considered of Outstanding Universal Value. Myanmar is now taking an important step forward in protecting its natural heritage in accordance with World Heritage standards.”
Mount Victoria, an “unspoiled” area and a natural habitat for several endemic bird species and home to over 800 plant species, is renowned for its extreme elevation gradient and great beauty, the statement added.
Flanked by the two townships of Mindat and Kanpetlet in southern Chin State, Mt. Victoria is locally called by names with some slight variations in spelling including Khonumsung and Khonumtung, both describing the same meaning as a great mountain.
Local communities have expressed disapproval over the use of “Nat-Ma-Taung”, a distorted translation into Burmese, saying that its original name should be used.
The two sites, selected from among the seven recently proposed for Burma’s World Heritage Tentative List, will now be put forward for future World Heritage listing.