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National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCA)

What are NBCAs?

In a move indicating strong support for environmental protection, the government of the Lao PDR, under Prime Minister’s Decree 164, issued in 1993 has, with the assistance of various international agencies, including The World Conservation Union (IUCN), identified and designated twenty locations as National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCA). These areas, which may be developed into national parks, cover 12.5% of the land area of Lao PDR (fig. 3) and are under the jurisdiction of the Centre of Protected Areas and Watershed Management (CPAWM) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. These NBCAs, which are also home to many of the ethnic minorities of the Lao PDR, are prime targets for ecotourism and cultural tourism development. Lao authorities, together with assistance from the international environmental community, is creating appropriate zoning, management and safeguarding guidelines and regulations for both the environment and indigenous people living within the protected areas.



On 20 June 1997, the Decree of the President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on the Preservation of Cultural, Historical and natural Heritage was signed and implemented. The decree sets up the mechanisms for the protection and management of the moveable and immovable cultural and historical heritage of the Lao PDR, and can be used as a mechanism to guarantee the protection of the many living cultural traditions and heritage found in the project area. The Lao PDR is also a Party to the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.


Some information on the Nam Ha NBCA in Luang Namtha Province: 

Established in 1993
222,400 hectares (elevation 560-2,094 m)
Contiguous with the Xiang Yong Protected Area in Yunnan, China
25 villages inside the NBCA (mostly Akha, Hmong, Khmu, Lantaen)
37 species of large mammals known to exist in the NBCA
288 species of birds
Easily accessible from both Namtha and Muang Sing District