Đồng Nai seeks UNESCO advice on the forest-crossing highway project

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Cát Tiên Natural Park – part of Đồng Nai Biosphere Reserve in the southern province of Đồng Nai. Photo quehuongonline.vn

ĐỒNG NAI — Authorities in Đồng Nai Province want to consult with UNESCO over construction of a bridge and road in a biosphere reserve.

The planned Mã Đà Bridge and National Highway 13C will run through approximately 40km of the reserve, which is considered the ‘green lungs’ of the southeast.

Officials are concerned over possible effects it will have on the ecosystem and habitat of wildlife.

The National Committee for the Programme on Man and the Biosphere of Vietnam (MABVN) have recommended the bridge not be built, saying it would cause serious impacts on the core area and the conservation of three national historical relic sites.

Over the years, the province has protected forest areas, planted new trees and rare animals have re-appeared.

If the bridge is given the greenlight, UNESCO could use their powers to revoke the title of ‘World Biosphere Reserve’.

After the province receives feedback from the UNESCO, it will report to the Government and the Prime Minister for further consideration.

The bridge spanning the river of the same name, will be part of the Provincial Road 753 upgrade and expansion project with a total investment of VNĐ655 billion from the State budget.

Last month, Bình Phước Province People’s Committee proposed the Government allow developing the Mã Đà Bridge project to connect the province with Đồng Nai.

Once opened, the bridge can shorten the distance between Bình Phước Province and the Long Thành International Airport project by over 60 km and help connect the Central Highlands provinces with Cái Mép-Thị Vải Port.

Under the plan approved by the Prime Minister in September last year, Provincial Road 753 will be upgraded into National Highway 13C running from Đồng Xoài City in Bình Phước Province to Đồng Nai Province’s Trảng Bom District.

Đồng Nai Biosphere Reserve was expanded and renamed (from Cát Tiên) in 2011 due to its rich biodiversity and cultural values.

It covers an area of almost one million ha and is situated in the centre of the South-east region of Việt Nam, only 70km from HCM City and 40km north of Biên Hòa City.

The core zone covers over 170,000 ha and consists of three protected areas – Cát Tiên National Park (72,000 ha), Đồng Nai Cultural Nature Reserve (68,000 ha) and the Inland Wetland Protected Area of Trị An – Đồng Nai (32,400 ha). — VNS

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