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  • Signing of Record of Discussions on Technical Cooperation Project with Laos: Support for capacity enhancement for implementing rural development, particularly in the management and preservation of the Luang Prabang World Heritage Site

Press Releases

October 10, 2017

Signing of Record of Discussions on Technical Cooperation Project with Laos: Support for capacity enhancement for implementing rural development, particularly in the management and preservation of the Luang Prabang World Heritage Site

photosigning ceremony

On October 9, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Record of Discussions with the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Luang Prabang for the Project for Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable World Heritage Management and Preservation in Luang Prabang, a technical cooperation project.

The project will improve rural development capacity primarily among provincial government workers through pilot projects and other activities. The activities will focus on enhancing the management and preservation system for areas designated as a World Heritage Site and on community activation through local tourism in Luang Prabang Province.

A major city of northern Laos and the former capital of the country, Luang Prabang represents a spectacular fusion of traditional buildings, urban structures and colonial architecture from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that cannot be found anywhere else. The scenery has been preserved remarkably well, and UNESCO designated the area to be a World Heritage Site to protect the historical and cultural legacy. In search of traditional views of the World Heritage Site, and cultural practices such as alms-giving to mendicant monks, tourists have rapidly risen in number in recent years, developing the economy. Meanwhile, there are concerns that the World Heritage Site is losing its traditional scenery and cultural attractiveness due to a drop in the number of local residents as buildings are converted to guest houses and other uses. There are also concerns that automobile traffic, waste and pollution are adversely affecting the environment, making it necessary to strengthen the management and preservation system for the area. Currently concentrated in the World Heritage Site, the economic effects from tourism for Luang Prabang Province overall are limited.

Therefore, there is a need to stimulate the province overall, including the area outside of the World Heritage Site. Specific areas for improvement include the development of new tourism areas outside the World Heritage Site, and sales promotions of handicrafts and agricultural products produced from outside the World Heritage Site to visiting tourists.

For city planning using the traditional townscape, the project will implement a pilot project with cooperation from the City of Takayama in Gifu Prefecture, which has carried out advanced initiatives in Japan. Activities will include strengthening the management and preservation system of the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, developing new tourism areas outside of the World Heritage Site, and improving the quality of handicrafts and agricultural products for tourists.

It is expected that the economic effects of the project will spread throughout Luang Prabang Province through an increase in the number of tourists.

[Basic project information]
Country Lao People's Democratic Republic
Project title The Project for Capacity Enhancement for Sustainable World Heritage Management and Preservation in Luang Prabang
Planned implementation period February 2018 to February 2021
Executing agency Provincial government of Luang Prabang
Target region, facilities Luang Prabang Province
Specific project details (provisional) Organizing the management and preservation body of the Luang Prabang World Heritage Site; proposing funding mechanisms for sustainable maintenance of historical buildings in the World Heritage Site; conducting pilot projects to develop new tourism areas, improve the quality of handicrafts and agricultural products for tourists, and create markets for goods; and carrying out public relations activities

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