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Equator Initiative Case Study - Nam Ha Ecotourism Project

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Located in the remote northern province of Luang Namtha on Lao PDR’s border with China, the 222,400-hectare Nam Ha National Protected Area includes some of the country’s most significant wilderness areas. Altitudes range from river valleys and plains to northern highland peaks, supporting a broad range of habitats and biodiversity.
Since 1999, conservation efforts in the area have been linked to improving the potential of local ecotourism, which now underpins the economy for the area’s 57 villages and 3,451 households. Community members are trained as eco-guides and operate village-based lodges and forest camps. They are also trained to monitor threats to biodiversity in the protected area, supporting the work of the critically under-resourced Protected Area Management Unit. The project has provided a model for co-management of Laos’s protected areas. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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