News | 21 Jun, 2024

Cat Tien National Park officially joins the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas

Cat Tien National Park, 21 June 2024 - The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has officially recognized Cat Tien National Park as the 72nd addition to its prestigious IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas. This certification follows a comprehensive assessment, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the USAID Biodiversity Conservation Activity in Viet Nam (VFBC project). 


"Cat Tien National Park is the first national park in Vietnam to be recognized as an IUCN Green List," said Mr. Pham Xuan Thinh, Director of Cat Tien National Park. "This prestigious recognition underscores our commitment to preserving the unique biodiversity and natural heritage of Cat Tien."

Jake Brunner - IUCN representative awarded GL certificate to Cat Tien NPPhoto: Jake Brunner - IUCN's representative awarded GL certificate to Cat Tien NP Director © WWF Viet Nam


Asia accounts for 50% of the globally approved Green List sites. Viet Nam was one of the first countries in Asia to adopt the Green List (since 2015), along with China and the Republic of Korea. This recognition for Cat Tien National Park marks a turning point for conservation in Viet Nam. 

Cat Tien National Park has pursued IUCN Green List certification through rigorous efforts in conservation with community engagement. Cat Tien National Park's journey towards Green List certification began with an in-depth assessment of its conservation measures, which included the protection of endangered species and the preservation of its diverse ecosystems. The park undertook biodiversity monitoring, habitat restoration, and species conservation projects. 

Educational programs and initiatives have been implemented to raise awareness about the importance of protecting natural resources, and local community members have been involved in conservation activities, providing them with sustainable livelihood opportunities. Furthermore, Cat Tien National Park has strengthened its management practices by enhancing its monitoring and enforcement capabilities. Advanced technologies and methodologies have been adopted in patrolling, protecting, and monitoring wildlife. The park’s staff has received training to effectively manage and protect the area.

This holistic approach has been crucial in Cat Tien National Park’s successful bid for the IUCN Green List, setting a high standard for other protected area management in Vietnam and beyond.

A crocodile in Bau Sau, Cat Tien NP Photo: A crocodile in Bau Sau, Cat Tien NP © Le Duc Khanh


USAID Biodiversity Conservation Activity has supported Cat Tien National Park in surveying the park’s diverse array of wildlife as part of the largest-ever biodiversity survey in Viet Nam covering 20 protected areas; strengthening capability, investing in technology and equipment, such as Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for biodiversity monitoring and patrols to improve park management; establishing the Community-based Patrol Teams (CPT) and a collaborative management mechanism to bolster community engagement in conservation, which is fundamental for promoting good governance, achieving successful conservation outcomes and ensuring that those living near the park are engaged in conservation decision-making. 

More importantly, the USAID Biodiversity Conservation Activity has been instrumental in aiding protected areas in Viet Nam to strive for IUCN Green List recognition. Not only Cat Tien National Park, the project sites benefiting from this support include Cuc Phuong National Park, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vu Quang National Park, Bach Ma National Park, Dong Chau-Khe Nuoc Trong Nature Reserve, Song Thanh National Park, Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park.

"The inclusion of Cat Tien National Park on the IUCN Green List is a significant milestone not only for the park itself but also for the broader conservation community in Vietnam. This achievement is a testament to the efforts as well as reemphasizing the VFBC project’s commitment to protecting the rich biodiversity of Viet Nam. The project will continue to support and accompany national parks and conserved areas to strive for the Green List status during the remaining time of the project," said Mr. Vu Van Hung, the Director of VFBC project, Deputy Head of the Management Board of Forestry Projects, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The current protected areas’ funding system typically relies on government budgets and lacks dedicated funding to meet the needs of infrastructure, human resources, skills training, and technology upgrades of national parks and conserved areas for forest management and biodiversity conservation. The support provided by the USAID Biodiversity Conservation Activity is a significant advantage. This project funding not only eases the financial burden but also ensures the evaluation process proceeds smoothly, thereby fostering a stronger foundation for biodiversity conservation.

“This achievement is a testament to the progress Cat Tien National Park has made in improving protected area management. The dedication of the park and support from Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and USAID over the last two years has been critical to this mission. IUCN’s Green List establishes the most rigorous criteria to assess area-based conservation and protected area management. Consequently, meeting these criteria will help the conserved areas to measure progress and conservation impacts, thereby identifying future conservation priorities. With support from the USAID project, implemented by WWF, protected areas in Viet Nam have been able to improve the quality of their management to achieve globally recognized standards”, said Mr. Thinh Van Ngoc, CEO of WWF-Viet Nam. 

IUCN GL board handover ceremony in Cat Tien NPPhoto: IUCN GL board handover ceremony in Cat Tien NP © WWF Viet Nam


The IUCN Green List is the global standard that describes successful area-based conservation. It offers an assured verification process, awarding certificates to sites that can demonstrate that they meet and maintain the full set of 17 globally consistent criteria and 50 indicators that address four themes: good governance, sound design and planning, effective management, and successful conservation outcomes. The Green List evaluation is overseen by IUCN through an independent expert panel. The Green List Standard remains globally consistent but is adapted and applied to the local context. It can be used as a diagnostic framework to conduct gap analysis so that managers can develop solutions to improve management practices through performance outcomes. 

“Achieving Green List status is not merely about pursuing a title, it represents a long-term and persistent commitment: The evidence that needs to be assembled to demonstrate compliance with the standard’s 17 criteria is demanding. The fact that two of the three Green List sites in Southeast Asia are in Vietnam (Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve was recognized in 2021) reflects the determination of the government of Vietnam to improve standards of protected area management. We look forward to working with several other protected areas to secure Green List status by the end of 2025.” said Jake Brunner, Head of IUCN’s Lower Mekong Sub-region.