- Mann Thit Nyein
Myanmar is a beautiful country adorn with natural features such as mountain ranges, rivers of different size and shape, huge natural lakes and wet lands with sorts of migrated birds, tropical forests replete with trees of valuable wood, rich fauna and flora and fertile plains home of different seasonal crops.
Myanmar is also a country rich not only in lands of cultural heritage but also in natural heritage. Much as Myanmar is late to expose its heritage to the world, it can,now, have achieved in registering 3 distinguished cultural heritage of Myanmar which are old Pyu cities of Sri Kestra, Beikthano and Hanlin in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List. Though 3 cultural heritage of Myanmar has been in the UNESCO list, there still is no natural heritage of Myanmar registered in the list of UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage. Now, Forest Department has submitted the nomination of 7 Myanmar Wildlife Sanctuaries to the UNESCO for the assessment and selection to be registered in Natural World Heritage. Out of those 7 nominated places, Khakaborazi Wildlife Sanctuary will likely be the first to be listed in UNESCO’s Natural World Heritage. The organization that spares no effort in striving relentlessly for the Khakaborazi to be registered in the Natural World Heritage is no other than the Forest Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
7 places nominated for the registration in Natural World Heritage include Khakaboarzi Region, Hukong Valley Wildlife Sanctuary , Indawgyi Wildlife Sanctuary, Natma Taung (Chin State) National Park, Tanintharyi Region and adjoining forest area, Ayeyawady Basin Corridor and Myeik Archipilago Region, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
UNESCO has accepted Myanmar’s nomination of 7 places and had their expertise and professionals make the first ground inspection on the Khakaborazi area together with the local professionals in 2014 whether the area meets the required criteria set by UNESCO. Khakaborazi region includes Khakaborazi Mountain, Hponkan Razi National Park and Sourthern extension of Khakaborazi National Park that all are situated in Putao District of Kachin State. UNESCO will undertake the final stage inspection for Nomination Dossier in September 2017 and after securing the approval of Union Government, the case will be submitted to UNESCO not later than February 2018. It will be decided at the 2018 UNESCO conference.
An Indian survey team led by European Surveyor, Mr. Petta had surveyed the Khantilaung area reaching northern upstream part of Ayeyawady. Even though the survey team could not reach the summit, they could have measured the summit of the Khakaborazi Mountain as the summit was visible from three directions, east, west and south.
A prominent botanist, Mr. Kingdom Ward wrote a book under the name “Myanmar’s Ice Mountains” in which he described the fact that a survey team led by Mr.Petta was the very first person who had discovered the Khakaborazi and could have surveyed it. In 1955 Yein Nwe Par Sit Tagun (Yein New Pa Military Roving Group) led by colonel Saw Myint made an official long journey of exploration study around the China-Myanmar border area. In that journey when they got to Pandin village, they inquired the local hunter and sherpas about the Khakaborazi, the highest mountain in Myanmar that was locally called Ahtan Bwan Mountain. They got the information on the location of the summit of the mountain and the way to it.
In 1956 Yein Nwe Par had climbed the ice-capped highest mountain of Myanmar with the help of the local guides and hunters and they could have reached the point of 12000ft. defeating many snags and obstacles. After the country’s independence the Yein Nwe Par group including exclusively Myanmar citizens was the first team that could find the 20,000 ft high Khakaborazi mountain and they were the first climbers reaching altitude of 12000 ft. of an ice-capped virgin mountain. Another 40 years later in August 1996 Myanmar Hiking and Mountaineering Association sponsored the mountaineering trip of a prominent Japanese mountaineer who had many experiences of climbing mountain all over the world and a Myanmar citizen Nama Johnsen of Tahoudan village. The two climbers had accomplished the task and reach the top of the mountain. Khakaborazi is the highest mountain in Asia and situated in the north-western part of Myanmar near the border of Tibet and Myanmar. Khakaborazi is the part of Himalaya Mountain Range with height of 5881 meters (19296 ft., 19314 ft. in some records). Khakaborazi is located between 28 degree 18 minutes North Latitude and 97 degree and 32 minutes East Longitude, 80 miles away in the north-west of Machanbaw which is only 2 miles away from Myanmar-Tibet border.
Out of 7 wild life sanctuaries, if Khakaborazi becomes listed in UNESCO’s Natural World Heritage, much more foreign tourists as well as local people will be attracted to visit the place. Nature-based tourism will also attain a quick development and as a consequence the socioeconomic condition of the people of that area will get boosted within a short period. Local handicraft, hospitality business and related job opportunities will also be promoted. We, Myanmar people should take pride in having those invaluable natural heritages in our country and safeguard those heritages from destructive environmental impacts.
Translated by Khin Maung Win