Chin State’s Mt. Victoria Became ASEAN Heritage Site
27 October 2012: Mount Victoria, the highest mountain in Chin State, has got a new recognition of the 32nd ASEAN Heritage Parks at a meeting of environment ministers from ASEAN member states.
The 12th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment approved the nomination of the Chin mountain, one of Burma’s famous national parks, according to its press release on 26 September 2012.
Located in the two townships of Mindat and Kanpetlet in southern parts of Chin State, Mt. Victoria stands at the height of 3,053 metres above sea level, occupying an area of 279 square miles.
Pastor Shwekey Hoipang, originally from Kyunglong village of Mindat township, about 50 miles from Mt. Victoria, said: “It is great to hear that the mountain is recognised as a heritage site. It is very important that the site is well-protected and preserved.”
There are some slight variations in local spellings of the mountain’s name depending on dialects although it is in general widely known in its Anglicised term as Mt. Victoria.
Mt. Victoria is locally called Khonumsung in Dai Chin dialect and Khonumtung in Mun and Cho, both describing the same meaning as a great mountain, according to the Chin pastor.
Some local groups, the Chin pastor added, are unhappy with the mountain’s name in Burmese, Nat-Ma-Taung, arguing on the basis that there is no need for such translation as its original nomenclature can be used.
Other disagreement from the local communities suggest the translated name in Burmese has possibly got different meanings from its indigenous definition or diluted its significant cultural connotations, continued Rev. Shwekey.
Burma’s third highest mountain is now protected as a national park in the country since 1994, according to sources from the government.
Mount Victoria is known for its ‘unspoiled’ native fauna and flora of the region, attracting visitors from other parts of the country and abroad.
It is the sixth national park in Burma that has received an official status under the ASEAN Declaration on Heritage Parks, according to the Myanmar Times.
ASEAN member states have declared certain national parks and reserves as ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs) based on their uniqueness, diversity and outstanding values.
Originally signed in 1984 by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, the declaration was updated in 2003 after Cambodia, Lao PDR, Burma and Vietnam joined.
The 12th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment and the 8th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution took place in the capital city Bangkok of Thailand on September 26.
Van Biak Thang