Jakarta, Nov 25 , 2021 (Antara)- A geopark is not just a geological park, Guy Martini, president of the
Global Geoparks Council of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization ), once said.
This is because a geopark has meaning and functions beyond a geological park. It serves as a link between the geological heritage and all other aspects of an area’s natural and cultural heritage. It aims to reconnect human society with the planet and celebrate how the Earth, and its 4,600-million-year-long history, has shaped every aspect of people's lives and societies.
The presence of geoparks helps preserve nature and culture and improve the economy as well as contribute to the prosperity of local communities.
Indonesia sees huge potential in developing cooperation between nations having geoparks in order to support nature and cultural conservation efforts, develop the creative economy, and promote the tourism industry.
No less than 110 Indonesian regions can potentially be developed into geoparks, officials have said. Currently, Indonesia has at least 15 national geoparks, including 6 that have been included on the UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp) list.
The six geoparks are Batur in Bali, Ciletuh-Pelabuhanratu in West Java, Gunung Sewu in Yogyakarta, Rinjani in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Toba Calderas in North Sumatra, and Belitong in Bangka Belitung Province, Sumatra Island.
Speaking at a virtual conference on Indonesia's national geoparks on November 22, 2021, President Joko Widodo reminded all stakeholders and the public to protect the country’s geoparks, and prevent them from getting damaged and overexploited.
A geopark is a place to learn and preserve the wealth and biodiversity of Indonesia, according to Widodo.
"Please protect our geological wealth by preserving the geological heritage and the values in it, such as the archaeological, ecological, historical, and cultural values, so that they can continue to be passed on to the future generations," he said.
Geoparks might fit in with a tourism trend that has emerged during the pandemic, which is prioritizing ecotourism and wellness tourism, he added.
He called for a good management system for geoparks that balances nature conservation and economic interests. The formulation of the management system must involve environmental activists, academics, and local communities, he said.