KOTA KINABALU: The Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry through the Sabah Parks is in the process of preparing the nomination documents of Kinabalu Geopark as a UNESCO Global Geopark site.
Its Minister, Datuk Jafry Ariffin said the international recognition and branding of ‘Kinabalu Geopark’ will increase recognition of the state government efforts in environmental conservation.
“It will also have a chain effect such as the marketing opportunities of local products and services can now be highlighted, added value, as well as creating many job opportunities in the field of tourism-related services,” he said when replying to Nominated Assemblyman Datuk Raime Unggi during the Q&A session at the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday.
He explained UNESCO Global Geopark is based on sustainable development that prioritizes the balance of environmental conservation, economic development and social development.
As a UNESCO Global Geopark site, he said development in the districts within this area will further reflect sustainability.
This is the commitment of the state and the country to the international community in line with the efforts towards achieving the ‘Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030’, he added.
He said the Kinabalu Geopark, which was declared as the National Geopark site on March 18, 2020 covers the entire area of Taman Kinabalu, the entire Kota Belud district, Kota Marudu and part of the Ranau district with an area of 4,750 square kilometers (475,000 ha).
Two Committees have also been established to monitor and coordinate the adoption of Kinabalu Geopark as the national Geopark site and UNESCO, he said.
They are the Sabah Geopark Steering Committee proposed to be established under the Chief Minister’s Department and proposed to be chaired by the Chief Minister or the State Secretary.
And the UNESCO Global Geopark Kinabalu Coordinating Committee established under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment and chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, he said.
Meanwhile, he said his Ministry through the Sabah Parks board of trustees, an agency entrusted to look after the Park areas are gazetted under the Parks Enactment 1984.
Efforts to protect and conserve the biodiversity resources is contained in the Sabah Parks Strategic Plan 2025.
Among others, to make a world class park; establish symbiotic relationships with stakeholders especially communities living close to the park area; enforcement and amending the Parks Enactment 1984 to suit current needs; implement a carrying capacity; and monitoring the biodiversity status of the Park from time to time.-HS