Communities rally in bid for Unesco recognition


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Hulu Langat residents and community heads joined hands in a session aimed at renewing efforts to bring more awareness of the GHL Geopark.

COMMUNITIES in Selangor are rallying together to bring more awareness to the Gombak-Hulu Langat Geopark (GHL Geopark) as it strives towards international recognition.

Having already achieved national recognition in 2022, the geopark communities hope to reactivate efforts to highlight its unique geological and cultural significance to a larger audience.

The Selangor government is working towards applying for the prestigious Unesco Global Geopark label within four years.

One such effort was a recent informational session with residents of Batu 16 Hulu Langat and the surrounding communities.

The session was organised by Ampang Jaya Rimba Collective (AJ Rimba) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute for Environment and Development (Lestari).

AJ Rimba member Juwairiyah Ho said an important aspect of the geopark status was community engagement and involvement.

“It is a bottom-up approach to combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities.

“They are also the ones with local knowledge and can identify the special characteristics of their areas,” she said.

Kampung Batu 16 Hulu Langat village head Md Gadapi Ahmad Harmain said the community had been involved with the geopark efforts for the past several years.

Qalam briefing residents on the key geological features of the GHL Geopark in Selangor.Qalam briefing residents on the key geological features of the GHL Geopark in Selangor.

“Admittedly, efforts have lagged a little, especially after the big flood in 2021, as residents had other concerns.

“But this (geopark status) could bring long-term economic benefits to the people here,” he said.

Md Gadapi added that there were unique aspects to Hulu Langat, such as Kuih Jongkong (a traditional dessert made from flour, coconut milk and palm sugar) and its cane products.

Geosites like the waterfalls and hot springs, he said, were already popular with local tourists.

“It would be good if we could set up an info centre or exhibition area detailing the geopark features, which tourists can easily access,” he said.

During the session, some 40 attendees were given an overview of the geopark concept and the importance of its conservation by Assoc Prof Tanot Unjah, who heads the Heritage Geology and Landscape programme at UKM, and geopark community expert Assoc Prof Sharina Abdul Halim.

The two also sit on the committee that evaluated the geosites.

Mineral and Geoscience Department (Selangor/Federal Territory) senior assistant director Qalam A’zad Rosle gave residents a detailed briefing on the significant geological features of the area.

AJ Rimba coordinator Noina Baharuddin said they hoped to expand the efforts by reaching out to communities in other parts of Hulu Langat, Batu Arang and Ampang Jaya.

A geopark is a single, unified geographical area where geological heritage sites are managed as part of a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development, encompassing tourism and conservation.

The GHL Geopark joins the ranks of other national geoparks, including Jerai Geopark (Kedah), Kinta Valley and Lenggong Geopark (Perak), Labuan Geopark (Federal Territory of Labuan), Sarawak Delta Geopark (Sarawak), Stong Geopark (Kelantan), Lipis Geopark (Pahang) and Kenyir Geopark (Terengganu).

Malaysia currently boasts two global geoparks with Unesco status namely the Langkawi Unesco Global Geopark and Kinabalu Unesco Global Geopark.

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geopark , selangor , unesco , aj rimba , community ,

   

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