KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has set its sights on obtaining Unesco Global Geopark status for Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding districts by 2020.
State Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew said Sabah Parks was working to get the area recognised as a national geopark site as the first step towards being declared a Unesco Global Geopark Site.
Dubbed "Aspiring Kinabalu Geopark," the proposed area covers the entire Kinabalu Park as well as the whole or parts of the Ranau, Kota Belud and Kota Marudu districts.
Kinabalu Park, which is already recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site, covers an area of 75,370ha.
"I am happy this is becoming a phenomenon for Sabah. Let's go for it – a declaration for Kinabalu Geopark to be a Unesco Global Geopark.
"After all, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is encouraging nations to protect and preserve their cultural and natural heritage which have outstanding universal value of biodiversity," Liew, who is also State Tourism, Culture and Tourism Minister, said after a meeting with Sabah Parks officials, Sabah Department of Minerals and Geosciences Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sabah here.
Liew said the proposed Kinabalu Unesco Global Geopark was a new tourism concept and her ministry would prepare a cabinet paper for consideration and approval.
She said a Kinabalu Unesco Global Geopark Site would put Sabah on the world map and boost tourism growth as well as bring socio-economic benefits to local communities involved in the Kinabalu Geopark Initiative.
"This can be achieved through creating jobs and participating in tourism-related entrepreneurial activities," she said.Langkawi was the first to be accorded Unesco Global Geopark status in Malaysia in 2007.
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