KUCHING: The state government is planning to have the Sarawak Delta Geopark recognised as a national geopark this year as a stepping stone to global recognition of its value and significance.
Assistant Minister for Natural Resources and Urban Development Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the geopark would be assessed this week by a panel of experts led by National Geopark Committee chairman Prof Datuk Dr Mokhtar Saidin.
During the three-day session starting Wednesday (Jan 19), he said the experts would visit the geopark, including heritage areas at the Sarawak Cultural Village, Tanjung Tegok in Santubong, Kuching Wetlands National Park, Bako National Park, Tasik Biru and the Bung Jagoi cultural site in Bau.
"The Sarawak Delta Geopark, which covers 311,246ha, represents the geological, biological and cultural heritage of Kuching, Bau, Padawan and Siburan.
"The assessment is an important step to have the site recognised as a national geopark in order to protect and conserve our heritage through sustainable development," he said in a statement on Monday (Jan 17).
The Sarawak Delta Geopark was approved by the state government in November 2019 and launched on April 9 last year.
Once it is recognised as a national geopark, the state government hopes to obtain recognition as a Unesco global geopark.
Len Talif said the state government would emphasise heritage conservation, economic development and community development in areas within the Sarawak Delta Geopark.
"This will take into consideration the interests of all stakeholders such as local authorities, communities and tourism players," he said.
He added that specific tourism activities could be developed in the geopark, which would boost the local economy while contributing towards conservation.
"The area's geological landscape can be an attraction to visitors. With international recognition, the geopark can be promoted as a tourist destination," Len Talif said.