KUCHING: Sarawak has identified five more areas to be gazetted as national parks and nature reserves towards its target of one million hectares of totally protected areas (TPA) by 2025.
Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the new areas are the Tutoh-Apoh National Park, Bako Buntal Bay National Park, Matang Nature Reserve and extensions to the Bukit Lima Nature Reserve and Kubah National Park.
"These areas are in the initial stages of gazettement and will add to the size of land areas gazetted as TPA," he told the Sarawak Legislative Assembly in his winding-up speech on Wednesday (Nov 29).
Awang Tengah said the state's TPA on land currently amounted to about 872,000 hectares.
He said the state had 67 TPA covering land and marine areas, with a total size of 2.12 million hectares.
The marine TPA covers an area of 1.24 million hectares.
Awang Tengah also said the state government planned to nominate the Sarawak Delta Geopark as a Unesco Global Geopark next year, with recognition targeted for 2026.
He said the 3,112 sq km Sarawak Delta Geopark, which was recognised as a national geopark last year, was rich in geological and biological diversity, history and culture.
"A comprehensive roadmap has been prepared towards achieving global recognition," he said.
In addition, Awang Tengah said the result of Niah National Park's nomination as a Unesco World Heritage Site would be known by the middle of next year.
He said a team from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos), an advisory body to Unesco, carried out an evaluation on Niah in September.
"Both these recognitions will enhance Sarawak's image internationally in biodiversity preservation and conservation, besides boosting ecotourism in the state," he added.