KOTA KINABALU - The Kinabalu National Geopark in Sabah, Malaysia, has been declared a Unesco Global Geopark, announced Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor on Friday.
The 4,750 sq km park, which is home to the 4000m-tall Mount Kinabalu, is the 195th geopark in the world to be recognised for its geological heritage.
Datuk Seri Hajiji said Sabah has joined Jeju Island in Korea and Shennongjia in China for the distinction of having three Unesco sites.
The decision was made by Unesco’s executive board in Paris on Wednesday.
Kinabalu Park’s two other Unesco “crowns” are that it is a World Heritage Site and the Unesco Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve. They were declared on Dec 2, 2000, and June 12, 2014, respectively.
“This is a great achievement for the state government under its Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya initiatives through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment and Sabah Parks.
“The Kinabalu Unesco Global Geopark, covering an area of 4,750 sq km, is now officially a global geotourism destination adding significant value to Sabah’s existing eco-tourism products.
“The geopark is home to many endemic plants and animals, including 90 orchid species found only on Mount Kinabalu. These include the crimson-headed partridge bird not found anywhere else on earth which will bring direct and indirect benefits to Sabah’s socio-economy, particularly to more than 290,000 local communities within the district of Kota Belud, Kota Marudu and Ranau,” he said.
With the declaration of Kinabalu National Geopark as a Unesco Global Geopark, there are now 195 geoparks in the world located in 48 countries.
The Unesco Global Geopark label recognises the geological heritage of international significance.
Geoparks serve local communities by combining the conservation of their significant geological heritage with public outreach and a sustainable approach to development. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK