Banjarmasin (ANTARA) - Indonesia should leverage its position as the UNESCO Global Geopark (UGG) Youth Forum president and the G20 presidency to promote its geoparks, National Development Planning Agency's (Bappenas') National Geopark Strategic Development Coordinator Togu Pardede stated.

"Indonesia was elected as the first president of the UNESCO Global Geopark Youth Forum. It also happens that this year we are holding the G20 Presidency. This is an opportunity to expose our geoparks on a large scale," Pardede noted in Banjar District, South Kalimantan, on Friday.

The UNESCO Global Geopark Youth Forum has 44 Geoparks Youth representatives from 44 countries, with a total of 169 UGGs worldwide.

According to Pardede, millennials play an important role in the development of geoparks and help provide an understanding of geoparks to the public.

Geopark is a concept of the future, which changes the mindset, from natural exploitation to sustainable development, he elaborated. "Conservation goes hand in hand with economic development," he emphasized.

Regarding the potential of the Meratus Geopark, Pardede noted that Meratus held huge potential.

"In Meratus, there is tremendous potential for geodiversity, biodiversity, and cultural diversity. Everything is interrelated and has a story," he stated.

Pardede stated that from the existing rocks, people can learn about flora, fauna, humans, and culture, all of which are interrelated.

Currently, Indonesia has 19 national geoparks, six of which have been recognized as UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGG).

He admitted that misunderstanding still existed that the geopark area is merely a conservation area, so people cannot conduct economic activities in the area.

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"In fact, in the geopark area, people conduct economic activities by utilizing the flora and fauna, with a conservation spirit. Carry out economic activities while protecting nature from being damaged," he affirmed.

"This is especially if the Meratus Geopark is later declared as UGG, then the whole world will take care of it," he added.

According to Pardede, community support is needed to spread awareness of geoparks.

"Like in Meratus, there is the Dangsanak Geopark Meratus Community, who will share their understanding of geoparks with the people," he remarked.

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Reporter: Sri Haryati
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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