Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The Meratus Geopark Management Agency (BP Geopark Meratus) has prepared a proposal file for 11 world-class geosites and 22 local geosites for submission for Meratus Mountains to be designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark (UGG).

"Currently, we are refining the proposal file that contains evidence that the Meratus Geopark deserves to be a UGG," Deputy Chairman of BP Geopark Meratus Nurul Fajar Desira stated in Banjarbaru on Friday.

Desira said the management agency had prepared the file for 11 world-class geosites and 22 local geosites that also covered the potential of culture, flora and fauna, and culinary arts.

"In our concrete actions, we have prepared access to locations, information boards, directions, as well as management of the geopark by community groups. They too must understand the geological history here," he emphasized.

Hence, he said, the agency has coordinated with relevant institutions to educate the public.

Desira remarked that the Tourism Office had conducted training for tourism awareness groups (pokdarwis) on the geological history and management of the geopark, while the Education Office had disseminated geopark-related information to school children.

The Communication and Informatics Office is making preparations for promotions, the Public Works Office is working on facilities and physical infrastructure, the Cooperatives and SMEs Office is preparing geoproducts, while the Forestry Office deals with sustainable waste management.

"We have to prove that the designation (of Meratus Mountains) as a geopark will benefit the local community," he explained while adding that the concept of geopark is a sustainable development that encompasses conservation, education, and welfare of the surrounding community.

The Provincial Government of South Kalimantan is also preparing tour packages in the Sultan Adam Forest Park (Tahura) area, Mandiangin, Banjar District.

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The proposal will be submitted to UNESCO in November. Thereafter, in February 2023, UNESCO will give its response, and in May, the evaluation team of the world body will visit the province to inspect the location.

Earlier, in August-end, the Indonesian Geopark National Committee team had set two national geoparks -- Karangsambung - Karangbolong Geopark and Meratus Geopark -- as candidates of "aspiring UGGp".

The two geoparks will then be recommended to UNESCO to get the UNESCO Global Geopark status.

Meratus Mountains, which are almost 200 million years old, have a complex geological history. This area has been designated as a national geopark in 2018.

South Kalimantan has 74 potential geosites located in nine districts and cities, including Tabalong, Balangan, Hulu Sungai Tengah, Hulu Sungai Selatan, Tapin, Banjar, and Kotabaru.

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Reporter: Sri Haryati
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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