Plans for Kuching delta, Mt Kinabalu to become Unesco geoparks

KUCHING:  Plans are afoot to include the areas in Kuching delta and Mount Kinabalu in Sabah as part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) Global Geopark Network programme.

Following the extension of Langkawi in Kedah to be incorporated under the Global Geopark Network programme for another four years by the world organisation recently, the idea is for both the Kuching delta and Mount Kinabalu areas to be given recognition as the nation’s other geoparks.

“A committee has been established to work on the proposals and details to turn these two areas into geoparks. We are working for both areas to receive national recognition before they can be considered for the Unesco’s geopark programme.

“The plan is to make Kuching delta and Mount Kinabalu the country’s second and third recognised Global Geopark Network,” said Malaysian Mineral and Geosciences Department director general Dato Yunus Abdul Razak in his speech at the opening of the National Geosciences Conference 2012 (NGC 2012) at Pullman Hotel here yesterday.

Also present were Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, the ministry’s permanent secretary Datu Sudarsono Osman, state Geoscience and Mineral Department director Alexander Unya Ambun, Malaysian Geology Association president Prof Dr Joy Jacqueline Pereira and Academy of Sciences Malaysia council member Datuk Ibrahim Komoo among others.

At present, Yunus opined that the state could achieve recognition ahead of neighbouring Sabah considering that presentation of the Kuching deltas as a geopark had been made to the Ministry of Resources and Environment. He hoped that national recognition would be given soon.

Unesco’s recognition under the Global Geopark Network programme is awarded every four years after strict assessment to ensure that fulfillments are met.

Yunus also revealed that regulation of the Geologist Act 2008 had been approved by the cabinet, currently awaiting final approval from the prime minister. The revision would upgrade professionalism while improving on the quality and expertise of geologists.

In light of this approval, the department is in the process of setting up a protem board consisting of 12 plus two members. The board members would consist of 12 professional geologists where five would come from the public sector and another five from the private sector. Two would be representatives from the Malaysian Geology Institute.

The other ‘plus two’ representatives will be appointed by the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Douglas Uggah Embas.

In the pipeline is also the setting up of the National Geosciences Policy to improve collaborative efforts between the profession and other industries.

Touching on the (revised) Second National Mineral Policy, which has nine thrusts of strategic planning and achievement planning, Yunus advised the industry players to strengthen their participation, abilities and professionalism to ensure the industry is on a par with other professions.

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