Representing the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Hon. Datuk Joniston Bangkuai describes the Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark as a treasure trove of stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and geological wonders, accentuating both its natural beauty and profound geological significance.
This achievement is incredibly significant for Sabah, as it became the third location in the world, after China and Korea, to attain the prestigious triple crown status.
Sabah’s two other UNESCO “crowns” include the Kinabalu Park, designated a World Heritage Site in December 2000, and the UNESCO Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve, declared in June 2014.
With this announcement, the global network of UNESCO Global Geoparks has grown to 195 sites across 48 countries, further solidifying Kinabalu Park’s place among the world’s most extraordinary natural and cultural wonders.
“It is important to note that Sabah Parks plays a crucial role in the protection, management and promotion of the geological heritage within the Kinabalu Geopark.
“This involves making these unique geological assets accessible to the public and ensuring long-term conservation, while actively contributes to the pursuit of UNESCO Global Geopark status.
This recognition underscores Sabah’s unwavering commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism practices.
“Sabah is not just a destination but a pledge to preserve the planet’s natural wonders for future generations,” Bangkuai emphasises.
The Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark, sprawling over 4,750 square kilometres and spanning three districts – Ranau, Kota Marudu, and Kota Belud, is home to numerous rural villages. These communities are paramount in preserving the region’s unique culture and heritage.
With this recognition, Bangkuai expresses the hope of the Sabah state government to empower these rural communities by involving them in both conservation and the tourism industry.
“The World Travel Market 2023 is a significant moment for Sabah. It’s our chance to showcase our latest UNESCO crown jewel to the world, emphasising its incredible geology, rich ecosystems, local communities, and the conservation work that earned it UNESCO recognition.
“This recognition as the 195th UNESCO Global Geopark solidifies Sabah’s place on the world stage, and we invite the global travel and tourism community to experience the splendour of this remarkable geopark, contributing to its sustainable development and global awareness,” he adds.
Key Highlights of the Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark: